Thursday, September 27, 2007

Nick Tobier and Rachel Timlin

Detroit Service Collaborative

We've waited for a bus in the rain. In the snow. In the sun. So have other people.

Around this city, as others, there are a variety of options from a steel post marking the stop to a 19th century-esque pavilion.

Since we're all in it together, and since the wait can be a treat rather than a task, we conceived of this roving bench. To offer comfort, shade, music, conversation. A gathering spot for the gatherings that form and then disperse at the bus stop.

While we started here at Woodward and Mack, and got to know the culture of this corner, we see the appearance of our stop as part of a potential for other stops. During the course of this project, we formed the Detroit Service Collaborative, with an eye towards more social/functional work throughout the city.

Growing up in New York City, Nick Tobier is a lifelong participant observer of street life and the social life of public places.

Prior to staging public spectacles, I offered small street side services--a bridge to assist crossing puddles, a woven and upholstered mobile tent that dispensed hot chocolate, and a tricycle driven chandelier that illuminated dark streets. The once utilitarian services have become celebratory events more than strictly functional objects, and I believe strongly that this public celebration is inherently functional. Recent events include an eccentric walking tour of Lower Manhattan, an interactive transit device in a Boston subway station, a tricycle-driven chandelier, and a human fountain for a wading pool in Toronto.

Most often I have described my work as situational. If there's a situation, I'll try and interrupt it with something that is gently out of place--an aberrant gesture, a curious movement, a mis-used object.
I'm keen on how I can use humor as a disarming tactic in real or imagined scenarios that play out in everyday places.

I and hope that my actions as an artist provoke the possibility that everyday places and objects can be rather extra ordinary.

Nick Tobier currently lives in Ann Arbor, where he is Assistant Professor at the School of Art and Design, University of Michigan since 2003. More on Tobier at

Rachel Timlin works full time as the Cultural Arts Coordinator for the City of Farmington Hills. In her spare time, she makes neckties and other miscellaneous fashion items for her line The New Generic Brand (, and works occasionally as a freelance graphic designer and consultant.

Timlin studied at Central Michigan University, The Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, and the University of New Mexico, where she graduated with a degree in Photography and Cultural Studies in 2001. Because she finds it far too tedious, Timlin doesn’t keep detailed records of her past exhibitions or accomplishments – however, she does admit to having one or two good ideas over the years. She currently resides in Hamtramck.

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