Curated by Letice Braun
In recent weeks, Dutch stereotypical meme’s Instagram-accounts have sprung up like mushrooms in a field. The concept is simple, an anonymous creator sets up an Instagram-account, uses the same image every time and writes a stereotypical text that reflects the character of the page. It all started with the page ‘Garnalo’ or ‘Shrimp’ who is a typical upcoming Dutch hip-hop artist. The account has already reached 24k followers as a result of which dozens of other accounts have sprung up that post in the same visual, vivid and satirical manner.
There’s 'Girl van de chakras’ who sets good intentions, lives by the moon calendar and sages her house. ‘Doezoepoot’, is the freelance creative junky that works in a sector with a limited budget and has difficulties killing darlings. ‘Slof Adididas’ the relaxed Caribbean type with Addidas sliders. ‘Ria Rookworst’ is the Dutch woman that decorates her house with live-laugh-love signs and lives for sensational news. ‘Backstagebandje’ the friend of the tour manager that has access to all backstage passes’ and likes to brag about it. ‘Schoudertassie’ the naïve girly girl that thinks everything is so accurate. And the city boy ‘T-shirt met goudenketting’ has commitment issues.
This movement reminds me of stand-up comedy, both humorous and confronting. A mirror that confronts us with our stereotypical views. I find the visual aspect of this movement even more interesting. The contemporary objects used, have transformed into symbols that have now gained a new definition. The popularity of these accounts triggers a lot of emotions; people engage heavily with this content, they experience a sense of recognition and therefore have a strong desire to share it with their friends. An interesting development, that highlights our overgeneralized beliefs about particular groups of people.
This movement also reminds me of another interesting project I saw a couple of years ago: the visual-series Exactitudes by Dutch stylist Ellie Uytenbroek & photographer Ari Versluis.
They started this project in 1994 on the streets of Rotterdam. It is a visual record of more than three thousand neatly differentiated social types gathered over a period of 20 years. This overarching and on-going project portraysed individuals that share a set of defining visual characteristics that, according to the research of these artists, identify specific social types: Gabbers, Glamboths, Mohawks, Rockers or The Girls from Ipanema. In 20 years Ellie and Ari have gathered specific dress codes, behaviours or attitudes that, in their opinion, belong and characterise typical urban tribes or sub-cultures.
I remember feeling exposed when I came across the Exactitudes project 8 years ago. It made me question the authenticity of our individual identities and today, after geeking out on this new Instagram movement I am having kind of a déjà-vu moment.
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