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Report - Fisher Body Plant 21, Detroit MI, July 2011

Discussion in 'European and International Sites' started by analepsis, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. analepsis

    analepsis 28DL Full Member
    28DL Full Member

    Oct 15, 2009
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    Some more motor-city celluloid adventures now; this time on my favourite ever medium: Fuji Velvia. This stuff is like a surgical blade concealed in a silken glove. It's not cheap but if you want deep saturation and crystalline sharpness, there really is no credible alternative. This was early in the trip, and another early morning roust for me. While the house, and the town, lay alsumber I lit out into the dawn for Piquette Ave and the Fisher Body #21 Plant. Fisher Body was recently featured in the Detroit segment of faux-rugged fashion-victim footwear company Palladium's viral 'urbecks' campaign starring premium douche-nozzle Johnny Knoxville. Goes without saying that anyone who bought that shit on the strength of these ads is a moron, flat-out. More felicitously it was also included in Julien Temple's throughly excellent documentary 'Requiem for Detroit'. As fate would have it, Raddog kindly sent me a couple of of tickets to a pop-up screening of this film, which he was unable to attend, and so I got to re-watch the film in a road-underpass the very night before I was due to fly out to the States. Win!

    Plant 21 was constructed in 1919 on the plans of Albert Khan, 'the architect of Detroit', as the signature assembly plant for the Fisher Body Corporation. This austerely beautiful building, now a part of the Piquette Avenue Historical District, was operational until 1974. Fisher Bodies became the industry standard and were sold to a wide range of American car manufacturers, including Packard, Studebaker, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Ford and Oldsmobile among many others. The company had expanded from humble origins as a horse-drawn carriage shop to become one of the biggest manufacturing companies in the world. At peak productivity, Fisher employed a workforce more than 100,000 strong in over 40 plants. Fisher Body was finally dissolved into General Motors in 1984.

    With the exception of the trackways on the top floor, the assembly-line machinery is long gone. The photogenic structural layout comprising regularly spaced columns of reinforced concrete is virtually identical to other industrial buildings I saw while I was out there. Like most of Detroit's abandonments this site is a walk-on, or was at least in July of last year. A cop patrols the car-pound in back of the building, but is easily avoided, although the collapse on the first floor is a salutary reminder to take nothing for granted as you venture further up into the five storeys awaiting above. Pleasant variations in colour and texture inflect the structures bland uniformity with a range of moods so that despite the absence of original furniture and machinery the explore is still highly enjoyable. After all what is a trip to Detroit without an exploration of the city's beautiful-monstrous automotive-industrial plants? If only I'd had but world enough and time to see them all...​
    #1 analepsis, Jan 28, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012

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