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The Universal Hip Hop Museum teams up with MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality and Microsoft for the "[R]Evolution of Hip Hop" at Bronx Terminal Market

The Universal Hip Hop Museum is excited to announce their collaboration with MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality and Microsoft for the launch of the [R]Evolution of Hip Hop Breakbeat Narratives, an interactive experience that will be housed at Bronx Terminal Market beginning December 6, up until the inception of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, breaking ground in 2020 and opening in 2023 at Bronx Point.

Rocky Bucano, executive director of the Universal Hip Hop Museum, made the official announcement of the exhibition at Bronx Terminal Market’s annual “Winter Wonderland” on Tuesday evening. “We are thrilled to partner with the generous team at Related Companies and Bronx Terminal Market to bring the Universal Hip Hop Museum to life at this marquee location. Kurtis Blow, LL Cool J and I first walked the space with Karen Auster, founder and CEO of Auster Agency, who brokered the partnership, just a few short months ago and we instantly knew it was the perfect space for our inaugural exhibition.”

Avi Kollenscher, senior vice president of Related Companies, echoed these sentiments when he exclaimed, “The Universal Hip Hop Museum’s mission to celebrate and preserve the local and global history and future of hip hop music not only honors The Bronx and its role in the history of music, but it helps to further establish the area as a thriving community.”

Bronx Terminal Market dates back to 1935 and is a vibrant mix of modern architecture, diverse shopping and colorful history—making it the perfect home for the [R]Evolution of Hip Hop. The exhibition will take museum-goers on an interactive journey through hip hop history from the 1970s to the present. However, not everyone will experience the centerpiece installation in the same way. Using artificial intelligence technologies, artists and computer scientists have created layered, personalized virtual experiences. Museumgoers will be greeted by novel characters called The Elementals, named after the 5 elements of hip hop (MCing, DJing, breakdancing, graffiti art and knowledge) that guide users and ask key questions—“What is your favorite hip hop song?” or “Which from this pair of lyrics do you like the most?”—and based on those answers, are taken through a personalized narrative of hip hop history. Through these conversations with the characters they encounter, users can explore broad social issues surrounding hip hop, such as gender, fashion and location. At the end of their journey, they can take home a personalized playlist of songs with them. 

“Hip hop is much more than a musical genre. It is a global phenomenon with a rich history and massive social and cultural impact,” said Dr. D. Fox Harrell, professor of digital media and artificial intelligence and director of the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality, where he designs virtual technologies to stimulate creative expression, cultural analysis and positive social change. “This work fits into our endeavor called the Narrative, Orality and Improvisation Research (NOIR) Initiative that uses AI technologies to forward the art forms of diverse global cultures. We designed the Breakbeat Narratives installation integrating Microsoft AI technologies into our novel interactive narrative software with that global impact in mind. We wanted to tell stories that pushed beyond stereotypical representations, digging into the complexities of both empowering and problematic representations that often coexist. We also wanted to acknowledge the very local history based on hip hop’s roots in the Bronx.” 

“As an educational center, the Universal Hip Hop Museum has the power to connect people to broader social issues in the surrounding community,” Harrell added. “It is also a place for people to connect to hip hop’s heritage and legacy as an important culture of the African diaspora. Now, people internationally can have a stake in this great art.”

A private VIP and press preview will be held on Monday, December 2. The official opening of [R]Evolution of Hip Hop is Friday, December 6 and will be free during its duration at Bronx Terminal Market. Family and community-inclusive, the exhibition will allow local residents and tourists to New York City to get a sneak preview of the future Universal Hip Hop Museum.

Keep up with all things UHHM by visiting our website, www.uhhm.org, and follow us on social media @uhhmuseum.

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About The Universal Hip Hop Museum:
Anchored in the birthplace of hip hop culture, the Universal Hip Hop Museum will break ground in the Bronx in 2020. Built as a space for audiences, artists and technology to converge and create unparalleled educational and entertainment experiences, the museum is slated to open in Bronx Point in 2023. The UHHM will celebrate and preserve the history of local and global hip hop music and culture past, present and future.

About The MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality:
The MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality pioneers innovative experiences using virtual reality, artificial intelligence and other computing systems that may be used to construct imaginative experiences atop our physical world. The Center’s approach to engineering and creative practices pushes the expressive potential of these technologies to simulate social and cognitive phenomena, while intrinsically considering their social and cultural impacts. The Center supports both creative projects and research endeavors. Learn more at virtuality.mit.edu.

About TunesMap Educational Foundation:
Provided by the TunesMap Educational Foundation, TunesMap is a music visualization platform that has been deployed in the Breakbeat Narratives. The TunesMap Educational Foundation broadens TunesMap's robust cultural network to satisfy curious minds beyond the home. Learn more at www.tunesmap.com/tef.

About Microsoft:
Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” / @microsoft) enables digital transformation for the era of an intelligent cloud and an intelligent edge. Its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

About Bronx Terminal Market:
Bronx Terminal Market is committed to the well-being of the local community, providing resources and programming to the greater Bronx area and proudly serving as a dynamic shopping destination, including Applebee’s, The Home Depot, Target, BJ’s Wholesale Club, Best Buy, Burlington, Bed Bath & Beyond, Mariscos Centro, Marshalls, Michaels, Sprint and more. Bronx Terminal Market is located at 610 Exterior Street, Bronx NY 10451 and is accessible by public transportation on the Bx13 bus service, the 4,5,1 and 3 trains from 149th Street and Grand Concourse, B and D trains at 161 Street or Exit 4 and 5 off the Major Deegan Expressway.

CONTACTS:
Universal Hip Hop Museum: 
Decota Letman 
[email protected]

MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality:
Suzanne Day
617.253.2130
[email protected]
Please direct all D. Fox Harrell, Ph.D., director of the MIT Center for Advanced Virtuality, inquiries to Suzanne Day

Microsoft - We Are Listen:
Sarah Bronilla
[email protected]

Related Companies:
212.801.1109
[email protected]