‘The colonial past brought me to this city, and it’s a place where I feel at home and where I move around freely. I only became much more aware of this past in recent years, even though the place itself and the journey to get there are closely linked to my parents and ancestors, and the colonial history is visibly present in the city.’
B.A.S.S. (Black Archives Sound System) (2020)
For Refresh Amsterdam, Brian Elstak has created new work inspired by his childhood sentiments: cartoons, games, hip-hop culture and comic books. B.A.S.S. is part of L.O.B.I. ARCADE, a series of artworks that deal with different themes but become a unity due to their arcade cabinet shape.
Especially for B.A.S.S., Elstak immersed himself in The Black Archives, together with DJ The Flexican, MCs RFx and DenZen. ‘The Black Archives are an archive that contains a wealth of underexposed stories worth telling,’ Elstak explains. ‘Even more so, they are crucial because they show something of the journey taken to get here. In addition, these stories also offer a new perspective on how we now view urgent issues such as social inequality, and how we navigate the city and society as children of migrants. Aside from books, stories, videos, and photo material, the archive also contains an abundance of music on vinyl and cassette tapes. The Flexican has been able to use many samples from this, and together with the MCs created a soundscape with which they pay tribute to the original musicians.’
Brian Elstak (Zaandstad, Netherlands, 1980) is a visual artist, painter and writer. His visual style references pop culture and current social affairs in a visual language that young people recognise. As a self-taught artist, Elstak often collaborates with artists and makers across disciplines.
This project is partially sponsored by