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From Street to Stage: Hip-hop, the History of an Artification through the Example of Farid Berki

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The argument of this essay is divided into three sections. First I will attempt to lay out the social and material conditions out of which emerged hip-hop cultures in France, the loam which nourished all the artists whose work I shall discuss. Next, I will attempt to explain how a popular culture, that of the suburbs, which had its own special identity, rebellious and anti-establishment, was able to gain access to the legitimate spaces of creation and dance distribution in France. Here, I will invoke the concept of artification and the theories put forward by the theorist Roberta Shapiro. And finally, in the third part, I will attempt, using one of the most representative figures of this art, Farid Berki, as an example, to explain how this aesthetic of blending has developed and how these “author-choreographers” think about their artistic endeavors and the artistic world in which they are developed.

In the Beginning was Hip-Hop

Hip-hop first saw the light of day in the mid-1970s in New York. It was a cultural movement which, according to the sociologist Passeron, brought together definitions of the word “culture”: “a collection of works, a style of life and an ideology.”[2] It gathered a number of different artistic expressions developed around music, rap, texts, painting, tags, graffiti, dance, break dance and hip-hop. Thus, hip-hop brought together different practices traditionally separated into a relatively unified style, united in practice.

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