Literary Nonfiction. Art. Architecture. Edited by Uta Scholemmer. In the last three decades, a "new physiognomy of the continent" arose (Schlögel 2005). The breakdown of structures caused by political and, more importantly, economic developments gave Ewa Trafna during a visit to Detroit the impulse to artistically engage with her experiences of abandoned property, industrial wastelands, and the standstill of urban communication in previously thriving cityscapes. Overseas, the artist experienced something that was familiar to her both biographically and from the fate of Polish and German cities like Łódź, Bytom, Wałbrzych as well as Oberhausen, Bitterfeld, Eisenhüttenstadt and Berlin (Oberschöneweide).
Trafna's series, originating from the memory of Detroit—although it is by all means also currently a geopolitical burning issue—expresses in a universal way how architecture bears witness to an era, both its successful times and its setbacks. But with further change they are whitewashed, built upon, repurposed. New cityscapes are created, whose transformations are barely noticeable on site, but which are not only documented by artists like Trafna, but also granted an artistic visage. Art is an actor that engages in the process of urban forgetting and remembering. Trafna's work provides now an opportunity to pause for a moment and a space to re-think this intermediate state between past and future, both in its melancholy but also its potential.