Let’s Talk: 30 Days at The SpreeFeld

Let’s Talk: 30 Days at The SpreeFeld

Let’s Talk: 30 Days at The SpreeFeld Let’s Talk: 30 Days At The Spreefeld was presented in Berlin, in the context of my participation in NINE URBAN BIOTOPES,  the South African/European artists’ residency and exchange project. Between July and September 2014, I  worked in Berlin in relation to the projects and immediate neighbourhood of an organisation called id22: Institute for Creative Sustainability. For 30 days I wheeled my “Let’s Talk” trolley – my mobile “SpreeLab” – around the neighbourhood surrounding the 3 newly erected, barrier-free, 8-storey buildings of the Spreefeld Co-operative housing project, situated, as it is, upon the scars of the old division between East and West, in the heart of a controversially, but nonetheless rapidly, gentrifying neighborhood on the banks of the River Spree. Read More Most days I set up my kitchen table for 3 to 4 hours at a time,  in the middle of the many public paths that run through and towards the Co-operative.  I asked strangers to talk to me. I offered them tea. And then I asked them to satisfy my curiosity about their origins, their occupation, and what they were doing on this particular spot at that moment. My presentation of this process represented a selection of these many conversations, (and it ‘s noteworthy to mention that in this time, I didn’t meet one single person who was originally from Berlin). The exhibition comprised a short stop-animation movie (see below), and a series of portrait photographs and their linked narrative texts that was installed into a perfectly intact former GDR river police boathouse right in the middle of the square kilometer within which I’d been roaming. During...
Nine Urban Biotopes

Nine Urban Biotopes

Nine Urban Biotopes: Negotiating the Future of Urban Living Nine Urban Biotopes (9UB) was initiated by the Berlin-based arts organisation Urban Dialogues. Directed by Stefan Horn, and with partners in London, Paris, Turin, Berlin, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town, this  project aimed to generate a trans-local dialogue on  the future of urban living. I was part of the South African research and curatorial team during the 2013 planning stages,  and worked on the project’s South African co-ordination and implementation as it rolled out in different European and South African cities between January and September of 2014. Read More Nine artists were parachuted into innovative and best-practice local initiatives in each city, by means of nine  (3 x 3 ) integrated residency programmes (3 projects ran concurrently for 3 months each ). The European artists who came to work in South African Cities included Armin Linke, Antje Schiffers, Marjetica Potrc and Anthony Schrag. The South African artists who went to work in European cities included Athi-Patra Ruga, Dan Halter, Tazwald Pillay, Ra Hlasane and myself. Each artist and residency projects’ research, process and final presentations were documented as they went along, and made visible on a comprehensive web-based communication platform,  and finally exhibited in September 2014, in an innovative dialogical exhibition in Berlin, designed by the innovative team Stephan Schwarz and Ingrid Sabbatier of ISSSresearch&architecture. From July through September,  I morphed from an administrative role into one of the project artists, and took up a 3 month artist’s residency in Berlin, designing and producing a new project, Let’s Talk: 30 Days At The Spreefeld, in relation to the work and physical location of  the organisation id22:...
Sharp, sharp Johannesburg

Sharp, sharp Johannesburg

sharp, sharp Johannesburg La Gaîté Lyrique is a new Museum in Paris focused on Digital Cultures and Contemporary Music. Digital artist Tegan Bristow and I were invited to set up a new, live, and interactive iteration of the Johannesburg based Hotel Yeoville Project as part of the “sharp, sharp Johannesburg” show that ran for October/November 2013 . Guylain Melki, signwriter/artist (originally from Kinshasa) was the 3rd member of our Joburg-based creative  team. The  Paris work  was called “Extended Mirror Cafe” and we installed it into the social space –  bar/café area of the museum.  We set up a constant live feed (with IP camera’s) between La Gaîté Lyrique in Paris, and Kin Malebo in Yeoville, Johannesburg (a restaurant café/bar largely frequented by the Congolese Community).  In this way, each space both mirrored and was constantly visually present for the other. Read More On Sundays this silent window opened up and we went ‘live’ in the following way: Our Paris photo booth used software that enabled the French audience to  pose for photographs over which they could superimpose and type in a question for  people in Johannesburg. “Posez Votre Question” is where they started. We asked the audience in Paris to imagine Johannesburg, and every Sunday for 5 Sundays, and in keeping with the shows’ curatorial themes (which shifted weekly), the audience in Johannesburg answered and discussed Parisian questions, which ranged from weather, love and French kisses to xenophobia, homosexuality, racism and other more serious topics. Great and lively exchanges were had, and many questions were asked and answered. Thanks to Laurent Emmanuel and Mark Lewis for the photographs.   COVER IMAGE1_1 The exhibition poster 1_1 The entrance of the musuem 2_1 Entrance to a Metro station COVER_Thumbnail_1 A visitor uses the photo booth 3_1 Paris in conversation with JHB 6_1...
Hotel Yeoville – Special Edition Portfiolio

Hotel Yeoville – Special Edition Portfiolio

This portfolio edition of the book Hotel Yeoville was produced in association with Fourthwall Books, Johannesburg. It contains a signed edition of the book and four limited edition prints. The portfolios are numbered from I/X to X/X. Each print is separately editioned from 1/10 to 10/10 and is signed and numbered  on the front. The prints have been digitally printed with pigment inks onto 290 gm archival Hahnemühle Bamboo paper.  Oliver Barstow assisted with the portfolio preparation and design. Image reproduction and printing was by Amichai Tahor of Lightfarm, and the Solander box was made by Heléne van Aswegen. Publication Date: Johannesburg 2013. Order here _DSF6977_1 _DSF6976_1 _DSF6975_1 _DSF6974_1 _DSF6973_1 _DSF6972_1 COVER_Thumnail_1 _DSF6978_1...
Hotel Yeoville

Hotel Yeoville

HOTEL YEOVILLE Hotel Yeoville (2008–2011), was a participatory public art experiment which, through the capillary medium of digital interactivity, attempted to sculpt social spaces–both actual and virtual–in which people in the pan-African suburb of Yeoville, Johannesburg felt safe and welcome to narrate their experiences of nationality, geography, foreignness, difference and what constitutes a sense of being at home. The multimedia project comprised an interactive website, a physical installation (where every virtual space had an actual and physical corollary), and a book (published in 2013). READ MORE I directed the project in collaboration with a diverse cast of artists, architects, social scientists, urban planners, Yeoville residents, community activists, business people and digital designers. The participatory installation and online forum was institutionally based at Wits University’s African Centre for Migration and Society (ACMS). But the work took place in Yeoville; an old, neglected suburb on the eastern edge of the inner city of Johannesburg. Yeoville has always been a foothold for new migrants to the city and it now hosts micro-communities from countries like Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Somalia, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Zimbabwe and other parts of the African continent. Isolated and excluded from the formal economy and mainstream South African society, their dominant engagement is with each other and with home in faraway places. In this inhospitable public domain, Hotel Yeoville explored the capacity of ‘acts of intimate exposure’ to enable people to make human connections with others. While conceiving the project idea (in late 2007) my team and I team spent several months conducting research in Yeoville. We were struck by the proliferation of walls covered...