| ' Atlantis Dunes, Atlantis, 2019
FAR OUT experiments with the voice, dance (Hip-hop), public space, video and digital online media as means for connection and self-determination.
This new phase of Very Real Time focuses on the problem of distance in the cities of Paris (France) and Atlantis (a satellite of Cape Town in South Africa). Inhabitants of marginalised and underprivileged areas face obvious problems reaching the centre and gaining access to opportunities. In South Africa under the apartheid government, distance was not only used as a means to separate race groups, but also a means to ensure that adult citizens expend vast amounts of time and energy moving to and from work, limiting their capacity to organise community bodies.
In Atlantis, various after school groups have been set up, dance groups, rap groups, trapeze groups, public service and journalism projects… they operate in fields, parking areas and other available spaces every afternoon. One of the main objectives of these groups is to keep young people off the streets, where the risk of straying into the wrong gang turf can be fatal.
'Atlantis, aerial view, apartheid housing, circa 1980
Video still from, 'The ice-cream parlour,' filmed during the Voice Sparks workshop, Atlantis, July 2019
FAR OUT comprises of two main projects :
1) A collaboration with the Hip Hop dance group, SWAGG United. Until Covid19 the group practiced in a parking area every afternoon and had recently started teaching at a local primary school. The objective is to develop a prototype whereby video and online media can help initiatives like this develop skills, networks and visibility, so that their activity can become professionalised beyond the school leaving age. Short format videos (20 seconds - 1 minute) are made to be shared on an online platform and social media, creating audiences, networks and, ideally, sources of revenue. The title FAR OUT refers to distance, but also the uniqueness of a location; its ambiences, architecture, local dialect and history, as a source of content and a means to push the Hip Hop idiom towards a more personal form.
2) A series of video portraits of a group of mainly female journalists in Atlantis, aged between 17 and 23. They are strongly engaged in their community on issues such as gun violence, gangsterism and dumping. In addition to local radio and news sites, they use social media to assimilate and distribute information. In their hands, social media conflates the personal and political, mixing karaoke and dance selfies, BLM messages, links to stories and political content… This series of video portraits exploits this eclectic online format to present different fragments of their identities.
La Video still from video, Atlantis Dunes, filmed during the Voice Sparks workshop, Atlantis, July 2019
Located 50 kilometres north of Cape Town, Atlantis is a phenomenon of the forced removals of the apartheid era. Between the 1960’s and 80’s, non-white families were attracted there with the promise of a home and a job. The government gave incentives to companies to open factories, but when the subsidies were withdrawn in the early 80’s, the factories left, leaving the residents out of work. Gang and drug abuse became dominant activities, unemployment is high. The city is a two hour bus ride away.
Still from video, 'The Ice-cream parlour', filmed during the Voice Sparks workshop, Atlantis, July 2019
La Place centre culturelle de Hip hop, Les Halles Paris.
A4 Arts Foundation, Cape Town.
The Atlantis Project has received initial development funding from the Direction Régionale des affaires culturelles d'Île-de-France.