New Neapolis: Gyz La Rivière turns film and exhibition into a passionate manifesto
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New Neapolis: Gyz La Rivière turns film and exhibition into a passionate manifesto
Gyz La Rivière, New Neapolis. Film still, 2020 (Marseille). Camera David Spaans.

ROTTERDAM.- On Friday 24 January, New Neapolis (Greek for ‘new city’), the new film by artist and city philosopher Gyz La Rivière, premiered during IFFR’s Rotterdam Day and at TENT. New Neapolis is the long-awaited successor to Rotterdam 2040 (2013), La Rivière’s formidable audio-visual tour-de-force outlining his imagined future for Rotterdam.

New Neapolis is a declaration of love to a fictional European city that can arise when four port cities – Rotterdam, Liverpool, Naples and Marseille – forge an alliance. The inimitable logic La Rivière applies to his docufiction manifests connections these cities have always shared – with their sailortowns, quays and alleyways; migrants, workers and rascals; poverty, friction and vibrant informal economies; and the frantic attempts to cleanse all of this through urban renewal, gentrification and lots of soap. What can we learn from such an urban alliance? What forms of kinship and solidarity for a future Europe can arise here? Welcome to New Neapolis, divercity.

Found footage – film as a model for the future
In a 105-minute film – an awe-inspiring vortex of found and on-location footage, brought to life with typical Gyzian commentary – La Rivière demonstrates how we can distil an inspiring model for the future, based on the struggles and affinities these four port cities share. New Neapolis is thus not only a reflection on the common culture of port cities, but also on Europe. The film makes an astute and witty plea for less nationalism and more collectivism: tackling metropolitan squabbling together, using the quay as a metaphor for connection.

Exhibition full of readymade objects
At TENT, La Rivière stages an exhibition with elements from his docufiction. The artist constructs walls of Sunlight soap bars and packs of coffee, as symbols of the mass of merchandise port cities process and the scent of hygiene, urban renewal and gentrification. In and around these walls, visitors can discover an associative collection of historical objects, models and miniatures – special objects loaned from Museum Rotterdam and Het Nieuwe Instituut – that have fed La Rivière’s reflections on a fellowship of port cities.

Partnership with IFFR, Museum Rotterdam and WORM
New Neapolis is a collaboration with Museum Rotterdam, WORM and the International Film Festival Rotterdam. The film premiered during IFFR’s Rotterdam day. Parallel to the exhibition, WORM presents a concert programme featuring artists from Rotterdam, Liverpool, Naples and Marseille. Museum Rotterdam – a partner in this project’s development and production – generously made its collection available for the exhibition. Museum Rotterdam also connects ‘New Neapolis’ to the European research project ‘Pleasurescapes’ to hold a debate on the culture of port cities as transnational microcosms.

Gyz La Rivière (Rotterdam, 1976) studied at the Willem de Kooning Academy and is an artist, filmmaker, writer and performer. He approaches his work as an idiosyncratic image archivist, combining the images he creates with in-depth archival research, objects he finds on the street or loans from collections, infographics, logos, icons and stories. The dazzling Gyzian universe he forges from these diverse sources sharpens our view of the world around us in unexpected ways.

The film New Neapolis is made possible by the Creative Industries Fund NL, CBK Rotterdam, Museum Rotterdam, J.E. Jurriaanse Foundation, Van Eesteren-Fluck & Van Lohuizen Foundation, Municipality of Rotterdam, Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision, Rotterdam City Archives and the Nederlands Fotomuseum.

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