Is it art or is it a security system?


We finished the hassle of putting together our August publication yesterday, so I knew today would be a fine day. It’s turning out even better than expected though…Look what I came across, it’s a legitimate security story about art. And here’s what the artist in question has to say about thieves and trespassers: “Anything too funky or arty, they tend to avoid,” Yes, it’s way more interesting (to me anyway) than my normal stories, read on…

We all know how hard hit Detroit has been by the housing bust. Foreclosures and abandoned homes abound, and the resources to secure these buildings with electronic security systems don’t exist, so the alternative has been simply boarding them up.

Some local artists [Mitch Cope, an artist, and Gina Reichert, an architect--who collaborate under the name "Design 99"] have taken a different approach creating and installing “sculptural security systems,” in the doors and windows of abandoned buildings from found objects. Here’s a NYT magazine story about the security systems and below are some photos.


From the NYT story:

[A] colorful and creative alternative to the standard plywood sheets used to fortify abandoned houses against intruders. Dubbed Razzle Dazzle devices, each takes the form of a pointy cone that’s jammed into a window or door space and is painted with a colorful pattern that injects a burst of life and energy onto vacant structures that tend to lack both.


How effective are security sculptures at keeping people out? Apparently, they do OK.

As foreclosures rippled across the neighborhood (and the country), empty property attracted a variety of problematic individuals. Over time Cope has become “fascinated by the creativity of criminals” and their ability to suss out the best houses to enter without permission; they seem to have a good eye for the signs or stickers that indicate recent foreclosure, for instance. Cope explains that the name Razzle Dazzle refers to a World War II naval strategy of painting ships in loud patterns that made them harder to gauge with range finders. Similarly the “bizarre” structural sculptures aren’t meant to trick trespassers so much as to confuse them. “Anything too funky or arty, they tend to avoid,” Cope says.

Intrigued? Live near Detroit? Go check out Cope & Reichert’s current show at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit.



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<p class="comment_author">July 14th, 2010 at 3:37 pm</p>
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<p>It&rsquo;s all fun and games until you have to figure out how to disarm your security system. Although I bet they have very few false alarms.</p>

Admittedly besides the heiddleburg project that is some pretty weird stuff. We have seen it all. Another issue that I want to address is the false alarms in Detroit. Here at alert alarm we want to work with the 12th precinct neighborhood coalition to figure out ways we can help make an impact to cut down on the number of false alarms. check us out