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Welcome to The Impossible Black Tulip



Long nights of building, enough stress to last a lifetime and several litres of blood, sweat and tears culminated in this year’s festival exhibition, titled “The Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography”. Last Thursday, the white cube turned building site turned unique art experience saw the light of day for the first time. In the presence of festival curators Cher Potter and Samantha Culp a great number of No More Western media art enthusiasts got the chance to get an early start to this years Impakt Festival.

As the curators described their first impression of the empty room that was the CBKU before Impakt took over, ‘This space is huge”. But simply putting the works up on the walls would of course be too easy. Together with the extraordinary Bass Beek (also in charge of the production of the Impakt festival, so you know it’s good) they transformed the exhibition space into something that has already compared to a real tulip or something that came flying out of a Star Wars movie. “The Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography” consists of maze-like corridors and spaces within spaces, surrounding a serenely white central oval room. Around every corner awaits another unique space filled with surprises, allowing visitors to wander from futuristic fantasies to critical realities from all around the world.

Within the exhibition, each room is designed solely to fit the works displayed in it. The completely blackened space in the back for example, displaying the two-channel video installation by Apitchatpong Weerasethakul, makes for a greatly immersive experience, whereas the design of the central oval complements the clean aesthetic of the works displayed there by Chinese artist Lu Yang and the Russian artist collective AES+F.

After the introductory talks and rounds of applause everybody got the chance to experience ‘The ‘Black Tulip’ themselves. Diving into this media art wonderland the audience encountered works ranging from drawings to installations to photography, not to mention the game section of the exhibition, where many a visitor was found, mouse-in-hand, eyes focussed on the screen. Getting lost was never this much fun.

With tunes played from vinyl by the amazing D.V. Grammafoon and drinks provided by Bombay Sapphire the festive opening smoothly turned into a party, which continued long after the doors to the CBKU closed.

Curious? Come and lose yourself at Plompetorengracht 4. Who knows, you might run into a curator or two and get a private tour of “the Impossible Black Tulip”.

The Impossible Black Tulip of Cartography, 11 – 28 October 2012 @ CKBU

Photo credit: Pieter Kers