This September, Rotterdam is hosting the 13th edition of the three-day art festival De Wereld van Witte de With, presenting the best of the city’s arts and culture: visual art, architecture, theatre, dance, film and music.
Each focusing on their particular discipline, leading cultural institutions in and around the Witte de Withstraat will partner up to create an exhibition in the public space.
The festival has also invited international artists to devise extraordinary interventions aimed at inspiring people to take a fresh, new look at their environment. This year, artist collectives from Berlin have designed projects to give the city a very Berlin flavour.
The backdrop for this festival is the public space, but this year the street has been cast in an unusual role. Under the title The Street – Live ! the festival reveals that the street is far more than simply an element of urban design. It is an integral part of the city’s social and cultural fabric. The street, just as the city and its residents, is in a perpetual process of change. And, as one of the most vibrant streets of Rotterdam, with its countless galleries, museums, theatres, boutiques and bars, where better to hold this event than the Witte de Withstraat.
The Berlin artist collective raumlaborberlin has developed a ‘social sculpture’ specifically for the Witte de Withstraat: a mobile, wooden construction that transforms into a table, bar or tribune, depending on requirements and circumstances – an interactive installation that invites people to participate. Berlin architects duo Uberbau researched the history of the street and came up with a visual in the form of a timeline. They then created blow-ups of it which will be exhibited in the form of videos and illustrations on the frontages of buildings and in shop windows. Uberbau works with the Rotterdam design agency Studio Spass which created the festival’s visual identity, and has translated it into a visual language in the street itself: a sculpture garden of white signs in all shapes and sizes that flirts with the street and festival-goers.
The three artist collectives have designed interventions to encourage people to reflect on where they live and work, how the space is used and alternative ways of shaping it. Add this to projects devised by the 30 plus Rotterdam cultural organisations based around the Witte de Withstraat and you’re looking forward to a programme packed with compelling and inspiring events.
The 13th edition is curated by Lukas Feireiss (Germany, 1977), who lectures at various universities and heads the Berlin-based interdisciplinary studio Lukas Feireiss. In his work as artist, curator, writer and consultant he explores critical yet playful ways of utilising space.
De Wereld van Witte de With is also part of 24-hour culture – the opening of Rotterdam’s cultural season
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