Invisible Cities

It remains to be one of my favorite books, Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino. When you’re an art and architecture student it’s a must-read. Or at least it was in my time. Some of the books you read during your life seem to have settled down in a cosy corner of your brain and stir every time something passes that reminds them of themselves. I have no control over this; I am just a happy carrier of facts and stories…

Now that I am researching for my articles, again, I am looking differently at my city and its people. Why do we have a tendency to create images everywhere around us? Even on the surface of our body. And then why can’t we accept the fact that some also like doing that on city walls, spans and bridges? Now that I have been studying throw-ups and tags and interviewing graffiti writers  I see a whole new city in front of me. And not only that; I see how everything is logically connected.

What does this say about us as a collective? It seems far more complex then the cave paintings made by homo sapiens, although some people tell me that graffiti writers are nothing less then cavemen. When I look around these days these drawings and writings speak to me; about the city, about us humans, about the scars on the surface that tell us something about the the gut of things. I try to imagine what it looks like to new-comers coming from the middle east or African countries. If it helps them read us. Or what it would look like to someone who arrived here just after we all left earth… what does it all say about us?

 Photo: Micawber™ @Roffa ( @__micawber__ )

What is art?

This year I will be publishing a series of articles on art and culture for Follow the Money. I love FTM. It is a journalistic internet platform with only people involved that do thorough research, whatever the outcome. My love for the world of arts and culture in the Netherlands is a lot less I can tell you, and waning. But that’s where I come from and so that’s what I have to deal with. I guess. Nobody wants to hear more sobbing and moaning over art markets, institutionalized subsidiaries and budget cuts. Even I, myself, am fed-up with those stories. By the way: you can mostly read them in art magazines published for people in the art world; everything is carefully contained in the silo’s that have been constructed for them.

Anyway. I decided to research on the brighter side of life. I’m departing from the discrepancy between the official definitions of art and how art is experienced in general: free, unruly, independent, visionary, against the stream, against the odds, etc.

The only truly free ‘art forms’ that still fit within those parameters – as far as I can see – are graffiti writers and taggers, old-school video-bloggers, hackers, and even hooligans, to a certain extend, skaters maybe, and a bunch of other free spirits. Insane in the membrane, all-about-fun and totally committed to ‘their (in)crowd’… I didn’t know but that was my image of most of them. Now that I am researching this crowd for a few months, I see direct links between who we are as people in general and the art-world. As if they were the missing link I was looking for. As if… maybe here I find and answer that I have been looking for quite some time now: how can the western art-world escape its self-inflicted prison?

Photo: ApFab

Starting all over…

Starting all over seems to be one of the things I’m really good at. So, here I am again. Why? Because to me it doesn’t matter all that much what I’ve done before. Here and now is all that counts; yesterday’s gone and the things that happened in the past will regularly come back on the table anyway. If it is worth anything or relevant. “History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake” James Joyce wrote, although I never got to reading the whole freakin’ novel. I agree though. For anyone who really wants to know – for whatever reason – check out my LinkedIn page, Google me, give me a call and we’ll have a coffee.

What I currently doing, next to writing, writing, writing and some reading, is this: www.rotterdamsebeeldmaatschappij.nl and www.creativeactionnow.nl.

So, today is as good a day as any other to start over. Here I go.

P.S. Thinking of a dear friend I hereby state: I’ll do my best to avoid using dots as much as I can (…)