freekk on Sun, 7 Jul 2002 05:47:13 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> guerriilla-expo

     [reformatted @ nettime]

Hi there,

We're working on an exhibition about Amsterdam. Might be 
interesting for some of you.

Freek Kallenberg


  Guerilla Expo. 1

  The shared, battled city
  Amsterdam presents itself as a tolerant, dynamic, creative,
multicultural, high-tech- metropolis.  A city with international allure,
where the new cosmopolitan middle-class is working in the areas of media,
culture, art, free time and tourism, in which they can freely live, consume
and relax (lounge). Architectural highlights, tidied -up public spaces and
high-level public utilities have to make the city attractive for
international companies and consumer based civilians.  Behind this image
presented in tourist folders and such hides a different reality. Because of
the rise of this new middle-class, other groups are being pushed out of the
center and the 19th century-area's. Also, through international data
streams immigrants flow into the city, invading from all over the world.
These underpaid, and often-illegalized employees are providing the comfort
and pleasure for this new middle class to exist, and give the city her
colorful presence.  This multicultural society is being appreciated ass
long it presents itself in exotic stores and colorful parties. At the
moment it leads to any "distracting" behavior, unlike the demanded "normal"
ways as defined by the Amsterdam image, and the norms and values dictated
in this image are being disturbed, the tolerance is making space for law &
order. Not only for immigrants, but also for members of subcultures, stray
cats, bums and other people who live a life different from the defined
"normal". Creativity is being appreciated, but it has to fit into the image
that the city has of its own, and preferably serve the purpose of the free
market. There is also space for different opinions, as long as they are
expressed at the appropriate 'normal' space and time.

  In this shared city, the inhabitants give their daily life shape from
their own needs, wishes and expectations. Meanwhile battling for their own
space, because they differ in the way they choose their path, not
necessarily following the one laid out for them, and thereby crossing
borders and trespassing into forbidden territories. The Guerrilla Expo 'the
shared/battled city' wants to exhibit this post-modern metropolis. How do
people move trough the city, which boundaries are being crossed and in
which way do people (consciously or unconsciously) seek confrontation with
the ruling authorities and free market.  With this we want to show that the
conquering of ones own space does not only possess 'sympathetic'
emancipation-moments, but also radical and from in some perspectives
causing negative fractures. In the battled city, for example, we see
Moroccan senior women claiming a tea-home for themselves as well as white
youths spray-painting swastikas on a mosque. Also we see Moroccan kids
climbing the national monument at the dam during a demonstration against
the war in Palestine -a monument of rejecting against, or emancipating from
the 'Dutch' normality by a marginalized group - and at the same time
storming the Krasnapolsky Hotel, just because it has a Jewish name.

  These tensions between the shared and battled city are taken as the core
subjects for this exhibition. Because these tensions seem to surface at the
moment an event breaks the boundaries of everyday life, we want to connect
this exposition to the squatting of a building in the center of town. The
space for the exhibition will be squatted for a week. In the middle of the
free market violence, the space has to create an oasis of astray behavior,
creativity and freedom, in order to make consumer-based
Amsterdam-inhabitant or tourist realize that there is more to the city is
more than just a shopping paradise. The action squat is not a remedy to
have cheap space, but has a direct relation to the contents of this
exhibition. The Guerilla Expo wants to literally fracture the city's
structure, but because of an inviting composition will also melt with her
environment .The continuing process of the shared and battled city will
come into the character of the exposition in this way.  

  The aspects of the shared/battled city are complex and all surrounding.
To give this a little more direction, we have chosen to focus on four
themes specifically. The themes are not being viewed as a limitation, but
as an inspiration source to which new elements can be added. It is also
possible to introduce new themes. 

  Amsterdam city BV
  Amsterdam is being seen more and more as a corporation, visible in the
way the city is run and large interests in it are being sold. This
determines for an important part the city's landscape and social-cultural

  Ideas for working with this theme.
  The way in which economic principles like efficiency and rationalization
increasingly structure our everyday lives. The highly educated Amsterdam
inhabitant wants to arrange his working time and free time in the most
efficient way possible and enjoy as much as possible the limited amount of
free time he has. This way of life is possible because of an informal
economy in which illegal workers keep this s lifestyle affordable.
Pakistani and Indian people run the launderettes, people smuggle cocaine
into the country with their own bodies to provide the necessary kicks. The
sale of Amsterdam as a tourist playground to outsiders by redesigning the
authentic 'Amsterdam Look' (like the newly developed Dam square or the
old-fashioned lampposts along the streets).

  Amsterdam city senses:
  The image that people have of a city is not only being determined by
social causes, but also by the conscious and unconscious observations of
the senses. Also in this reality of the city we find confrontations and
entanglements that can give at times very strong impressions.

  Ideas for working with this theme.
  Sound: the pollution of sound, dying noises, the terror of the muzak and
the prohibition of music in the street.
  Sight: horizon/perspective change brought forth by the changes in your
  Image-terror: the publex boards.
  Free expression: graffiti, stickers, posters and tags..
  Adventure. The city as a jungle: urban exploration/psycho-geography

  Amsterdam city culture:
  The city as a multicultural stage is the very broad perspective of the
Amsterdam society presented also as the 'happy melting -pot'. At the same
time Amsterdam is a caricature of this stage where ethnical differences are
the main cause of being excluded.  Ideas for working with this theme.  In
the city global developments, like a victory of Galatasaray in the Uefa Cup
Finals or the occupation of Palestine by Israel, are having their influence
on the context of Amsterdam itself. In which way are global happenings
taken into this context? And how does the city shape these events?  On one
hand the multiculturalism is being desired, on the other hand everything
that's different is being rejected. For instance Nike is sponsoring the
so-called "panna" football (a sort of Streetfootbal) in Amsterdam. The
street credibility of foreign kids is being desired by Nike and therefore
being marketed this way. (the hope that these foreign kids emancipate them
from this exploitation can also be considered as a desire) In the meantime
foreign kids are being projected as" public enemy nr 1."(like Rob Oudkerks

  Amsterdam controlling everything
  The controlling of the city life is making sure that only the preferred
norms of city behavior are possible. People that don't fit up to these
norms, like bums for instance, are not wanted at certain spots, and are
being removed. Big groups of junkies are being banned from the inner city
in an attempt to 'clean it up' for tourists.  Ideas for working with this
theme.  Next to the privatization of public space resulting in the fencing
off of areas, only specific types of use of public space are being
tolerated. Several kinds of zoning, controlling the public space and its
use are happening in the city, a lot of the time driven by fear. To
illustrate this it would almost be possible to draw a little map in which
the different zones are explained: the homeless free zones, the alcohol
free zones, the violent free zones..

  Social processes of zero tolerance. Supervision and control (security
cameras, neighborhood supervisors, disciplining city furniture, etc) Forms
of repression, forbidding demonstrations, preventive arrests.

  For some time already a team of 7 people from de Vrije Ruimte (Free
Space) are preparing this exhibition. Now the time has come to attract more
people want to join this project. We would like to ask you to also give a
contribution. You could work on any of the mentioned themes or an aspect of
one of them. You're free to connect these themes or create new themes and
work on them on your own or with others. You have complete freedom in the
shape you choose for your part, though our preferences are going out too a
fine arts exhibition and we want to avoid long amounts of text.  The
Guerilla Expo is going to take plaice somewhere in September, depending
also on when we will be able to squat an appropriate location for the expo.
We are hoping to have all the individual contributions in at the end of

  De Vrije Ruimte 

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