Void infrastructures and lived responses

The site for this studio is two breathtakingly beautiful golf courses in Cape Town. We will build a city over them. Why? Currently, social justice activists are campaigning for the urbanisation of this land as a way of addressing historical injustice and improving access to the city. Their pleas are met with intransigence. Our speculative work on this real issue will address the failure of imagination which lies at the heart of this response.

As much as cities can advance human endeavours, they can also be designed to antagonise them. The capacity of cities to achieve these contradictory ends, simultaneously, is a designed mechanism by which privilege is advanced and marginalization becomes systemic. The studio will explore the undoing of inequity through the notion of infrastructure. We will investigate marginalization as an immaterial infrastructure of the city and how it endures, long after its authors have gone.  The forced removals of people, the destruction of neighbourhoods and livelihoods, the limitation of rights, and the desaturation of urban opportunity are an absence with an enduring presence in Cape Town today. These voids are infrastructures of unfreedom.

As these void infrastructures were created, lived realities unfolded concurrently. The studio will speculate on how the human responses to this social disaster can be used to repair the city. The sense of repair would not be one of reassembling broken pieces back to an original form, but rather to use found fragments to constitute a new city, rooted in a contemporary ethic. We will focus on the taxi industry, entrepreneurial economics, land justice activism, backyard socialization, art, music, film, and literature in particular, as human endeavours that can inform a will to live in the city.