Noord, pars pro toto
Noord is an international art project concerning Amsterdam-Noord. This peripheral borough serves as a pars pro toto for The Netherlands. It is conflicting and heterogeneous, but at the same time has a strong sense of solidarity and camaraderie. It is also one of the most undiscovered, and therefore exciting locations of The Netherlands. Together with local and international artists, Mediamatic has mapped Noord. This resulted in an exhibition, and in the first Arabic travel guide to The Netherlands.
It is impossible to tell if Amsterdam-Noord is a small town, or part of a larger city. Apart from the pivots of Dutch culture - Hema, Bakker Bart, roundabout art and cargo bikes - it houses provincial polders, conventional townhouses, and the well-known Dutch multiculturalism. But is Amsterdam Noord just like any other place? Not really.
Being the testing ground of a large city has its pros and cons. Since the nineties, artists and cultural entrepreneurs have been working on turning Noord into a vibrant cultural area, attracting nomadic artists and media companies alike. But Noord also has the highest unemployment rate, and the highest percentage right wing voters. Noord harbors top politicians, working class single moms, and the largest Egyptian community in The Netherlands. Whether it's a town of its own, or a peripheral city borough, Noord is unmistakably a conflicted area.
And a conglomerate like Noord deserves a motley crew of researchers. Mediamatic invited young, emerging artists from Cairo, the city with the most travel agents in the world. From their northern neighbor Beirut come the best graphic designers the Arabic world houses. Together with a handful of Dutch artists, they spent the summer of 2010 researching the visible and invisible aspects of Noord. The travel guide combines the results of their research, along with practical information about the peripheral borough. A subjective guide to a unique location. The exhibition showcases their work and will run until November 9th, 2010 at Mediamatic Bank.
Ahmed Kamel, Ayman Ramadan, Engy Aly, Foundland, Ganzeer, Golfstromen, Kareem Lotfi, Khajag Apelian, Kivanc Ince, Lara Balaa, Lynn Amhaz, Mahmoud Hamdy, Malek Helmy, Sarah van Sonsbeeck, Kaweh Modiri, Tunc Topcuoglu and Wietske Maas.
Both the exhibition and the travel guide were launched on September 10th. The travel guide was distributed along with Amsterdam newspaper Het Parool. The exhibition takes place at Mediamatic Bank, Vijzelstraat 68 Amsterdam.
Noord is made possible by:
Mondriaan Foundation, Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture (FondsBKVB), DOEN Foundation, VSBfonds, Amsterdam Fund for the Arts, Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Gemeente Amsterdam Stadsdeel Noord, Ymere and Netherlands Embassy in Cairo.