war on terrorism anti-extremism monoculture globalisation reduction no demonstration Neo enhanced safety precaution alert Liberalism government market economy unstable euro funshopping militainment sedation submission fragmentation alienation... (and the lijst goes on)
In Europe, the increasingly ephemeral democratic middle simultaneously has become the most unlikely choice and the only choice. Imposing unreflected controls over discrimination and differentiation alike, a security camera for every podium of the human subconscious, individual desires and fears are repressed, the extraordinary regulated to the extreme. In the personal search for the meaningful and authentic in the absolute inside, difference is neutralised to the lowest common denominator.
bombed-city scarcity world's largest port waterstad trade city the second other only international worker city of culture city of architecture deltametropolis multi-culti-moordstad Pimstad Feyenoord! Veiligheid! Turkije! generic global modern middle mediocre Manhattan on the Maas ... Rotterdam.
Superimposing the unique turbulence of this unstable schizoidentity with the force of macro, Rotterdam has become a case-study for the extreme middle. While the worker city heritage and the absence of a tradition of critical cultural discourse provides an ideal breeding ground for the global market economy, the city struggles to demonstrate a unique identity. The government’s market-oriented objectives reduce the excitement of uncertainty to dominant cliches and stereotypes such as the one-line skyline.
Identity is a story, a process-oriented narrative, not an image.
Conditioned to specialisation and simple solutions, inhabitants funshop innbetween lethargic skyscrapers as inaccessible as the insular professional frameworks which created them. This reduction of diverse knowledge and experience to analytic propositions breeds hierarchy, myopia and the distinctive feeling that “my personal story doesn’t count.” The Manhattan on the Maas makes aliens of us all.
Perhaps more than ever, from locally to globally, there is interest in exactly the question “Why Rotterdam?” The city, like it’s companies, festivals and websites, answer the questions WHAT, WHEN, WHO, WHERE but the question we start our lives as children asking, WHY, goes noticeably left unanswered. (or worse, unasked) Why is the most complex question and the most revealing.