As its initiating proposal, the project moves to coordinate an Exodus for the faithful congregations of the 100 churches documented on our unit trip to Detroit. The notion of an Exodus for Detroit combines the scalar mythologies of both the biblical journey and the heroic interpretations of the American landscape. As a counterpoint to this, it is the 19th century scientific developments in thermodynamics, specifically Rudolph Clausius’ discovery of the second law of thermodynamics, which act as the foundation for the large scale movement of people suggested in the proposal.
The second law of thermodynamics established that in any isolated system that transfer of energy from a warmer to a colder body is accompanied by a decrease in total available energy. In the historic context of Detroit this means that the industrial boom of the early 20th century, which was constituted by the “heat” created from mass migration during the previous 50 years, was only part of a longer process of inevitable decline, dissolution, and exhaustion; products of the very industrial ideology and urban planning that envisioned this Modern city.
The project intervenes at this point of exhaustion, speculating an Exodus that will accelerate the entropic process in Detroit. The 100 churches are treated like Etienne-Jules Marey’s absurd and fascinating mechanisms. Architectural vehicles that, like modern-day arks, will meet the fatigue of the population with calculated scientific accuracy and measure. The churches will be excavated and transported in heroic fashion, lifted on to flatbed train cars and powered by the stolen electricity, courtesy of the Hook-up Guy, while the chosen congregations – having packed their most valued items – ride solemnly toward a new Promise Land.