[PHOTO ESSAY] A black and white mural in a changing part of the city

in photography •  19 days ago 


I always fall for street art. In my city, Rotterdam, street art is an accepted art form, as our local government hires all kinds of graffiti artists to decorate those parts of the city that are temporary under construction, or that need some overall addition of joyful elements.

This is super cool, because there's always quality stuff to find if you look for it - the downside is the works are not created spontaneously which kind of defeats the purpose, which to me is: walking through a well-known neighbourhood one day and being surprised by a new awesome piece by your favourite artist.


Anyway, the piece I show here today is done in a part of the city that's going to undergo some huge changes in the near future: old buildings will be torn down to be replaced by skyscrapers (although we're not Dubai, so they'll not be that high) with square meter prices that are unaffordable for the average people.

Certainly this is a shame as Rotterdam used to be a real 'workers' city but now it's getting more and more attractive to fancy people (who work less and spend more) so it's changing the city a lot - sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. (I mean, come on, I love my snobby hipster coffee shops as they always make their coffee as I like it. Top notch beans, fresh grind, perfect dripping methods and top notch foam. So I'm part-guilty of funding these changes in the city.)


As seen from the direction I was walking in.


Looking back from the end of the wall.

The two shots above show the length of the mural, in some pretty light, which is why I documented it now and not 4 weeks ago when I first saw it in harsh daylight. It's pretty cool and impressive and every part of the mural shows a different story with what I assumed to be references to labs and experimentation and maybe work in general as a lot has been taken place in this part of the city in the past.

After looking up the piece online I found a Dutch explanation of the piece on their website which I'll translate in English:

"The building used to be the home of the 'KvW' (Food Inspection Service), but after the nationalisation of this company, the building fell into disuse, until a number of creative companies settled in the building one year on an articulate basis. The design provides a futuristic view of the KvW and its laboratories and experiments. The researchers, half man, half robot investigate all kinds of strange objects, animals and organisms. During a walk around the building, the viewer is taken along the various stages of experiments."



The mural continues around the corner where it ends in less story, more abstract art. I actually love that it's all in black and white as that's my sweet spot for graphical art: you can never use a high enough contrast in graphical work, so why not go for the highest contrast possible immediately?

Just one more random note: There were birds half-way the mural. Before I looked up what the piece was about I found they were looking angry and entangled, and not sure what they were symbolizing, I looked for an explanation in the evolving neighbourhood this piece was made in. "Maybe they don't particularly like that this really authentic part of the city will be replaced by concrete and glass towers leaving no trace of the past?", is what I thought.

I certainly will miss it. Polished isn't always better.


For more photography posts, including photo essays on street art and other topics, check out my photo portfolio on steempeak.com. Of all the things I've done on Steem it's pretty clear my photo stories, smaller and bigger ones, did find a lovely home.

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We have a LOT of street art and graffiti art around here too. It is a visual voice for the character of a place and it's people. Like a unique signature or a personalised wax stamp. No doubt the artists will happily decorate the new developments too.

Silver linings... xxx

HA! Would be pretty interesting to see those fancy buildings being decorated in the first week or so :-) But yes, I definitely love the unique signature of street art - Lisbon is a great city for finding street art, as is Brooklyn, NYC. I'll have to put Cape Town on my list of places to go to, which was the idea anyway :-)

Ha!! For sure. The wine will be ready and waiting! 😎👌😁

Wh00p! South African wine! :D

Oh you now it! :D Best in the world!

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Wow! It looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing the photos and the explanations you found regarding the mural. The fact that is in B&W makes it stand out even more!

Thank YOU for commenting! :D Glad we're reconnecting again over street art - hope you're well @lymepoet!

The artist put an interesting meaning into the drawings. You can fantasize. Previously, the first people did cave paintings. They reflected their life in them. Now our generation makes the same "cave paintings" on the walls :) Telling your story.

This is STUNNING. Graffiti adds to the character of a city. Melbourne is known for it too - it has a lane in the CBD where graffiti is in layers on layers and tourists come to take photos. A few hipster suburbs have amazing graff... on tall buildings, on warehouse walls (many converted into cool housing), down lanes... its just beautiful. Oh, and Melbourne is also amazing for perfect coffee. We pride ourselves on it. My son lives in Melbourne and was mortified when he got to London and struggled to find a decent coffee haha. Twas such a culture shock to him.

Loved this graffiti art, thanks for sharing.

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I have read bits and pieces of the Netherlands being a core place of unusual and unwanted current and futuristic direction of man and AI. Do you find that too?

If you have an article for me to read I'd be curious to see it! :D

Hey @willowwisp, I'm not aware of that so far, especially not that we're the 'core place' for that happening, but we have two very experimental and high-qualified Technical Universities where lots of experimentation might take place as we speak. So overall we're definitely often frontrunners when it comes to stuff we currently deem 'futuristic', like cars running on solar energy and stuff like that :-)

There's a lot of click-bait out there. I try and not connect with most of it unless I have time to check it out. Look where man is today...I'm looking forward to the future and I'm sure tech will be both good and bad because that's just they way everything life changing and important is.

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