Hang your Beliefs High   [show/hide text]

with site-specific participations of Craig Symes, Frederick Clarke, Francis Burger, Georgia Munnik, Ryan van Huyssteen and Phumla Siyobi

Hang your Beliefs High took place in Main Street Life, Ourspace gallery in Johannesburg, South Africa in August 2011. It came about from a month long residency at Main Street Life. I was the 2011 Spanish embassy invited artist.

The residency ended with this show which took the form of a three hour event. Central to this was an attempt to describe the immediate architectural environment in terms of planning layout and particular socio-political situations. These situations made reference to recent, local events, and less recent, historical events.

The exhibition showed the processes of its own making. For example on the main wall of the gallery there were a series of descriptions of the immediate urban surrounds relayed using a number of methods and materials:

1. A series of fictional and non-fictional accounts had been pre-prepared by a number of writers. These texts were typed out and projected onto this wall.

2. An ornithologist was asked to describe the sounds he encountered on Fox street, parallel to the gallery. These descriptions were written down, and printed onto:

(a) a flag, which was hung off the wall, and
(b) with vinyl lettering, which was placed directly onto the wall.

The flag comprised fabric from the Indian quarter in Fordsburg, Johannesburg. These fabrics were then sewn together by a Mozambiquan tailor who worked near the Ourspace gallery.

3. A picture of a podium was contributed by Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, an artist with whom I have collaborated with before in South Africa. (link)
During this event, I stood on the top of this scaffolding and served soup to those who came. The soup was made with water from Hillbrow, which I had collected earlier that day. When the soup was finished I came down from the scaffolding.

The scaffolding was positioned at the door of the gallery facing Hillbrow.

Telephone
I organised for a telephone line to be fitted in the gallery space where people could make free calls on the condition that these calls were made to Spain. The phone was placed within a booth, mimicking the public (unlicensed) booths one would find in the neighbouring streets. The booth was placed in such a way that a queue would form around the corner of the gallery space to the rear of the scaffolding.

Gallery Doors
I decided to open the gallery doors.

Improvisation and machine.
This event was a structure to allow accidents and improvisations to occur. The structure itself was a series of decisions made from an amalgamation of experiences in Johannesburg during this residency, and previous to it (link).

The improvisations and accidents were a function of the structure, in that, over the course of the event, parts of the structure broke off and became part of the improvisations. This happened in an unforeseen way.

For example the writing pieces, that were part of the structure of the show in its making and in its showing, became performative. The projected words from this written work fell somewhere between the conceptual and the physical, losing and gaining attributes from both.

(Text by Adrian Duncan)

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Commissioned by the Embassy of Spain in South Africa with the aditional support of the International Fund for the Internationalization of Spanish Culture of AECID (Spanish Development Cooperation Agency) and Main Street Life Trust (Johannesburg).

With Thanks to Ricardo Añino, Ignacio Priego, Bronwyn Lace, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt, Anne Historical, Adrian Duncan, Lard Buurman and Raymond Marlowe.



The Life Collection (Johannesburg)

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss

Photo: John Hodgkiss