MEDIAMATIC BANK - AMSTERDAM
UNTIL 24 OCTOBER 2010

Mediamatic is making the first Arabic travel guide to The Netherlands

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 is mapping Noord. The result will be the first Arabic travel guide to The Netherlands, launched on September 4 at Mediamatic Bank.

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 conflict area.

And a conglomerate like Noord deserves a motley crew of researchers. Mediamatic has invited a handful of 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’ll spend the summer researching the visible and invisble aspects of Noord. The travel guide will combine the results of their research, along with practical information about the peripheral borough. A subjective guide to a unique location.

The travel guide will be launched on September 4, and will be accompanied by an exhibition showcasing the artists’ work.

Participating artists: Ahmed Kamel, Ayman Ramadan, Engy Aly, Foundland, Ganzeer, Golfstromen, Kareem Lotfi, Khajag Apelian, Kivanc Ince, Lara Balaa, Lynn Amhaz, Mahmoud Hamdy, Malek Helmy, Melle Smets, Osama Dawod, Sarah van Sonsbeeck, Theo Deutinger, Tunc Topcuoglu and Wietske Maas. More information about the artists and the Noord project: www.mediamatic.net/noord.