Aug 152012
Project information
Common ground is almost always necessary for transformation, translation and expression in art and architecture. The tapestry was made by a co-operative of 50 women from the Eastern Cape of South Africa. It is based on and is the same size as Picasso’s Guernica. The theme is different – the Keiskamma Geurnica tackles AIDS/HIV and its impact on South Africa. The work shows that good art can achieve common ground between different cultures. It also shows how an idea can survive translation and become a potent expression in a different context.

The hand-drawn plan of Red Location Precinct, a historic shack settlement in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, illustrates a new cultural centre in a part of the city which was devastated by Apartheid spatial planning.  Culture and its manifestations of production, performance and exchange were selected as the core development ideas for the Precinct. In doing so, new ways of thinking about city making and architecture in South Africa have been opened up. The drawing examines the various components of the Precinct and traces the movements of people over time. The plan elucidates common ground in city-making and architecture despite the differences in terms of site and context – Red Location is a shack settlement and is largely occupied by very poor people.

A connection is found between the plan drawing and the tapestry. Architects and artists employ similar strategies and points of reference – the difference between good and bad work lies in an understanding of that which is shared and common and the ability to transform these ideas into forms and spaces which are both useful and satisfying within the community in which the work is located.

Drawing credits: The Transformation of Red Location | l 9.4×3.5m Hand Drawing | Ink on Paper | Digital Post Production | Printed on Textile | Principal: Jo Noero | Collaborators: Aaron Factor, David Long

Tapestry credits: Keiskamma After Geurnica | 7.8×3.5m Tapestry | Mixed Media | Various Hand Stitched Textiles | The Keiskamma Trust | Hamburg Women’s Co-operative

Click here for an introduction to this year’s Architecture Biennale by the director David Chipperfield.

Credits: Red Location Precinct Film | Stephen Hitchcock and David Long | Architect: Jo Noero