For all intensive purposes rap is considered to be the most 'urban' music. This is not to say anything else besides the fact that it is almost always related to the urban environment, and addresses urban issues, some more serious then others. At the most 'superficial' level artist often use the city for the complete theme of tracks. That overarching theme is the purpose of this post. Not to analyse or critique the competence or validity of individual artists, or the genre as a whole.
On this most basic level a lot can be learned about perceptions of what it means to be urban by understanding the art that is produced there. In the past some rock artist have used the city as a back drops for songs, think 'House of the Rising Sun', but no genre, rock included, address the city in the same way that rap does. I am not going to speculate exactly why this is as I am not a rapper and not a part of the rap scene by any means besides the fact that I listen to it.
What I can say is that at the least, this aspect of Rap is one of its most interesting traits. Below are a few videos that address this issue. From talking about city pride, discussions of crime, discussions of possibilities, to simply using the city as imagery to designate a place of belonging. Take a look at these extremely diverse videos. I can only imaging how some of the architects of the structures seen in these videos would react to their works being portrayed in this way. At the least I would hope that they would be interested to know they are the symbols of these great cities. (NSFW)
Tobias Battenberg set out with a projector and a selection of letters from the font, Akzidenz Grotesk, an inspiration for some of the more famous fonts such as Helvetica and Univers.
Tobias projected, from street level, letters upon buildings and pieces of infrastructure with some very beautiful results. In projects such as these I would argue that the photographs of the process are as important a final result as the actual experience of being there. Take that with a grain of salt as it happens to be coming from a photographer here.
Have a look at the project, though the description of the project is in German, using google chrome or a translator you can get a better idea of what he had in mind.
A Swiss artist, Felice Varini has recently been brought to my attention. I had seen his pieces in photograph form in the past and had never been given his name. After looking through his website, which happens to be in french, and finding some great video showing dynamics of the project, I thought I should share it with you all here.
Take a look at this photo of a whole neighborhood he did here:
The video showing just how these work, seen by pedestrians and only clearly visible as a perfect whole from a single perspective.
Using conventional photography and creative photoshoping, Francesco Sambo has been able to create an interestingly strange array of creatures.
Though each different, they all convey a similar emotional feel to the viewer while retaining a strong animalistic quality. Each has a unique personality and I feel that the poses from image to image fit each animal to a 'T'.
A fellow UWM Arch Alum produced this beautiful film chronicling urban spaces in Chicago this summer. It is a beautiful example of all of the things that you can only see in the city.
From the crowded city beach, the crowds welcoming a winning team (Blackhawks Stanely Cup Parade in the opening sequence), to little kids playing in Crown Fountain (00:47) there is one thing that permeates what it means to be urban, People.
Full Screen This.