THE TRINITY SESSION - Public Art Makers and Strategists


THE TRINITY SESSION - Public Art Makers and Strategists


The continuous network of routes that links our private domains is notably lacking in any form of amenity for its many pedestrian users, and the private boundary wall could be seen to erect the ultimate barrier to public interaction, or exchange between citizens, and the inhabitants of the city. This situation could be read forward to hold some forbidding philosophical ramifications….

This studio proposes that every boundary wall, or every public artwork, should be legislated to provide at least 3 public functions. Could we look at our car- and wall-dominated (increasingly anonymous) streets as a continuous urban park network?

How would an initiative of this kind challenge the prevailing cultural notions of paranoia and lock-down against the 'public'? What are the exteriors that contemporary Joburg (-which could be seen, perhaps, as a "world-class interior")

The Trinity Session will use the contemporary example of the Vilakazi Street Precinct Upgrade in Orlando West, Soweto (the historic area of the June 76 Uprising, the houses of Nelson Mandela as well as Walter Sisulu and Desmond Tutu, and home of the Hector Pietersen Museum), to examine the situation of suburban Johannesburg streets, which form our most public (and paradoxically, least used, or least endowed) environments.

This case study in particular demonstrates the potential for a powerful interface between public art, the urban upgrade, residents of the area and street users. In addition a number of critical inputs such as the Wits Oral History Projects' work in the precinct and the research done by Eco Africa, the Tourism consultant, introduce a greater understanding of the historical layering in Soweto and the current uses and flows affecting varying types of interaction and exchange.

The challenge presented to the artworks programme is a combination of community participation, integration with the physical upgrade through lighting, urban furniture and surface treatments while symbolically representing the overarching historical narrative, if you will, that envelopes the upgrade.

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