Just outside of Detroit’s New Center (so named around 1933) there exists a limbo.  A monolithic hospital just a few blocks away has bought up the remaining standing structures of a ravaged neighborhood in anticipation of future expansion. As the last tenants move on, a guilty hush has settled over the blocks, and the trees and vines and neck high fields of grass begin to re-establish their ancient provenance.  What remains is a telling example of what you find when you ‘flip stones’ in Detroit to see what lives beneath, scurrying from the light of the feel good notions of transplanted bohemians; no one here plays at games of petite post urban utopias or ironic art.  In the last living section of this neighborhood lies hollow groupings of warehouses currently being occupied by scrap metal dealers and their strange employees, slowly digesting the remains of the cities industrious past.  Pinioned in between these behemoths and the railroad tracks sits a grouping of squat white industrial buildings with an adjoining yard filled with aged cars and machinery.  There is little to differentiate this scene from a hundred others in the city, other than one telling feature: six foot tall metal letters proclaiming the compounds name: 
                D E S T R O Y.
The nomenclature ‘compound’ is fitting, as this place is a citadel, a hardened outpost of intensity fortified and armed to stand fast against the rising tide of banality that surrounds it.  It’s armaments include several directional flamethrowers and fireball cannons, a mechanical tripod mounted lightbulb howitzer and platoons of remote control robot drones of various sizes and capabilities.  Some of these robots are simple gargoyles, small, aggressive and loud but otherwise benign.  Hidden deeper are their larger and far less friendly vanguard; dark unidentifiable machines, taller than a man, wider than a car, mobile and capable of dismantling most things with a maximum of collateral damage.  Picture a six foot fan of inch and a half battleship chains spinning at a couple hundred rpm rolling towards you at an aggressive pace.  These troops are led by a Drum Major, a twelve foot tall mechanical ape incessantly beating out commands on forty gallon drums who is known, intimidatingly, as “Drummer Bunny.”
Ironically, what generally happens within the walls is the furthest thing from destruction; this is a space of relentless creation.  In every medium possible by a wide cast of artists, the Destroy Compound is a place devoted to a furious pursuit of what’s next.  In fabrication of electromechanical artworks, in the creation of experimental sounds and more conventional visual mediums (most notably in the MUG room), in the pursuit of video spectacles, in a myriad of other ways, the denizens of Destroy religiously extract the novel from the endless wash of the banal.


Drummer Bunny photo by Dale Merril