Neal Robinson with Nick Hudyma + Taylor Boes, Ann Arbor, MI
The Sukkah narrative began when populations of the marginalized and the different were cast out of the seemingly known but unaccommodating structures of civility into a new desert. Survival in this wilderness, a moonscape of sorts, required a mix of both faith-full vision and a spirit of willing and perhaps undaunted, exploration. Temporary in nature and easy to construct, the sukkah was critical to this mission and necessarily defensive in its organization. It was for the most part, sealable, hermetic and a sanctuary from wind and weather. It was a small "world" in which spatial priority was personal. Effective then; but this is Detroit in the now.
The sukkah in Capitol Park is sited in a more spontaneous, open idea of collective territory that, while still allowing for itinerant personal space, prioritizes the construction of a more unapologetic public realm. Situational engagement of ordinary public activities (resting, vending, orating) are accommodated in the "walls" of the sukkah and a more fluid idea of belonging and capital exchange of both ideas and conviviality is encouraged.
If character is indeed defined by labor and one's willingness to engage with it, a sukkah for a new Detroit bears witness to those labors by celebrating the gathering of the characters themselves.