Monday, November 24, 2014

Jeppestown Mural -- Fotos

A corner of Jeppestown now has a 'Golden City Plan' with a difference. Sandile Radebe yesterday transformed a disused wall surface into a city grid mural morphed into block lettering. Depending upon your orientation as a viewer, his silver and gold block alphabet can be multiply read -- as different letters and sometimes integers instead. In their composite playful form, they suggest both a celebration of the golden city of Johannesburg and its bright lights while also critiquing top-down urban planning.

This public space artwork is conceptual cousin to Radebe's inaugural solo exhibition held last month, 'A Walk in the City', and is facilitated by guerilla gallery. Sandile was assisted by Chaduka Phiri in painting 'Golden City Plan'. Below is documentation from the day -- all the images are taken by Clarence Phiri.  























Saturday, November 22, 2014

Golden City Plan: Jeppestown mural


Should our cities be planned in advance or should people occupy first and let planning come later? This question was posed on Wednesday night at a series of talks around urban land justice and rights to the city in Cape Town's City Hall. The next guerilla gallery project, by Sandile Radebe, intersects with this theme: 'Golden City Plan' is a mural intervention in Jeppestown that takes the form of the city plan while simultaneously critiquing its ideology. 

Radebe will take to Johannesburg inner city streets in the coming days with gold and silver markers on a chosen surface to create his artwork that alludes both to the gold mining history of the city and its bright lights. This mural is not just a regular city plan, however. Its blocks also spell out letters of the alphabet or ciphers that can be differently perceived depending on the viewer's orientation. This perceptual play in turn unsettles assumed fixities of the city plan and mapping in general. 

Radebe writes in his artist's statement: "The city plan, in its ambiguous form and sense, changes its meaning, its behaviour and ultimately nature. The conventions of writing, or the point of the alphabet, the purpose of transcribing, and indeed the purpose of reading, all get stretched to a new and unexpected end."

In this mural, everyone constructs their own reading or idea of a city and this reading starts with Radebe's own sense of place, "deciphering the graffiti that embellishes the city, the street etiquette, the lingo, the sounds of foot traffic, the vehicles, the trucks, the taxis, the busses, the police sirens; the smell of food, the smell of urine, the smell of oil visible on the tarmac on the streets". He adds": "It's sunshine piercing through the buildings and its shadows... It's night-time, and all of it encapsulated in a line to facilitate marking my presence as a part of the city."

This mural intervention links in concept and aesthetic to Radebe's inaugural solo exhibition, 'A Walk in the City', held last month at the National School of the Arts gallery in the round. See the project website for more: http://walkinthecity.withtank.com



--KG
'Alphabet Soup II' (2014), marking pen on drawing chart paper: Sandile Radebe

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Next public space intervention: Johannesburg


Sandile Radebe's maquette for public sculpture: 'A Walk in the City', NSoA installation view (2014)
--guerilla gallery, an offspace for experimental work, manifests nomadically when circumstances and resources conspire with a flexi-format according to each project's needs. At its heart is an activation of unusual spaces married to conceptual intent. The platform due to its nature has unpredictable gestation times and aims to enable something a little different with each iteration.

Last year, we ventured underground into Cape Town's network of subterranean tunnels, activating these spaces at three different public interfaces with a one-hour endurance lullaby sung by Pauline Theart (see Projects section: 'Cape Town Under: The Third Voice').

Next month, we are venturing back above ground and to our founding city, Johannesburg, for a public space intervention by graffiti artist and muralist Sandile Radebe. The execution of the artwork itself will be unannounced but documented here as and when.

This public artwork is conceptual cousin to Sandile's inaugural exhibition, 'A Walk in the City', hosted this month at the National School of the Arts (NSoA). It takes his language play on the Johannesburg city grid from the gallery environs back to its inspiration: public space. For more on this, visit the exhibition's project website.

 --KG, Cape Town

Sandile Radebe's graffiti block lettering on the floor of his installation for 'A Walk in the City' @ NsOA (2014)

Friday, November 29, 2013

Cape Town Under: a review

Just over a week after flashfloods hit the Cape, guerilla gallery staged a sound art intervention in the historical stormwater tunnels that run under the city's skin. The weather turned just in time: a strong but manageable water flow formed a sonorous backing track to the lyrical tones of Pauline Theart's voice, which she projected in a live performance from the depths to echo into public space above. Good weather meanwhile let passersby get drawn in for a closer glance at these usually invisible spaces through manhole interfaces above. The tunnels  were built hundreds of years ago first as canals and then enclosed and are now paved over by streets.

This collaborative work, 'Cape Town Under: The Third Voice', was conceived and curated by Kim Gurney as part of a broader project called LAND, organised by the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts at UCT. It effectively aimed to briefly turn the tunnels into a musical instrument of sorts as a lone voice animated them with an hour-long endurance lullaby sung at access interfaces. The song was stripped of words to evoke a common referent and to help Theart improvise with the tunnel the 'third voice' through echoes and refrains in a kind of co-authorship with the site. She repeated the performance at three different sites over two days.

With special thanks to our tunnel operators who handled underground logistics - Matt Weisse and Gresham Chibwaz - as well as City Roads & Stormwater, The Castle's management and Gipca's support that together helped make this project possible.

Images below by Marguerite Townley-Johnson, except where indicated. For more information, visit the dedicated project website: http://capetownunder.withtank.com

Site 1: The Castle, Strand Street trapdoor interface (22 November)

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

M. Townley-Johnson

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson


Echo manhole: The Castle Lawns
Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

Site 2: Grand Parade parking lot (22 November) 

The performance site, right with safety cone, prior to intervention. Image: K. Gurney

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson
Image: K. Gurney
Image: K. Gurney

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

Photo: M. Townley-Johnson
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Echo manhole, Grand Parade. Photo: M. Townley-Johnson
Echo manhole, Grand Parade. Photo: M. Townley-Johnson

Echo manhole, Grand Parade. Photo: M. Townley-Johnson
 Site 3: The Castle Lawns (23 November) 

Photo: K. Gurney

Photo: K. Gurney

Photo: K. Gurney

The echo manhole. Photo: K. Gurney
The echo: closeup. Photo: K. Gurney
The walk to the echo. Photo: K. Gurney