About the Project
Gautrain: Ophelia was commissioned for the ‘Urban Concerns’ project in 2008. The performance explored the symbolic dimensions of the monolithic Gautrain project at a more human level. These sites are transitional spaces of tremendous potential, but also threat. The futile act of digging with my hands, as giant graders and bulldozers remake the landscape around me, was an admission of the helplessness that many South Africans feel in the face of change, but also an attempt to be part of that change.
Included in the video exhibition and publication: The Underground, the Surface and the Edges: A Hauntology of Johannesburg by Leora Farber and Anthea Buys. Also included in Fiona Siegenthaler’s Phd thesis: Visualizing the Mental City: The Exploration of Cultural and Subjective Topographies by Contemporary Performance Artists in Johannesburg. See ‘texts’ for more.
Gautrain Construction Site, Braamfontein, 2008
Performance commissioned by Urban Concerns project and Johannesburg Art Gallery
Photographer Alastair McLaughlan, Cameraman: Benji Magowen
Wits Art Gallery collection.
Gautrain: Tunnel Shout was one part of a three part performance which I enacted in the Gautrain construction site in Johannesburg for the Urban Concerns project 2008. Gautrain: Tunnel Shout
For approximately 5 minutes I shouted into a tunnel which goes about 15 to 20 metres down into the Gautrain tunnel. Cold air blows upwards from deep inside the tunnel. Workers in the tunnel could hear me shouting whilst I could not hear if they shouted back up at me… Again the work speaks about a sense of wanting to do something, to find someone, yet shouting into a deep dark tunnel and hearing and finding nothing- my own voice blowing straight back at me.