Misery Index Series installedMisery Index: Greetings from Detroit! Watercolor, gouache and ink on paper 4" x 6" 2013
“Most Stressful Cities – Detroit-Livonia-Dearborn, MI”
Commute time – minutes: 27
Violent crime per 100,000 population: 1,111.2
Property crime per 100,000 population: 4,152.4
Suicides per 100,000 population: 9.6
Cloudy days annually: 180
Greetings from Detroit: Misery Index Series is a series of hand-painted postcards made to expose the one-sidedness of media storytelling. It points out our reportage’s tendencies toward the shocking, the sublime, the fantastical, and the extreme and toward narratives that simplify the human condition down to stereotypes and labels. The title, Misery Index, is a term borrowed from popular Internet lists that aim to quantifiably rank America’s “Most Miserable Cities” by combining a random hodgepodge of data, including statistics like the number of anti-depressants prescribed, number of divorces, number of sunny days, and average commuter times. Detroit nearly sweeps the top spot of all of these lists, in a way defining Detroit as the embodiment of misery itself. The series aims to use biting sarcasm and humor to expose current culture of misinformation and the sensationalized stereotypes used to sell newspapers and increase Internet hits and leading to the suppression of entire communities.