Sunday I Visited a Jacki Wonderland, Basically

Y’all, I’m just discovering things left and right lately, aren’t I?

Ok, well first off. I visited the cathedral first and foremost. It is in a part of town that is crackling with electric vibes and is located on the edges of three communities going through revitalization and now I want it even more. 

But then after that we visited an already existing creative location in the area called The Heidelberg Project. 

First, I’ll give you the official description of this magical place then will gush until I get tired of typing. 

“The Heidelberg Project (“HP”) is an outdoor art environment in the heart of an urban area and a Detroit based community organization with a mission to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art.”

I highly recommend reading all about their vision and mission on their site. It’s good folks doing amazing things in a beautiful, vibrant community and I already cannot wait to go back. 

Ok, I’m gonna try to do this experience justice, but I won’t even come close. 

So Sunday, we just did some adventuring around Detroit. 

We listened to 8 Mile ON 8 Mile. 

Then we peeped a graffiti-filled skate/sculpture park

After that, we made a stop at Disneyland. Also cool cool cool AF and it was neat to see some Ukraine love. 

First off, let me say that Detroit is freaking incredible. I get the same energy from this city that I felt in New Orleans. It feels alive in special kinda way. 

Look I get vibes from places, I dunno what to tell you. 

When I told people I was coming up here, the most frequent response was “why?”. 

Well, the why is… this is where the cathedral is, plus my friend has been bugging me to take a trip up for for a long ass time, and one other mystery thing that will be revealed later.

But also, it’s a city I haven’t yet visited and that’s all I need. 

I did not, however, expect to fall head over heels in love. 

The Heidelberg Project was my first indication that this is my kinda city. 

Long ago, I had watched a documentary about The Heidelberg Project but, as my brain does, had forgotten most of the whole thing. SO when the name popped up on Google Maps as near my location, we made a detour to go check it out. 

The moment we turned the corner into this neighborhood, I knew I was somewhere special. 

We parked next to one of Tom Fruin’s Glass Houses.

Camouflage House 1/3: Unique Coloring, 2020

I didn’t know at the time that it was his work, but I was 99% sure. Spoiler alert: I was right. The official title is “Camouflage House 1/3: Unique Coloring, 2020″ and it was just installed last month. 

I’m aware of this artist’s work because there is at least one of his works in Orlando (Canvas Restaurant, Lake Nona) which I had never seen, despite living in Orlando for 10+ years. But I knew it was there!!! 

So once we parked, we just kind of wandered. There were very few other people there, maybe two couples and a curator. 

Of course, I was immediately drawn to the remaining polka dot house and walked towards it immediately. 

The Remaining Polka Dot House at The Heidelberg Project

(This 36-year old project used to be much more expansive, but between the city knocking down portions and a bout of arson in 2013/14, there is a lot less than there used to be.)

But it’s not any less magical.  

The Heidelberg Project

I’ve always been drawn to art created from found objects, so my love for this place should have come as no surprise to me.

I mean, I’ve made a “thing” about making a non-traditional (mostly) found object Holiday tree every year. So this is right up my dang alley. 

Before this year, I’ve not really talked much about how my memory works, because I’ve always felt a lot of shame about it and have worked up elaborate systems in order to act as people expected me to. 

But I’m gonna talk about it now, because I’ve recently been exploring Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory (SDAM) with my therapist and I think I would have lived an easier life knowing other people experienced the same thing I did. 

Much like when I discovered aphantasia. 

So, we visited the Heidelberg Project on Sunday. How much of it do I actually remember?

Not very much. Luckily I took some pictures so I could see things again. 

But that’s the thing, I often don’t even think to take pictures because I am so unused to remembering things visually. 

I’d much rather experience them fully rather than be stuck behind a camera taking still pics. 

And I think that’s because I do hold onto the feelings and not the memories. 

I know the things that happened Sunday that I told people about afterwards because now they are words that exist in my head. 

If I didn’t talk about it though, I would struggle to remember details of one of the most magical days of my life. 

It’s like that for a lot of stuff for me. It’s one of the reasons I can rewatch TV so much with people. I get surprised every time. 

Unless I have talked about it a lot. Like Mad Men. And Dead Like Me. 

But the feelings are really where its at for me, memory-wise. I have zero trouble ever recollecting how a place or a person made me feel. It is my most accessible memory type. 

Which makes it really difficult if I have a “bad” memory with you. It’s really hard for me to let go of the negative feelings associated with that moment. 

However, it works the same for happy memories! I can see a face that I know I’ve met before and not know who they are, but I’ll remember how I felt the last time I was with them. If it’s a happy feelin’, I’ll engage. 

If not, I’ll walk on by. 

I also remember talking to people!

We spent some time with the creator of The Heidelberg Project midway through our visit. We were really lucky that he was there that day. I think it made our visit even more special. 

 Tyree Guyton took some time to tell us about his project, but he took even more time to ask us about ourselves. 

When he spoke, it was as if the best playwrights had given him the most poetic dialogue in the play. 

It tickled my brain just right, y’all. 

While we talked, he was always moving, touching his art and calling our attention to different things. 

Eventually he worked his way over to a truck whose bed was overfilled with a variety of found objects. 

He had heard we were from Florida and had just the thing for us, you see?

Two lil gators

He told us that people come from all over the world and give him things to include to the project and, a couple months ago, someone brought him these gators, but he didn’t know what to do with ’em. 

He knew exactly where they were when we arrived, though. 

And they kind of feel representative of our visit. 

So, next time you see me, ask me all about it, so I can talk about it… so I can remember it more. 

And if you’re feeling generous, here’s a link to donate to the project. I look forward to donating more than my money in the future.

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