Holbrook Street between I-75 and Oakland Street is like many Detroit neighborhood streets. It is lined with open fields, a couple of graffiti covered abandoned commercial buildings and a few old homes that are in pretty good shape. There’s a Coney Island restaurant near I-75, and that’s about it for active businesses along that street. Essentially, there is nothing remarkable about that little stretch of Holbrook on the city’s near North End Neighborhood.
However, something curious in one of the fields did catch my eye while riding along the street a few weeks ago. It was a small stack of cubes or blocks that reminded me of a wedding cake or something similar. They were stacked four high, in a field on the south side of Holbrook, with the largest being on the bottom. All four were painted bright white and each featured a simple letter in various colors on each side, much like alphabet blocks that little kids used early on to build words. But these are a bit different from the traditional kid’s blocks.
Only eight letters were used on two sides of each block: AMOR and FATI. Why those letters? That’s the big unknown about this art project. In walking around the stack I saw no reference to its meaning, the artist, when it was installed, etc. While poking around the sculpture, I found it interesting that the blocks were set-up on what looked to be an aged terrazzo floor. The smooth floor must have been part of a store or business of some type and has now become part of the landscape.
Like other mysterious art installations I’ve come across and blogged about such as “Painted Dirt” and the orange figures from the “Oakland North of Grand Boulevard” entry, the origin may never be known. If anyone has any information or insight into these unusual blocks or the outdoor art found in the two stories mentioned above (click on each to read the story), I would appreciate a posting about them in the comments section of this story.