There’s probably no more emblematic set of images for this time of economic and ecological disaster than James D. Griffioen’s series of photographs, “Feral Houses.” The term “feral house” is perfect. Griffioen’s photographs, taken in and around Detroit, show the true, surrealist face of the American suburb: small plots of domesticated nature that have become neither nature nor culture. Griffioen’s feral houses have no use value, exchange value–no value at all. They’re not even “green” in the ecological sense.
Griffioen photographed only houses; trees grow inside abandoned buildings in downtown Detroit as well. The entire city is turning feral.Detroit once furnished the sinews for the largest capitalist machine in the history of civilization, yet its viability lasted barely a few decades. The city came and went in less than a hundred years. Griffioen captured the city as it disappears.”