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Who is Lyz Luidens?
Hello! My name is Lyz Luidens, printmaker, teacher, and map enthusiast! I work in my print studio, the Prankster Press, housed in the Riopelle Artist Collective, which contains relief and etching presses, letterpresses, and space for screenprinting. I am completely in love with printmaking, in all of it’s various methods and techniques. Teaching other people how to make prints is the best way I know to share this meditative, inky dance between technical process and conceptual process that brings me so much joy.
The Detroit Atlas Collaboration began when I received a Knight Arts Challenge Grant of $10,000 and the Michele Schara Artist Residency in the fall of 2015 to get the idea off the ground and into the high school art class at Detroit Community High School a few times a week. I need to raise a matching $10,000 by the end of October to receive the Knight Arts Grant, and have already raised $6,050!
Intro to the Project
This project is one part workshops, one part research. I’ll be facilitating free and donation based printmaking and bookbinding workshops around the city of Detroit (funded by this campaign and the matching Knight Arts Grant!) in addition to the workshops I have already facilitated, using personal mapmaking as the prompt. I plan to ask each workshop to begin by drawing the neighborhood borders on a map of Detroit, and then I will aim to host a workshop in as many of them as possible!
This will amount to several printmaking and mapmaking workshops through partnerships with local community organizations and schools until October 2017, with pop up printmaking classes at Riopelle and some pop-up events in between! Historical and data based maps of Detroit will also be researched and collected to be converted into printable blocks and screens to be used in those workshops. In the end, the personal maps created in the printmaking workshops and the data based maps printed from research will be bound together into books by hand, into Atlases of Detroit.
As a completed project, the Detroit Atlas will have been a collaboration between Detroiters in a wide range of neighborhoods in the city to map Detroit as they have experienced it, within the bounds of the same art project, all while learning and experiencing the technical, tactile, and interactive process of printmaking. These maps will provide context for one another, a juxtaposition of personal experiences of people who live in the same geographic space, but often very different social, political, and historically contextualized spaces. After the project concludes, I plan to seek out public homes for these handbound books, like libraries or community art centers, so that they’ll remain publicly accessible.
More About the Workshops!
I’ll be facilitating these workshops in as many different venues and spaces in Detroit as I can in the next year in an effort to provide free art workshops to anyone interested, and to collect prints of personal geographies of Detroit created by people of all ages who live in this city.
I have already taught printmaking, mapmaking, and bookbinding classes at Detroit Community High School in Brightmoor for the past school year, a Maptime Detroit event hosted at Riopelle, and am now hosting a map printing table at the CHASS Mercado in Southwest Detroit each week this summer. I’ve watched children and adults create depictions of the spaces they spend time in while learning printing techniques they can take home with them, and so far it has been fascinating to watch which details people choose to include or leave out, and the alterations they make to the process of printing.
The maps that I collect from these workshops will be included in the final Atlases, in combination with the historical and data based maps.
There’s something especially beautiful about a hands on process that is meant to create multiples of a piece of art, meant to be seen and owned and accessed by a wide range of people. It makes for a good collaborative medium, because people can make many copies of their relief block or screen to keep and to share. The multiplicity of printmaking is a welcome contradiction to the inaccessible elitism often imposed on fine art making. I take pride in my craft as a printmaker, but I take more pride in sharing it.
Maps are inherently political, and inherently personal for the people who occupy the physical spaces being represented. They carry an authority with them, as a representation of a real place. Maps live in this really interesting intersection of objective and subjective information where the map maker decides what information needs to be included and what can be left out, they decide what accurately represents a place.
I like the idea that because they’re all maps of the same city, the personal maps can be directly compared to the data based, objective maps, and treated as if they hold the same authority over the narrative of the space. Maps also have a history of imperialism, of false discovery of places already inhabited. This project seeks to dismantle that idea, to recognize the ownership of the physical spaces and memories of Detroit as belonging to the people who live here, and have lived here. There will be opportunities to layer the printed personal geographies over data based geographies, to see where they intersect, where they contradict each other.
More about the Research
I’ll be working with librarians, historians, information designers, and amateur and expert map makers and appreciators to collect key historical maps of Detroit and create new maps of Detroit using open-source public data. These old and new maps will be converted into printable screens and blocks to be used in the printmaking workshops. Isolating this information as printed layers is a fun way to physically interact with data.
I look forward to hearing what people have to say about some of the maps that already exist of Detroit, and about how “objective” information is communicated. This project aims to see these data maps integrated with maps of the city created from memory by the residents of Detroit in the printmaking workshops by layering them on top of one another, viewing them side by side. Once the personal and data maps are bound together into Atlases of Detroit, the subjective maps and objective maps can provide context for each other.
What Makes this Project Collaborative?
The value of this project comes from the variety of perspectives provided by workshop attendees, hosts, researchers and collaborators, all of whom will be credited as collaborators on the project website and any exhibitions of the final work. This is a printmaking project that is also an analog data collection project. It’s a mapping project that is also a mindfulness project.
But most importantly, it’s a collaboration. For those who do not choose to or are not able to come to the art making sessions, many of the prints will be for sale and exhibitions will be held at locations yet-to-be-determined in Detroit to foster dialogue amongst the general public. This project lives via creative sessions, sales, or final art shows, and in the neighborhoods of Detroit where the workshops take place. It will ideally reach a wide range of Detroiters’, thereby connecting the volunteers, collaborators, and local businesses (where prints are sold) to these communities as well.