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The following is a manifesto, in search of a movement... In it, I am proposing a theory of architecture based around a ruffneck, antisocial, hip-hop, rudeboy ethos. [1]– Kara Walker In her companion publication to the 2014 group exhibition “Ruffneck Constructivists,” the show’s curator, Kara Walker, lays down a radical manifesto for urban intervention. Just months before Ferguson [2] and a year before Baltimore, [3] Walker proposes her theory through which installation artists (along with architects and designers by extension) can become “defiant shapers of environments.” [4] The invocation and juxtaposition of the terms hip-hop and architecture in the intro to her manifesto is particularly remarkable given the show’s exclusive assembly of visual and installation artists. Hip-hop architectural theory seeks to reify a form of expression that is a natural component of any cultural movement, but was largely inaccessible to teenaged Blacks and Latinos in 1970s South Bronx. As illustrated in my first essay on the subject, “[e]ach major cultural shift in Western society—Renaissance, Baroque, Modernism—has had its register in a plurality of creative outlets: theater, music, dance, fine art, and architecture. The first four art forms find their counterparts in the ‘four pillars of hip-hop’: deejaying, emceeing, b-boying, and graffiti writing. Architecture is lost.” [5] View more View full description
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