How to Build a Beehive

Thanks to everyone who came out today for the Free School bee-hive build. Here are some pictures from today’s workshop, facilitated by Christina Barkel and Cyrus Ghaemi. Stay tuned for next week’s workshop (date TBD, but probably May 3) when we introduce the bees to the hive! An email will be sent out about this event.

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Memory and the State of the City


LOCATION: 9338 Joseph Campau Hamtramck MI

In this series of discussions we will examine the relationship between memory and the state of Detroit from a psychological, historical and societal perspective.

5pm, Sat April 4: psychologist and psychoanalyst Richard Raubolt will talk about his embryonic research into the relationship between psychic aphasia of “unknown” traumas and the physical environment of the city, as it plays out in the memory of current and former citizens of Detroit.

7pm, Weds April 15: artist and documentarian Kate Levy will talk about her project to map the de- industrialization of Detroit through the history of industrial auctions from the 1950’s onwards. The project has a personal dimension for Levy since her family built a significant global business as the predominant auction house in the city. She uses her project to examine the collective memory of de-industrialization alongside specific family memories.

7pm, Weds April 22: sociologist Martin Murray will talk about the social construction and impact of collective memory, and the political, practical and ethical dimensions of dealing with the remembrance of a painful and unjust past. The discussion will use Martin’s extensive research on “commemorating and forgetting” in post-apartheid South Africa as an analogy through which to approach contemporary issues in Detroit.

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Dr. Richard Raubolt is a licensed psychologist who provides psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, and counseling for clients in Grand Rapids and throughout West Michigan. He specializes in treating depression, panic disorders, and trauma. His international teaching has lead to appointments at the Portuguese Psychoanalytic Association and the Chinese American Psychoanalytic Association. He is the author of several books including Theaters of Trauma.

Artist and documentarian Kate Levy uses extensive place-based research to explore issues of social justice through video, photography and artist books. Her projects have addressed water and gentrification issues in Detroit, the impact of the oil boom on North Dakota, and land ownership issues in Kenya. She has an MFA in Advanced Photography from ICP-Bard in New York.

Martin Murray is a professor of urban planning at the University of Michigan. He began his lengthy and distinguished academic career as sociologist with a strong foundation in urban geography. His current research engages the fields of urban studies and planning, global urbanism, cultural geography, distressed urbanism, development, historical sociology, and African studies. He is the author of numerous books including “Commemorating and Forgetting: Challenges for the New South Africa.”


W.A.W.A.D. Wire Car Workshop


Presented by Chido Johnson
Sunday, March 22nd, 2015
3pm at 11627 Klinger Street, Hamtramck, MI
This event is free and open to the public.
Note: work clothes recommended. Pliers will be supplied but additional are welcome.

“Growing up in the 70s and 80s in Zambian townships and rural Zimbabwe, we used to make our own toys. I learned how to make a wire-car from the older kids in the neighborhood. Living in Detroit, it is hard not to imagine that the cultural phenomenon of wire-cars could have been triggered by the USA car culture and Detroit. It is only fitting to bring this cultural practice back to Detroit.

This current project is called WAWAD (Wire-car Auto Workers Association of Detroit). The making of wire-cars pushed with sticks is a cultural practice popular in the southern and central regions of Africa. WAWAD originated from the making of the first documented wire-car cruise, which was performed on the historical Woodward Avenue, where the earliest assembly of cars rolled their wheels on. The video documentary of this historical performance, titled A Dance for Diego, was a community based project with collaborators from different parts of Detroit, neighbors as close as Hamtramck and as far as Zimbabwe. We are bringing WAWAD back with workshops and info sessions held in several locations in and around Detroit. Bring your dreams and be ready to make!” – Chido Johnson
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The Writer’s Block at the Detroit Institute of Arts


The Writer’s Block @ the DIA

Join HFS, family members and friends of incarcerated artists
SATURDAY, February 28th 1-3pm
In the DIEGO RIVERA COURT 2nd level of the DIA
Free and open to the public

The Writer’s Block is a poetry workshop at Macomb Correctional Facility (more background @HFS).  HFS facilitators and incarcerated artists have been collaborating over the last few years to compile various works of art to present to the public. With the support of the DIA this collaboration will come to fruition with an afternoon of poetry read by friends and family of Writer’s Block Poets. On display will be audio recordings, Writer’s Block publications and various works of art created by Writer’s Block artists and other incarcerated people over the last two years.

DJ Three Figures

DJ Waiting

The DIA Event was a SMASH

Thanks to all who attended and helped make the event a memorable one. We have had so much positive feedback that we intend to do it again next year. Special thanks to family and friends of Writer’s Block artists for the courageous and inspiring readings. Please stay tuned for the release of a collection of Writer’s Block poems and other artwork in book form.

Warmly in solidarity,
HFS and Writer’s Block

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Fight Tax Foreclosure


Tax Foreclosure
This year the city has given
61,881 property owners tax foreclosures
36,824 of those properties are occupied
2,570 “possibly occupied”…likely more…estimating 2-3 people in a home…
that’s 120,000 people with precarious housing security

MCL 211.10 – An Assessment of all the property in the state liable to taxation shall be made annually in all all townships, villages, and cities…

An real example of tax foreclosure:
Property foreclosed for delinquent taxes
Property sold to a bank in 2000 for $7000
Property sold by the bank to an individual in 2005 for $85,000
Foreclosed and sold to another bank in 2008 for $83,000
Sold by second bank to individual in 2009 for $4,800

2012 – Value for Taxation purposes $8528 = $584 taxes owed
2013 – Value for Taxation purposes $8016 = $549 taxes owed
2014 – Property Value Reassessed   $543 = $37 taxes owed

MCL 211.23a – …The purpose of such appraisal is to provide a uniform basis for the assessment of taxes throughout the county in order to apportion the burden of property taxes fairly and equitably among the owners of taxable property.

HB 5421 – …Before July 1, 2016, if the amount of unpaid delinquent taxes, interest, penalties, and fees for which a property was forfeited is greater than 50% of the state equalized valuation of the property and the property is subject to and in compliance with a delinquent property tax installment payment plan under section 78q(1) or a tax foreclosure avoidance agreement under section 78q(5), or both, the foreclosing governmental unit may reduce the amount of taxes, interest, penalties, and fees required to be paid to redeem the property under subdivision (3)(a) to an amount equal to 50% of the state equalized valuation of the property. If a property is redeemed by payment of the reduced amount under this subsection, any remaining unpaid taxes, interest, penalties, and fees for which the property was forfeited and otherwise payable shall be canceled by the county treasurer. A foreclosing governmental unit may not approve a reduction in the amount necessary to redeem property under this subsection if the reduction would cause noncompliance with section 87c(7) or otherwise impermissibly impair an outstanding debt of the county.

The State charges 18% interest on delinquent taxes…but taxes imply services…and the service of property reassessment for purposes of taxation, one service among many the state and city are obligated to perform, has not been performed, in some cases for decades. The bankrupt city of Detroit admits to being negligent on reassessment…Mike Duggan explains

Tools to find out the history of your property’s assessment
Detroit’s personal property tax information lookup – Here
Property Tax estimator – Here

THIS ACTION IS ONGOING…Join various activists groups NOW and FEB 2-4 @ COBO Hall and Help Eviction Defense Sign People Up to File Objections to Foreclosures.


Desert As Dividing Space: Walt Disney to Bill Gates

This will be a joint event between the HFS and 9338 Campau. After the presentation we will discuss if there is interest in a reading/discussion/project group around Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project.

“Desert As Dividing Space: Walt Disney to Bill Gates”
Steve's Arcades PictureAn artist project by Rose DeSloover

WHEN: 7pm, Sunday Feb 1 2015  WHERE: 9338 Joseph Campau

In reality, there is not one moment that does not bring with it its own revolutionary possibility—- it only wants to be defined as a specific one, namely as the chance for a totally new revolution in view of a totally new task. W. Benjamin


My introduction to Walter Benjamin came in 2001 through an NEH summer seminar at University of California, Irvine with Alexander Gelley, Professor of Comparative Literature. It was the title of the seminar that caught my attention, Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project, Commodity Fetishism, and the Aesthetics of the City, At the time I knew nothing about Walter Benjamin the philosopher. The six-week seminar with twenty scholars from all over country and from multiple disciplines started me in a direction that brings me to this spot today.

The seminar required each participant to deliver a “work-in-progress” relating to the work of Benjamin. I chose to present initial research into the L. Dream House, Museum, Spa and initial research into the gated communities of the Coachella Valley in southern California.

In 2010, as a part of a subsequent academic seminar Walls, Borders and Boundaries at Marygrove College, I expanded the Coachella Valley presentation into Desert As Dividing Space: Walt Disney to Bill Gates.

It is this presentation that I want to share as an introduction to Walter Benjamin’s Arcades Project. In The Marvels of Walter Benjamin, the author J. M. Coetzee ends with this statement, The Arcades book, whatever our verdict on it — ruin, failure, impossible project—suggests a new way of writing about civilization, using its rubbish as material rather than its artwork: history from below rather than from above.

We are in the position of looking at the 20th century as Walter Benjamin looked at the 19th century. He used the “debris of mass culture” to read history. I am suggesting that one of the architectural patterns of the 20th century to be examined, under the influence of Walter Benjamin, are the gated communities of the California desert from their beginnings in the 1930’s to 1998.

Rose E. DeSloover

The Birth of the Pharmacy and the Art of Mental Disorder

This course runs a slightly more than tangent line to some of the issues of mental health and pharmacology. We will examine the birth of the clinic and the pharmacy from historical and philosophical perspectives, and nervously scratch at the skin of the sociologic of mental health and mental health treatment. We live in a world where a growing number of people take prescription drugs, prescribed or not, and a substantial portion of the population self-medicates in some capacity. We will attempt to locate some of the boundaries of pharmacological supplementation and we will explore the industrial and institutional pharmacological apparatuses. The hope is to challenge the approach common to contemporary medical practices around mental health that seek to “normalize” neurophysiology under the banner of “chemical balances” despite the fact that patients almost never have a medical neurochemical profiling.

Canguilhem – The Normal and the Pathological
First Discussion: Feb 7th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St, Detroit)
(Section 2, Chapter 1 “From the Social to the Vital”, pgs 237-256 )
Second Discussion: Feb 14th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St, Detroit)
(Section 2, Chapter 2 “On Organic Norms in Man”, pgs 257-274)

FoucaultThe Essential Works Vol 1: Ethics and Subjectivity &  The Birth of the Clinic
Third Discussion: March 7th @ 12pm (11627 Klinger St. Hamtramck)
(“Hermeneutics of the Subject” & “Self Writing”)
Forth Discussion: March 14th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St. Detroit)
(“Crisis in Fevers”)

Fifth Discussion: March 21th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St. Detroit)
(“Plato’s Pharmacy”, pgs 61-171)
Sixth Discussion: March 28th @ 12pm (140 Atkinson St. Detroit)
(“Plato’s Pharmacy”, pgs 61-171)

Winnicott – Playing and Reality
Seventh Discussion: April 4th @ 12pm (Stella Coffee, Fisher Building Detroit)

Lakoff – Pharmaceutical Reason
Eighth Discussion: April 11th @ 12pm (Stella Coffee Fisher Building Detroit)

Cosgrove – Financial Ties Between DSM Panel Members & Pharmaceutical Industry
Ninth Discussion: April 25th @ 12pm (Stella Coffee Fisher Building Detroit)

Stiegler – Taking Care of Youth
Tenth Discussion: May 16th @ 12pm (Stella Coffee Fisher Building Detroit)

Preciado – Testo Junkie
Final Discussion: March 30th @ 12pm (TBD)