Monthly Archives: February 2013

Duluth is What?!

In the last post about crowdsourcing, we talked about the fact that crowdsourcing really transfers some of the power of placemaking to those who are making the place. Here at  Placing Literature, we are all about that kind of culture change.

Something that we need to keep in mind, that like any technology or culture change, there is the potential for conflict.  What happens when the crowd challenges the norm?

That brings us to Duluth is Horrible.

Duluth is seriously NOT horrible, but that is the name of a film by Vincent Gargiulo.  Vincent Gargiulo is a filmmaker from San Francisco who had the idea for a film – a lonely-hearts kind of tale.  He had the film title in mind…(insert community name) is Horrible.  But, he did not have a title until it came to him in a dream.  Duluth.  Duluth is Horrible.

Enter crowdsourcing, stage right.  The film idea was pitched on Kickstarter – a crowdsourcing funding site for arts projects – and funding was secured.  So, now Vincent Gargiulo is in Duluth to make a film called Duluth is Horrible.

How do Duluthians feel about this development?  As you might imagine, feelings are mixed.  There are those who welcome any effort to spread the name of Duluth.  There are those who are deeply offended that people would pick on their community.  The social scientist in me points to the fact that some of the funding came from Duluth, local actors are participating and Perfect Duluth Day is talking about the film. 

One blogger in Duluth stated, “With several filmmakers coming to Duluth and making films which extol the … er … um grittier nature of our fair city, I’ve come to wonder if we aren’t letting others define how others see us with their films.”

Good question.  The conflict of crowdsourcing – losing control of an image?  Potential damage from outsiders creating a definition for your community?

More on this in future posts.

See for yourself: