The Spirit of Detroit: A Multimedia Response to the Photographs of Philip Jarmain

  • Meridian Gallery 535 Powell Street San Francisco, CA 94108 United States

In this performance Bob Marsh tries to find meaning in the complex swirl of  emotions, thoughts, impulses that range from deeply sad to burning rage evoked by seeing the photographs of Philip Jarmain.

 Using a ground cloth he painted on the streets of Detroit 25 years ago, Bob Marsh has created a  kind of urban camouflage suit, including a cape and other clothing articles. This suit produces a desolate sound that we imagine could be heard blowing across the vast vacant areas of Detroit. 

Through movement, text, singing, and an audio collage, against the backdrop of  mural sized photographs of the once stately and regal buildings of decaying Detroit, Bob try to sort through  the isms that ate the heart out of the city of his birth and artistic growth.

Apart from the home of his childhood, which looks much the same, except for the requisite burglar bars, most of the buildings in which the meaningful experiences of his life and creative growth took place have disappeared, have been erased, plowed down, paved over or left as tracts of plain dirt. When this personal loss is multiplied hundreds of thousands of times over, the destruction becomes biblically epic and enormous.