Collective Intelligence or Collective Stupidity?

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NOT Detroit.

The above image is circulating on the internet representing all sorts of cities on all sorts of continents, showing us how images, so easily appropriated and manipulated today, are deployed toward all sorts of ends.

According to “Del Tirador a la Ciudad“, the architecture and design blog of El País, this image is of Detroit, Michigan. I suspect the author, Anatxu Zabalbeascoa, pulled the image from this post at Decrece Madrid, a grassroots environmentalist, anti-consumerist and anti-capitalist organization in Madrid calling for the “degrowth” of that metropolis. 

In both of the above websites, this image of “Detroit” serves to highlight extreme socio-economic inequality, which is certainly visible in this image, and which can certainly be seen in parts of Detroit. Except that this isn’t Detroit. Poverty in that city actually looks very different, occupying run-down 19th and early 20th century houses originally built for a white middle class that fled to the suburbs in the 1960s.

A reverse image search (conducted by Manca Ahlin) reveals a list of further places supposedly represented by this image : Manila, Manaus, South Africa and Bangkok. Is this collective intelligence or collective stupidity? You can take your pic(k).

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