“Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture” Exhibition

The Center for Architecture

poster for “Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture” Exhibition

This event has ended.

“Don’t push me ‘cause I’m close to the edge.
I’m trying not to loose my head.
It’s like a jungle sometimes it makes me wonder
why I keep from going under”
- from “The Message,” Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five

The Center for Architecture presents Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture. The exhibition, curated and designed by Sekou Cooke of the Syracuse University School of Architecture with graphic design by WeShouldDoItAll (WSDIA) and graffiti by David CHINO Villorente, exhibits the work of 21 practitioners, academics, and students at the center of this emerging architectural movement.

“We are excited to debut the first extensive exhibition on Hip-Hop Architecture,” said AIANY and Center for Architecture Executive Director Benjamin Prosky, Assoc. AIA. “Since Sekou first gave a lecture on the topic at the Center for Architecture in January 2016, we have wanted to offer our audiences the opportunity to learn more.”

Hip-Hop Architecture embodies the collective creative energies of one of the dominant cultural movements of our time. Hip-Hop Architecture’s ideals have primarily been tested by a loosely organized group of pioneering individuals, each using hip-hop as a lens through which to provoke and evoke architectural form. Over the last five decades, hip-hop’s primary means of expression—deejaying, emceeing, b-boying, and graffiti—have become globally recognized creative practices, and each has significantly impacted the urban built environment.

Close to the Edge: The Birth of Hip-Hop Architecture exhibits the work of these pioneers at the center of this emerging architectural revolution. It includes work by 21 participants representing five countries, with projects ranging across a variety of media and forms of expression: from experimental visualization formats and installation strategies to façade studies, building designs, and urban development proposals.

“Hip-Hop Architecture is as hard to pin down as it is vibrantly challenging and relevant to consider,” said Center for Architecture board president Barry Bergdoll, Hon. AIANY. “The assembly of practices brought together here could not be more timely in directing energy towards conversations we urgently need to advance.”

Pioneering Graffiti artist David CHINO Villorente will provide the first layer of intervention for the Center for Architecture’s main gallery, with full-scale murals and tags on the interior walls. The next layer is a repurposed 40-foot shipping container sliced into sections and hung on the gallery walls, partially covering the graffiti below. “Shipping containers have represented creative reuse and appropriation for architects over the last several years,” says Cooke. “Since repurposing, sampling, and appropriations are dominant themes within hip-hop, many Hip-Hop Architecture projects use them as a starting point. For the exhibition, this shipping container becomes a three-dimensional ‘tag’ on top of the already graffitied wall surface.”

Layering as a process continues throughout the show with vinyl lettering, paper labels, paint-pen tags and arrows (by CHINO), wheat-pasted posters, and name tag stickers. A grid of framed images and drawings from the exhibition’s many participants forms the final layer of intervention to the main gallery. “This is the only color used in the show,” Cooke explains, “leaving everything else black, white, or gray. WSDIA and I believe this will bring more focus and attention to the main content of a very dense show.”

“I Know You Seen Me on Your Videos,” a multi-screen video collage of lectures, music videos, and other footage of events relevant to Hip-Hop Architecture, completes the content in the main gallery. The exhibition continues in the lower gallery with “On Form,” a series of 3D printed models presented as blank formal objects divorced from their contexts; “B-Sides,” a series of images and statements about other architectural movements related to Hip-Hop Architecture; and “Black Noise,” an audio booth used for listening to additional lectures, interviews, and clips from architecturally inspired rap music. According to Cooke, “the entire experience will be sensorially stimulating, highlighting the totality of Hip-Hop Architectural space.”



from October 01, 2018 to January 12, 2019

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