It’s not often that the Bronx is mentioned in the same breath as Hollywood and Silicon Valley.
But an exhibit being planned to open during July of 2015 at the Smithsonian’s Lemelson Center in Washington, D.C. will pay homage to these areas and others as “hot spots” of innovation.
The borough was selected for the innovations and inventions that gave rise to hip hop music.
“The Bronx (in the 1970s) is an interesting contrast to Silicon Valley, which is kind of the stereotypical example,” Fritzsch said. “Inventors in the Bronx had a lot of hands-on skills and were able to apply that in ways that led to the creation of these innovative sound systems.”
The Smithsonian provides the following short description of the exhibit:
The Bronx in the 1970s was a paradox. Culturally rich with communities of African Americans and immigrants from Puerto Rico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic, it was also economically devastated. But it was the right environment for the invention of hip-hop. The residents’ diverse traditions influenced the sound of hip-hop, while the urban landscape provided the raw materials for its technical innovations. DJs mined the Bronx’s abandoned buildings, cars, and streets for the components they needed to craft the “best” sound system—and they made neighborhood spaces like public housing, parks, and schools their stage.
The curator elaborates in the NY Daily News:
“We wanted to show that it’s not just a single inventor who creates something, but really a community that creates the right recipe for an invention. The Bronx (in the 1970s) is an interesting contrast to Silicon Valley, which is kind of the stereotypical example. Inventors in the Bronx had a lot of hands-on skills and were able to apply that in ways that led to the creation of these innovative sound systems.”
The exhibit will also honor pioneers of the culture. Grandmaster Flash, DJ Kool Herc and Grand Wizzard Theodore will all be highlighted. Flash will be honored for the crossfader, Herc for his use of Jamaican sound systems and Theodore for scratching.
Aside from pioneers, the exhibit will also feature important historical pieces. Visitors can expect to find Hip Hop posters, video clips and boomboxes. Visitors will also be able to see vinyl records and they’ll even have an opportunity to scratch and mix.
For an overview of the Places of Invention Exhibit CLICK HERE.