Experimental project space opens in downtown Jozi

arts-on-mainGoetheonMain is opening tonight as part of the Arts on Main development in downtown Johannesburg.

The 273 m2 space is intended as a multi-disciplinary project room, tonight’s launch will feature Isicathamiya and Oswenka performances and a photo projection of Sabelo Mlangeni’s new body of work Men Only, which will be followed on 8 to 10 May by the Informal Architecture master class – an architecture workshop on the structures that fills the gaps left by city planning. Ismail Farouk’s Trolley Works, the first of eight projects chosen by an independent jury, will open on 29 April.


Opening Night:  Mai Mai goes Main
Isicathamiya and Oswenka Performances
& Men Only
– a photo projection of Sabelo Mlangeni’s new body of work on the George Goch hostel

When:  8 May, 6 pm
Where:  GoetheonMain, Arts on Main, 245 Main Street (Closest corner Berea Street), City & Suburban, Johannesburg.


From May onwards GoetheonMain will host eight projects selected from the open call for proposals that was launched in early March. The process will be repeated later in the year and is set to run twice a year. The distinguished jury consisting of Paul Grootboom, Sibongile Khumalo, Melissa Mboweni, Simon Njami and Hans-Georg Knopp met to decide the projects to be realised at GoetheonMain this year. The chosen proposals are reflective of the multi-disciplinary nature of GoetheonMain and the urban space that surrounds it. Art outreach project Sutherland Reflections; city intervention Trolley Works; a music and dance performance entitled Trespassing Permitted; visual art exhibition dedicated to Women’s day; Rhythm Tap. Multimedia Dance Project; a performance piece Fragile and Selogilwe; interdisciplinary presentation Merry Christmas Minister!; as well as Red Arts photography presentation and literature workshops, found the judges’ favour.

With GoetheonMain, the Goethe-Institut engages with issues central to metropolises all over the world, and in particular Johannesburg. Through an engagement with the arts, urbanity is looked at: the hybridity, frenetic energy and constant transformation that make up our cities.

Informal Architecture Master Class
When: 9 & 10 May

Despite the UN-Habitat’s call for “cities without slums” pronounced in 1999, the number of informal settlements has drastically increased. Similar ambitions are expressed closer to home: In South Africa housing lists dating back to 1998 demonstrate that formal approaches to housing delivery are not effective enough. The informal city fills the gaps left by what the formal city does not and cannot provide. Yet it is largely condemned and outlawed – its potential hidden.

26’10 south Architects has, in partnership with the Goethe-Institut, embarked on a research project to gather information in the form of mappings and drawings which capture the spatial and functional qualities of informal environments, focusing on one street in Diepsloot. The project is ongoing and creates the opportunity to look at, reflect on and (e)value(ate) solutions and strategies developed by ordinary citizens in making their own environments to meet their needs.

Following the presentation of the research and debate at the Goethe-Institut in Parkwood on 23 April, this master class offers a chance to learn from, address and project the Diepsloot reality. The class will be guided by the research carried out by 26’10. Participants will be asked to each develop and follow through on one strategy projecting the vibrant reality of the street into the future. The anticipated result would be a positive composite vision for a South African living and trading street. The master class presents an intense bubble for experimentation, debate (and fun) in coming to grips with a prominent reality. The master class is open to a limited number of practitioners and students.

Ismail Farouk – Trolley Works
When: 29 May

Ismail Farouk started by working with trolley pushers in the inner-city of Johannesburg last year. One of the outcomes of the collaboration was the manufacturing of custom made trolleys owned by trolley pushers and so, safe from Police confiscation that threaten their livelihoods. Now, working hand in hand with the trolley pushers themselves, the Trolley Works project proposes to create a live conceptual map of the Johannesburg informal economy within the physical exhibition and project space of GoetheonMain. Informed by the Trolley Works daily research findings, video documentation, photography, and creative writing exercises, content is developed and evolves with continual input from artists and participating trolley pushers in the downtown area.

Ismail Farouk’s Trolley Works is the first of eight projects chosen by an independent jury, after an open call was launched earlier this year to decide on events for the second half of 2009 at GoetheonMain.

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