If you plan to blow up a house as part of an art project, telling the neighbors might be a good idea.
The Detroit Fire Department sped over to 1331 Holden Street on Sunday while a local part of a national art installation, creating a Rube Goldberg chain-reaction contraption, was taking place after neighbors alerted firefighters to what they thought was a blast.
At least that’s what Matthew Naimi said he thought drew the fire trucks to the “Deconstruct: America” project, which was designed to solve complex societal problems by using art and participation.
“We built a house out of garbage from a recycle center,” said Naimi of Detroit, who described himself as a cultural janitor, someone, he said, who inspires and creates things out of the garbage. “Everything we used in the house, we pulled out of the garbage including lumber, windows, etc. A guy who has a pyro card and knows how to do it for the movies, used like a giant firecracker.”
Naimi said he alerted the Fire Department and “we were told we could have loud noises during the day.”
“But when neighbors heard it, they thought it was some kind of explosion,” he said. “We have a great relationship with the Fire Department. We love the Fire Department. They came over here, we shook hands and they took off.”
A representative for the department called it a “false alarm.”
“Nothing happened,” she said.
Blowing up the house was part of the 48-hour collaborative project that connected America with one giant art installation that began Friday and ended Sunday.
It was designed to demonstrate what is possible when people around the country work together.
Students, makers and artists from the Bay Area, Atlanta, New Hampshire, Phoenix and, in Detroit, the group “Make:Art:Work,” worked to create the “kinetic installation.” It celebrated things specific to each region, while also addressing serious contemporary issues impacting their communities and the country.
The end result was a Rube Goldberg machine demonstrating a chain reaction from city to city in under five minutes.
Artists used recycled materials they had on hand to incorporate sculpture, fire and engines.
In the next week or two, a video of the results will be released, organizers said.