All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts – Shakespeare (As you like it)
On the streets of the Metropolis players come and go many faceless and too often invisible. These characters enter and exit the metropolis with all its allure; its buzz and dynamism and the opportunity for gain whether by graft, brain or brawn. The reality though, of survival, and its endless force in stripping away what moralities many of “the transplants” bring to the city is inescapable. The inescapability of survival transforms the unwary cast of “transplants” into functional agents who invent solutions to the problems they face and in so doing create archetypes out of their characters. These characters in turn, manifest their own burden on the city. Often we cast these players together only able to see the burden their success has manifested – for quickly the word spreads up the hinterland that there is gold to be found on the streets of the Metropolis as an “Okada rider” or “Water Peddler” and before we know it, unique solutions are turned into unique problems. “Icons of a Metropolis” offers a non-judgmental look at 20 character archetypes – they are the ICONS. They are a creative force, a self-organizing and self-referential manifestation of the zenith of urban survival. The ICONs add colour, help to reflect our consciences, test our moral compasses and above all offer signals to the fragile points of the rapidly expanding ecosystem of a megacity. In their guise as evolutionary change agents they can be considered as the city planner’s guide or muse and as such are living mentors on the design requirements for mega cities. One can ask if these icons fulfill a need created by vacuous institutions or whether they are just a manifestation of the rapid growth dynamic of the Metropolis. Either way the vacuum exists; the conditions for creative destruction are met and our ICONs thrive. These characters are a creative force to be celebrated, for they transform life, fulfill needs, grease the wheels that turn mega city living into a unique blend of stage play (with all its genres) and self-purposed choreographed dance. It is this stage play and dance that the artworks presented here aim to heighten.