Public Art Tours: The Maker Precinct

Written by Chrisantha Chetty.

Public Art Tours (PAT) invites people on a journey through particular spaces and places. PAT wants you to experience public art in new and alternative ways, open your eyes to works you might have otherwise (dis)missed and challenge your perception of art, space and place.

Please use the following publication that is based on a fictional tour set in the future of The Maker Precinct, Johannesburg, to take a self guided tour through the area. PAT shows you a few of the many interventions into and activations of the surrounding public space.

Enjoy uncovering an array of collaborative experiments brought together through a philosophy of making.

Map of the Maker Precinct

 

1.

Dustbin by the Church

This is a magnificent, eco-friendly, science meets functional art kind of experiment that would only be possible in an area like The Maker Precinct. This rubbish bin is made out of an organic, biodegradable, super strong and durable material that is actually alive and growing. If the bin gets damaged it will heal and maintain itself through eating the rubbish inside.
How it came to be was through an open call to all artists, architects, engineers, scientists, thinkers and interested makers. Many great proposals were received from all over the country. The above mentioned bin was designed and made by Tebogo Dlamini from Orange Farm.
Now you will see as we walk along there are a few designs that were chosen and after 6 months of beta testing Tebogo’s design proved to be the winner. Soon this design will be popping up all over the city.

2.

prospective edible garden

Here you see our beautiful edible garden. It started as a way to beautify the place, grew into a kind gesture to passers-by, and now has evolved into an entire community project. All the other businesses in the area have joined the fun and started contributing to the gardens. Please feel free to pick anything you desire and try it out. The selection of plants that were chosen are not only delicious and nutritious but also aesthetically pleasing.

3.

5th street

The above image shows Fifth Street and Ellis Park Stadium (in the background) at the bottom of the road. There are regular markets held here and due to its prime location it attracts a large variety of publics. There’s a juicing business in the white building at the bottom corner and they, as well as many other businesses in the area, use the market to sell their products and share their methods of making with visitors. It’s really become one of the hippest places to be in Johannesburg.

4.

Benches opposite Ellis House

These beautiful benches were created by architecture students from the University of Johannesburg. They were given a project to find an appropriate space in the area and to make something useful that would add value to visitor’s experiences of the area. These colourful and comfortable collections of benches were the final chosen projects to be realised in the very workshops that make this precinct. This bench over here was actually made in collaboration with the precious plastics team at the coloured cube. Take a seat, try them out- it’s supposed to be great for your back, and as 100% recycled material good for the environment too!

5.

Yellow manhole cover

This is another one of our super fantastic solutions found through an open call. The problem was stolen manhole covers and the solution was to make it out of materials that are not valuable yet still durable. Who came up with it? A team of amateurs and professionals from various disciplines around the world that connected through their philosophy of making and interest in finding creative solutions. The key to the maker precinct is the cross pollination and integration of multiple disciplines that is encouraged and enabled through thinking, making, educating and sharing. This leads to innovative and creative solutions through collaboration.

6.

public art

This is often recognised as the best public art piece in the whole of The Maker Precinct, maybe even Johannesburg. Unfortunately the artist is unknown. It is a playful intervention that could be categorised as a form of street art.
There is a lot of street art around this area as more artists are showing interest in this making hub. With the presence of multiple art spaces, galleries, art residencies, affordable studio space, trendy cafes and markets- the artists are here and hopefully more will come because it will be great for the rejuvenation and regeneration of the city.

We hope you enjoyed this fictional tour and that it has possibly opened your eyes to the potential of The Maker Precinct. Keep an eye out for Public Art Tours- it might be coming to a city near you! Please email any feedback you might want to share to chrisantha@thecolouredcube.co.za.

A little about the creator of Public Art Tours:

Chrisantha Chetty

Chrisantha Chetty was born in 1988, and raised in Durban, South Africa. She is an interdisciplinary multimedia artist, art collector, architect, activist, actress, dancer, theorist, philosopher, curator, song writer, novelist, film maker, cook, designer, craftsman, tailor, photographer, journalist, human rights advocate and entrepreneur.

Chetty is also a budding entrepreneur having started a few small collaborative ventures in the past. Her latest business is Public Art Tours (P.A.T) which she uses as a platform for other projects including Amateur-professional art academy and Feed the artists fund.

Public Art Tours was created by the artist due to her ongoing concern of how to survive as an artist that produces ephemeral interventions in the public sphere while maintaining a certain level of autonomy. Chetty plays with everyday constructs in order to challenge conventional perceptions, whilst continuously critiquing her position and that of the institutions she encounters along the way.

Chetty believes in the power of her work to engage with people regardless of their backgrounds, knowledge and skills. She encourages all people to use art actively- contributing to positive change in their communities and societies.

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