Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Event : Urban Play : Droog Design

The IJ-Riverfront in Amsterdam became the creative turf of international artists and designers exploring the intersection of art and the urban landscape. Urban Play is a project by Droog Design and was presented as a component of ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008. The exhibition was created and curated by creative strategist Scott Burnham.

"The Urban Play exhibition provides a global overview of urban design interventions done outside of the formal channels of institutions, commissions and urban planning in cities around the world. Some refer to it as guerrilla design or “3D Graffiti”, but this surge of urban creativity – from billboards that are visually remixed, to streetscapes which are morphed into theatrical areas in the middle of the night – is where creative expression in the city becomes physical, literally transforming cities around the world."
(Scott Burnham, www.scottburnham.com)

Urban Play explores the interactive domain of art, design and environment at the pedestrian level. The exhibition encourages public interaction and marks a notable change in the presence of art and play in urban environment as well as a shift in the perception of public space and infrastructure. Artists and designers working in 3 dimensions are doing here what graffiti artists have been doing for decades; marking territory and injecting their creative will into the channels of the urban infrastructure. "Done without permission or commissions, the vast range of work on display represents the intersection of the latest genre of street art and the beginnings of open source urban design." (Scott Burnham, www.scottburnham.com)

The concept of open source urban design reflects that of contemporary programming and software development. An open source model is a development methodology that allows access to and the manipulation of a system of information and its inherent infrastructure. It is typically applied in the field of computer programming. The implications of applying this concept to urban design remain to be fully expressed through this exhibition. However, it hints at a public reclamation of control in the decision making and development processes for the urban landscape as well as its phenotypic expression.

Allowing open manipulation of interstitial space and the related public infrastructure found among the urban landscape surely opens the door for criticism as well as possibility. But one thing is certain, this concept presents a vast field for practice, research and discussion. I expect the coming generations will see artists, planners, architects, and all around citizens becoming more involved with their environment as the pendulum sways between homogeneity and the draw of diversity within the evolving urban ecology.

Artists as artists, as well as those playing the role of scientist, designer, and architect have explored the regions of commonly unknown patterns and chaotic behavior to share with the masses new and innovative modes of expression. These changes in the commonly applied and accepted motifs of urban design enrich the pedestrian experience. Urban Play is a project intended to explore the next phase of urban art, it exhibits the surge of unofficial 3d work in the infrastructure of our cities. We have the artists of the street to thank for the emergence of such expression as well as creative thinkers like Scott Burnham who see the potential in their application and work to broaden their acceptance.


Urban Play:

Exhibiting Artists:
  • Arno Piroud
  • CutUp Collective
  • Gilberto Esparza
  • Graffiti Research Lab
  • Jason Eppink
  • Ji Lee
  • Joshua Allen Harris
  • Leon Reid IV
  • Mark Jenkins
  • Office for Subversive Architecture
  • Posterchild
  • Rebar
  • Roadsworth
  • SpY
  • TheGreenEyl
  • Till Bay (Windowzoo)
  • Truthtag
  • You are Beautiful

For more:
Urban Play
Droog Design Amsterdam
ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008
Scott Burnham

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