Hotel Yeoville is a collaborative, multi-platform, long term public art project based at the Forced Migration Studies Programme, a graduate programme at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Hotel Yeoville has evolved through a series of distinct processes and inter-related products: Firstly, an initial research process, followed by the creation of a community web project, followed by the making of a digitally interactive exhibition installation, and finally, a book publication (going to press in March 2011).
Between February 1st and August 31st 2010, the project was installed into a new public library in Yeoville, an old, neglected suburb on the Eastern edge of the inner city of Johannesburg. The majority of Yeoville’s estimated 40 000 inhabitants are migrants and refugees; micro communities from many parts of the African continent. Often isolated and excluded from the formal economy and mainstream South African society, their dominant engagement is with each other and with home in far away places.
The library installation comprised a website and an interactive exhibition which took the form of a series of private booths in which members of the public were invited to document themselves through a range of digital interfaces, interactive media and online applications. At the same time, they were encouraged to add to the development of the website’s community, business and social networks. The products can now be found right here on the website. People who came in to Hotel Yeoville could take photos to upload to Flickr in the Photo Booth, make videos to upload to YouTube in the Video Booth, tell stories in the Story Booth; map their roots and journeys across Africa and beyond in the Journeys Booth, and in the Directory Booth they could find a new home, a new lounge suite, a bicycle ...... or advertise their business and skills through an online business directory and more ...
The processes and products of this first phase of the Hotel Yeoville project, are now being evaluated and reflected upon towards the making of the next phase of the project. We will keep you posted, and in the meantime please do keep sending us your stories, your photos, your comments !!
Hotel Yeoville was produced in partnership with the Goethe Insitut, Johannesburg and was generously supported by the Ford Foundation, the National Arts Council and the Johannesburg Development Agency. We thank you all for your invaluable support.
The following people enabled the making of this project through its many different phases thus far:
Project Director/Curator : Terry Kurgan/ Artist
Research: John Spiropoulos/Urban Planner, George Lebone/Community Activist, Ginibel Forsuh Mabih/Researcher, Michael Onyeneto/Researcher, Raphael Bope/Researcher, Siphiwe Zwane/Photographer & Researcher, Jason Hobbs/Information Architect, Andre Graaf/Developer
Website Design/Development/Build: Jason Hobbs/Information Architect, Belinda Blignault/Artist, John Spiropoulos/Urban Planner, Andre Graaf/Developer/Programmer, Greg Ilchenko/Developer, Richard Stupart/Developer, Brittany Wheeler/Project Facilitator/FMSP MA student
Exhibition Design and Production: Tegan Bristow/Digital Media Developer and Artist, Alexander Opper and Amir Livneh/Notion Architects, Guylain Melki/Artist/Sign-Writer
Exhibition Facilitators: Godfrey Tshis Talabulu, Brittany Wheeler, Raphael Bope, Sian Miranda Singh OFaolin