“Why do people always expect authors to answer questions? I am an author because I want to ask questions. If I had answers, I’d be a politician.”
Eugène Ionesco

“The world breaks everyone. And afterward, many are strong at the broken places. Those that it does not break, it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave, impartially.”
— Hemingway / A Farewell to Arms

Detroit represents a city in constant flux like no other on the American landscape. The tectonic shift of the city’s economy has created deep chasms in which artists and designers have found success in rare creative ventures.

The DesignInquiry/DesignCity Detroit Winter Inquiry is a brief expedition by a small group of designers (in the broadest sense) into the design landscape. We will explore Detroit as a naturally emergent system of creative and cultural activities. Here design is both the system and cultural activity of study, and the method of exploration.

We see Detroit as a case study for learning more about sub-structures that emerge within larger structures that have failed and for observing and analyzing the ways that communities facilitate these new realities in response to change. All systems have balances of success and failure, ebbs and flows, positive and negative feedback loops that create equilibrium within their respective ecologies. Assuming we are all navigating the curve of a success/fail cycle, then what might we observe to be true for Detroit? How can we represent these findings and of what use are they to the ecology of the city itself?

The expedition will bring together participants whose perspectives and biases represent views from inside and outside the community. The expedition outcomes are exploratory and intentionally open-ended but will form a collection of work and findings to be be published. This publication will frame a theme and pose prompts for a second larger inquiry later in 2014 (or 2015.)

Join DesignInquiry this February at Ponyride in DETROIT. There is a small amount of limited, rustic, shared housing available for participants in need. We encourage participants coming from away to seek out alternative accommodations as part of their Detroit Inquiry. DesignInquiry welcomes participation from local Detroiters, and will work with you to get you here.

February 20–23, 2014

Cost: $375 + $100 for food

Participate Station 2013

APPLY to attend DI/DC/DETROIT February 20-23, 2014.

Contact us at info@designinquiry.net and we will send you a questionnaire in which you may propose anything you think is appropriate to inform/to question/to develop/to inspire the selected topic. Thoughts, ideas, experiences and observations will ideally become the starting point for a contribution to the DETROIT exploration and subsequent publishing. We will contact you to indicate if your proposal has been accepted, i.e. expands the mix of contributions to the topic during and after the gathering. Participants will be accepted until DETROIT fills. Apply early; it’s a small group for a short time, and we expect this program to fill very quickly.