Mediamatic, cultural appropriation and Dutch context

You know, in a country where vast sectors of the population will aggressively defend the yearly use of Black face as a national heritage and a cause of pride, I find it difficult to resist stuff like this.

“Slum Carnival”, “Freezing Favelas”, “White trash liquor factory”, photos of makeshift plastic tents… this little “art"project has all the markers of awful cultural appropriation and the perpetuation of racial and class stereotypes.  The organization behind this, Mediamatic, according to their mission statement, gets three quarter of their funding from subsidies. However, when on Twitter, I called their project "awful”, they reacted with the usual defensive agression that I have grown to accept is par of the course in this country when any criticism is leveled against institutionalized racism and/ or classism. There is no self reflection, no research as to why people might find stuff like this offensive, instead, throw deflective one liners at whoever pointed out the inappropriateness. Mediamatic, in that sense, is a true Dutch institution, oblivious to their impact in an overal cultural context and certainly uninterested in situating themselves or their projects in a non colonial mindset. After all, why abandon colonial appropriation when you can have hipster makeshift tents in the name of “art”?

For the past decade and a half I have been making all my content available for free (and never behind a paywall) as an ongoing practice of ephemeral publishing. This site is no exception. If you wish to help offset my labor costs, you can donate on Paypal or you can subscribe to Patreon where I will not be putting my posts behind a lock but you'd be helping me continue making this work available for everyone. Thank you.  Follow me on Twitter for new post updates.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to top