Marisa J. Futernick


I Dreamed of a House

As we develop newly intense experiences of home, I find myself revisiting this work that weaves together the personal narrative of my attempt to find a relationship with the house where I was born with the wider sociopolitical histories of Detroit and of homeownership in postwar America. Though born in Detroit, I moved away from the city at too young an age to remember it. In this slide-tape work, I returned for the first time to photograph that place where I am from – and yet not from. During our new crisis, I have been thinking a lot about Detroit again – a city already deep in suffering that is now being hit especially hard by the pandemic. I’ve been thinking about the places that will be left behind on the other side of this cataclysm: what will still be there when we venture back out into the world? What will we return to? What will we bother to save, and what will we let be lost? After decades of radiating waves of economic decline, Detroit was an already emptied-out city, a place of empty streets and closures – closed-down businesses, factories, schools; foreclosed homes. Our attention is so focused on the present, but what will the future look and feel like, especially in those places we have already allowed to be forgotten?