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Nick Tobier and Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit

Nick Tobier in conjunction with Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit is applying Harpo funding to develop New News Detroit , a mobile kiosk that provides a local beacon with a global reach through workshops that provoke and disseminate local observations of the physical city through networked and on site publishing.

New News Detroit combines the physical structure of a news kiosk with the production and networked distribution facilities of a content bureau with writing workshops, print and electronic publishing on site outside CAID’s two exhibit spaces, at Detroit Public Schools, on street corners, at laundromats.

Using a wi-fi wireless internet router and laptops in conjunction with open source software (blogs, wikis, ning, flickr), a hub for these observations – both to receive it and to transmit it – is created. This approach, building an active rather than a passive audience, enables the voices of inner city neighborhoods to be heard across town and across the world. (Source: Contemporary Art Institute of Detroit grant proposal)

Nick Tobier has worked as a landscape architect, a designer for the NYC Department of Parks, and as project manager for Storefront for Art and Architecture. A native New Yorker, Nick Tobier is a participant-observer of street life and the social life of public places. These inherently layered scenarios are at the core of his work, and his practice reflects his belief in the power of social dynamism and the fundamental role of artist as catalyst and conduit in this relationship. For more information about the artist, please visit here.

This project was funded as part of Harpo’s 2010 grant cycle, which explored the relationship between art and site in an era defined by digital technologies. The foundation used to thematic focus for one year to shed light on how artists today are locating or siting their work in a dematerializing world. To read more about this funding priority, visit

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