TIGER, CHEETAH, CLOUDED LEOPARD AND LEOPARD BLOCK
For Predator Blocks, the transformer units belonging to four high-rise apartment buildings in Amsterdam Zuidoost were reshaped and appointed with new surfaces. The small electricity units (each 6m x 6m and 4m high) were covered with high pressure laminate boards (HPL,1 cm thick), the surface featured high-resolution photographs of different fur patterns of four cats of prey. The furs were digitally adjusted in order to create a seamless pattern on the block structures.
The Predator Blocks are located in 'de Bijlmer' a recently urbanized area in the outskirts of Amsterdam. Designed and built in the 1970's and 80's, this area has an uncanny uniformity with nearly identical high-rise buildings throughout. Today, the area is home to approximately 100,000 people from over 150 nationalities, and like other similar suburbs of European metropolises, the Bijlmer struggles with corresponding social problems. In spite of the ongoing modification and further development of the area, it is still fighting with its reputation as a social troubled area. Here lies one of the obvious connections to the installation Predator Blocks. The project plays with one of the common clichés that uses the metaphor of a “jungle” to describe dangerous urban areas. At the same time however, the high quality resolution prints, which show every hair of the elegant furs could just as easily be a marketing campaign for a boutique on a chic shopping street that can be found in the heart of Amsterdam. The project plays with this cliché of the urban jungle, while also creating a spatial dislocation, and hints at the social meanings that are associated with wearing or using different types of tiger and leopard skins.
In volume, one of the Predator Blocks is roughly equivalent in size as a living room in one of the tower block’s apartments. In this way, the project further comments on the mentality and attitude regarding architecture and how it manifests and is used within communities.
The project was produced in 2008 as a commission from the building society De Key in collaboration with the Amsterdam Foundation for Art, for the so called 'K -towers' (Kralenbeek, Kempering, Klieverink and Kouwenoord) sited on Karspeldreef in Amsterdam Zuidoost (The Netherlands).
photography: Jurgen Huiskes, Stephanie Kratz, Helmut Dick