Metro54 presents BLUEPRINT: Whose urban appropriation is this?, a multidisciplinary group exhibition and public program, at TENT Rotterdam, focusing on the relationship between street culture and architecture. Metro54 invited architects, designers, rappers, producers, and artists to show new and existing work that explores and articulates the complex relationship between architecture and street culture.
Rotterdam is known as the Dutch capital of hip-hop, where architecture, urban arts, and urban culture are deeply intertwined with the city’s DNA. Old neighborhoods and new pompous architecture alternate with each other, functioning as a catalyst for contemporary art, performance, and music culture. This group exhibition and lively public program taps into this condition by highlighting and questioning urban appropriation and notions of the city and its architecture. The themes of ‘architecture and identity’ and ‘urban appropriation of street culture’ in cities, such as London, Lisbon, Paris, and Rotterdam, receive particular attention. For example, artists Ilya Karilampi, Kareem Lotfy, and Marcel van den Berg use codes, such as ‘realness’, and the visual language of hip-hop to create work that resonates both with street culture and contemporary art.
Architect Afaina de Jong and designer Innavisions, together with Metro54, appropriate the physical exhibition space by intervening in TENT’s architecture. The duo’s installations and geometric settings form a coded backdrop or stage for the work of artist VHILS, photographers Khalid Amakran and Charlie Koolhaas, and others. Taking distance from the cliché of the white cube, Metro54 transforms TENT into an experimental playground and meeting point, where installations, sound works, music videos, live performances, interviews, discussions, and takeovers interweave, thus extending the vitality of a culture in constant motion within the walls of the institute.
Parallel to the exhibition is an ongoing, multi-vocal public program of gatherings, a film screening, a symposium, and a pop-up video installation organized with HipHopHuis, BIRD, Studio Narrative, and AFARAI. Urban appropriation, socio-cultural issues, architecture, and ownership in the city are critically questioned, reinterpreted, and contextualized in dialogue with visitors, guest speakers, artists, musicians, dancers, and architects.
Metro54 x Cultural Appropriation
Metro54 is a platform for young artists, performers, and other creators who explore the boundaries of their (art) disciplines, paying specific attention to talents who take inspiration from the world’s metropolitan melting pots. Metro54 organize interactive programs, exhibitions, and (pop-up) events for a predominantly young audience. As part of their two-year Cultural Appropriation program, Metro54 examines appropriation in contemporary urban arts and culture. BLUEPRINT: Whose urban appropriation is this? is the first part of this program and focuses on urban appropriation.
TENT is a platform for contemporary art that has its roots in Rotterdam. The connection to the city, both as a breeding ground and a reflection of current developments, makes it essential for TENT to ask: what can this place in the center of Rotterdam be? Who can share in a sense of ownership in this place? What forms of art and culture are at home here? TENT welcomes the takeover that BLUEPRINT initiates – and the issues of ownership and appropriation that Metro54 raises – as a way to look at contemporary urban culture and as a way to further stretch its own frameworks.
BLUEPRINT is part of Rotterdam Architecture Month and is supported by Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie and Rotterdam Festivals.