Rotulama: creativity to fight gentrification

Rotulama: creativity to fight gentrification
Rotulama revitalizes the visual identity of small and independent shops, enabling them to thrive.

Super Eclectic (Aga Pokrywka and Humberto Duque)
Helsinki, Finland
We are Super Eclectic, a creative studio for the world we want. We turn complex topics into powerful stories that inspire hope and encourage action.
Team members
Humberto Duque
Aga Pokrywka
Field of work
Visual Art, Multimedia, Communication, Other
Project category
Project submitted

Aga Pokrywka is a multidisciplinary and fermentation wizardess. She works with design, film, sound, text and collaborative practices to weave eclectic narratives and re-tell stories that communicate diverse viewpoints of our complex reality. Aga is fascinated by how we can comprehend the unnoticed and capture it with our senses, be it microbes, celestial bodies, or systemic structures. She is the host of Ferment Radio, a podcast series on bacterial and social fermentation, and co-founder at Super Eclectic, a creative studio on a mission to inspire action on the most critical issues of our time. Aga is also a member of The Centre for the Social Study of Microbes at the University of Helsinki.

Humberto Duque´s practice includes aspects of popular culture that meet head-on with divergent elements of fiction, bringing forth issues that revolve around language, immigration, and cultural identity. For 20 years of professional career as a multidisciplinary artist, he has participated in an extensive number of international residencies, including the International Studio and Curatorial Program ISCP in New York, and CCA Kitakyushu Research Program in Japan; he has been commissioned public art projects by the Denver International Airport,in Colorado, USA; and his work has been shown at the Busan Biennale, South Korea Kunstlerhaus Bethanien, Berlin; Museo Tamayo, Mexico City; and many others. He is also co-founder of the Helsinki-based studio Super Eclectic.

Rotulama is an initiative that revitalizes the visual identity of small and independent shops, enabling them to thrive. Rotulama tackles a global issue at a local scale: it establishes a relationship with the shop owners and works collaboratively to withstand gentrification caused by economic, social and climate change factors. Rotulama takes its name from “Rótulos”. Highly popular in Mexico and Latin America, these hand-painted signs are an affordable yet original form of advertisement that expresses creativity, colorfulness, and resistance against unification and corporatization. The goal is to raise awareness of the various reasons and effects of gentrification, tell the stories behind these shops, and incite community participation. By doing research through practice, Rotulama develops a methodology to understand the implications of the problem in specific contexts, and generate viable, engaging solutions. The aim is to compile this knowledge and make it open to the public. So far, Rotulama includes itereations in Helsinki, Finland; Mexico City; Peniche, Portugal, and Taipei, Taiwan The project has  proven to be very successful in taking action aganist gentrification and raising awarness about this global issue. Rotulama has received support from Nordisk Kulturfond and Taike Arts Promotion Center Finland.
Since climate gentrification is on the rise, the future iterations of Rotulama will focus more on investigating specific cases of gentrification interlinked with this particular issue.