The cinematic installation Le Détroit (1999-2000) by renowned Canadian artist Stan Douglas is one of the major pieces from the Mudam Collection and will be presented for the first time in Luxembourg. Through a sophisticated system of double projection, the world renowned artist invites the visitor to experience the moving image both physically and reflexively.
Inspired by the historical chronicle Legends of Le Détroit (1883) by Marie Hamlin and the horror novel The Haunting of Hill House (1959) by Shirley Jackson, the Canadian artist Stan Douglas (b.1960) weaves into the film installation Le Détroit (1999-2000) many visual, literary and historical allusions, creating a composite tale, the formal presentation of which is as important as its semantic richness. Douglas had already produced a photo series on the theme of the decadent city founded in 1701 on a river isthmus by French settlers. He places the context for Le Détroit in the iconic district of Herman Gardens, the former spearhead of the American automobile metropolis, but with a social profile that has now shifted from a prestigious residential area for the white middle classes to a poor, black ghetto characterised by criminality.
We meet a character, Eleanor, who gets out of her car, enters an abandoned house, erases marks, then wanders about, groping around for something. Without reaching her goal, she leaves and gets back into her car – a Chevrolet Caprice, a car model often used by American detectives in civilian clothes and therefore referred to as ‘ghost car’. As if caught in a time loop, her search resumes from the start. The sophisticated double projection system of positive and negative films in slight asynchronicity invites the visitor to experience the moving image both physically and reflexively.