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MArch Work: Abstract

This MDP aims to explore the creation of space to accommodate the gathering and performance of music by night-life subcultures in Johannesburg. This project is a reaction to the self-identified issue observed of the lack of non-mainstream and underground performance venues, despite the abundance of non-mainstream and underground music. The research argues that currently, such underground music is consumed in a somewhat disembodied manner (that is it is bought, listened to, written about), as opposed to being fully experienced in a multi-sensorial space. The proposed project looks to develop a set of typologies in the form of an installation. This installation will simultaneously be a performance venue and a sonic archive – recording geographies of action and pointing to wider sonic landscapes as indicative of how the ‘other’ navigates the city, at both a collective and individual scale at night. 

The Concourse Ball

“At the end of the day, a discotheque or a club [is a] perfect non-place, [they are] places where time and space can disappear” − Lorenzo Cibrario (2016)

Events surrounding the growing Ballroom subculture involving the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual and more identities on the spectrum, or LGBT+, youth in South Africa are used as prompts for contextualising the installations proposed. These conditions are the basis for the multi-sensorial sets as they make use of lighting, loud music and affordable décor during the night time and usually over the weekend to create an environment for entertainment, i.e. the ball. Researching this subculture along with considering cues from experimental clubs designed by architectural groups UFO, Superstudio, and Gruppo 9999 in Italy (Upam: 2008), the installations will be exploring how to cater to the performer as well as the patron who experiences the performance.

Initial Walkthrough to introduce "VNJ presents: The Gods and Goddesses Ball" in the Park City Concourse

Explorations in Acts

This research aims to initiate physical responses to create a space for otherness and associated musical subcultures as part of Johannesburg nightlife.

Can the nightclub typology become adaptive and active, dynamically responsive to changing context, i.e. time, or scale, for a specific event?

How might an architectural installation, utilising light, music, film, performance and set-design as spatial devices, act as a gathering space for musical subcultures in Johannesburg, while simultaneously becoming a contingent archive and spatial database of geographies, people and spaces in this scene?

BArchHons Work

“A place is [thus] an instantaneous configuration of positions. It implies an indication of stability. A space exists when one takes into consideration vectors of direction, velocities, and time variables. Thus space is composed of various intersections of mobile elements. It is [in a sense] actuated by the ensemble of movements deployed within it. It occurs as the effect produced by the operations that orient it, situate it, temporalize it, and make it function in a polyvalent unity of conflicting programs or contractual proximities. In short, space is a practiced place.”

- de Certeau, (1980: 117) 

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