TERMINAL – an exhibition on street poles
As part of GIPCA’s interdisciplinary LANDproject, Jean Brundrit, Svea Josephy and Adrienne van Eeden-Wharton have curatedTerminal – a publically sited exhibition of photographic work. Presented as A1 sized posters on street poles, the exhibition is curated in specific streets in and around the Cape Town CBD.
South Africa is characterised by a series of disjunctive experiences in a land of extraordinary contrast: its natural splendour belies the brutal experiences of slavery, forced removals and continued poverty. The material inscription of colonisation, with the Land Act as its formalisation, remains performative – still determining where people live and intersect, and how people move through space. It results in diverse and opposing ideas, values, dreams that constantly disrupt the country’s present. LAND focuses on contemporary practices, the traumas and the hauntedness that manifest as a result of this condition.
While there have been several significant photographic exhibitions related to ‘land’ in 2013, many of these have been presented as historical overviews. Much of the photography that circulates as ‘art’ is also never seen by the general public, and shown in galleries that only few enter. Concerned with contemporary interpretations of these complex issues and making work available to a wider public, Terminal does not focus on major narratives or historical overviews, but ‘short stories’ or ‘sketches’ from or about the city. It considers Cape Town as ‘terminal’: the City as related to boundaries, extremities or ends; a terminating point or place; what Umberto Eco refers to in The Name of the Rose as ‘finis Africae’ – ‘the end of Africa’; a junction on a transportation line; a site where things are unloaded or uploaded; veins; something fatal – that which causes or ends in death; the end of a series or time period; or even in botanical terms – a new growth at end of a stem, branch or stalk.
Artists who were chosen to take part have already worked with notions of ‘land’ in their work. While people do appear in these works, often what is represented is the evidence of people living on the land, with an emphasis on the spaces and structures they inhabit. Images have been selected which would be easily interpreted on street poles, as this is a very different viewing experience to the quiet contemplative space of the gallery. As an ‘exhibition’ that is also an active engagement with space, streets chosen were grouped around significant sites in the CBD, such as around the District 6 Museum, the Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town train Station, Grand Parade, Parliament and the Iziko Slave Lodge.
By placing these artworks on street poles in busy areas in the city, the artworks compete with the bustle of the City, and alongside those posters promoting concerts and political parties. The public may experience these artworks as a fleeting vision as the viewers drive past in vehicles, or a more intimate engagement by pedestrians. Follow the links below for more information on each artist’s work and to view the posters. Works viewable in Darling, Castle, Strand, Sir Lowry, Keizersgracht, Roeland, Buitenkant, Harrington, and Tennant into De Villiers Street – view the map.
Terminal video recording: