Nike Town

24 August–21 September 2003 / Casco HQ

In 2001, Tarik Sadouma caused a stir by changing the logo of a major Dutch supermarket chain in the word for Allah as he converted a former supermarket into a mosque. Behind the glass, which used to display products of consumer culture, Muslims now knelt before an entirely different God. What may have seemed like a contradiction, proved to be an image of complete synthesis. Shopping bags on the wall mirrored Islamic mosaics, plastic became marble, Albert Heijn (AH) became Allah. It was a simple, yet powerful response to the changing cultural reality in which co-operate identities, and no longer ideology, determine public space.  

In his new project Nike Town, Tarik Sadouma again connects two very different worlds. The 3D animation shows the metamorphosis of the sole of a Nike shoe into a visionary urban landscape. Patterns of an existing product turn into architectural models for society. Cultural, social and historical reasons for development are replaced by manufactured hyper ideals of a sneaker manufacturer. Is Nike Town a futurist town of wanna-be-winners or does it offer a much less cynical vision of the possible future?  

Nike Town poses questions concerning the cultural infiltration of major brands such as Nike (or Albert Heijn). It is not unthinkable that in the near future such companies will influence even more aspects of our lives.  

Tarik Sadouma (Amsterdam, 1979) is a graphic artist studying at the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.

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