14 February — 15 March

scenographies urbaines website

URBAN SCENOGRAPHIES JOHANNESBURG brings together more than 30 artists, writers and performers from Africa and the continent in the inner city of Johannesburg over a period of a month. The residency will culminate in a four day series of interventions and presentations within the project boundaries.

Artists will live in the inner city and are asked to develop site-specific projects in response to the curatorial frame of the residency, which is informed by the context of the inner city of Johannesburg and its global linkages. It proposes four key parameters, each of which issues a metaphor and a method through which the inner city context and its dynamics can be understood and engaged with. These parameters are:

The field of play
The ground of battle
The space of the stage
The place of the market

Ideally, artists will engage with a specific location (interior or exterior) and the people that inhabit/use/pass through at specific times. Projects could take the form of performances, radio interviews, video-projections, collaborations with local businesses, object-driven production or public interventions. Potential sites for intervention include a variety of streets, a disused cinema, pavements and traders stalls, an open square, a basketball playground, a communal taxi rank, a heritage site, an Eritrean coffee house and local bars. Each intervention will begin to construct a specific audience around itself. A team of assistants who are familiar with the context will work with the artists and act as facilitators or guides. The ‘territory’ of the project is the eastern part of the inner city (Joubert Park and Doornfontein). The artists’ living quarters  are the Drill Hall, the Lister Medical Building and August House. These locations offer very divergent “stages” for the realisation of their works.

The Drill Hall will serve as a work and meeting space for the project, as well as a context in which some of the projects might be realised.

The project will also be represented at the JOHANNESBURG ART FAIR in April 2009 through a series of multimedia performances and sales on the trade ground at the Sandton Convention Centre, curated by JPP/Malcomess/Scu2.

Urban Scenographies was initiated by the French collective (SCu)2. So far it has taken place in Douala, Alexandria and Kinshasa. The project in Johannesburg is realised in partnership with the Joubert Park Project, an artists collective based at the Drill Hall in the inner city. For more information see Urban Scenographies website



Four of the URBAN SCENOGRAPHIES artists, Emeka Udemba, Michelle Harris, Donna Kukama and Unathi Sigenu, will also participate in a ‘public art survivor’ workshop (co-ordinated by the Visual Arts Network of South Africa), which will run concurrently with Urban Scenographies. The workshop will involve three teams of five young artists and curators from across South Africa and the continent developing projects in three locations across Johannesburg – Soweto, Joubert Park and Sandton. In each location they will be given a brief to develop a public art intervention to be realised within ten days. The public arts consultancies, Art at Work and Trinity Session will host the teams in Sandton and Soweto respectively, and the Urban Scenographies project will host them in the Joubert Park neighbourhood. Curators from Cameroun, Switzerland and Flanders will play a mentorship or jurist role on the project.


(Helgar Haug, Stefan Kaegi and Daniel Wetzel) will be launching ‘Call Cutta in a Box’ within the project area of Urban Scenographies. The project has so far taken place in Brussells, Groningen, Seoul, Athens, Berlin and New York. It is unique performance piece in which members of the public are invited to participate in a private ‘show’ which unfolds between an office space in inner city Johannesburg and a call centre in Calcutta. rimini protokoll


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