Thursday, April 1, 2010

Current State of the Project

Cape Town

Three things we know about the project at this point…[I think]…

1. We definitely want to document a series of sites, using a combination of audio and visual material.

2. During this trip, we’re going to focus on three sites: the Zoo, the Pan African Market, The Prestwich Street Memorial.

3. We are very interested in possible/potential ways that the project could be expanded via a collaboration with Nick and the Center for African Studies, Ntone and Chimurenga, Ciraj and the District Six Museum, Kate and Greatmore Studios…or any possible combination of those people and institutions.

A few comments about our particular sites:

They are somewhat randomly chosen…places that Christian came across while he was here doing research 5 years ago…places with interesting stories that he is already aware of…and places for whom he knows of interesting people to tell those stories. The “randomness” of this initial site selection is something we’ve talked a lot about: Does it matter? Are we okay with the fact that it makes our project, in some way, highly personal? Is there something more that these sites have in common? What makes the stores about them interesting? Etc.

The randomness aside…I have the feeling that I need to find something about them – individually and in combination – which ensures that I understand why I am taking them on as a project.

The Zoo and Prestwich Street are interesting [and perhaps, we could argue, even in need of our intervention] because the stories associated with them are no longer very accessible at the actual [physical] site. There is not enough visible evidence left for an uninformed visitor to know what happened there.

The Zoo is no longer a functioning zoo; it is more like a ruin of a zoo. And Prestwich Street was the site of some very controversial development when the Rockwell Building [housing a luxury hotel + condos] was built atop a burial ground. Bones found during the excavation of the site were later moved to a memorial site down the street, but the Rockwell itself no longer bears any evidence of its controversial inception.

Both sites are, in a way, forgotton places. Maybe that’s what we’re making – a tour of forgotten places.

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