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Nocturnal Heterotopias

Prototyping the Event Place for Otherness

Thelma Ndebele






This  research project aims to create spaces for those deemed Other (queer  individuals whose sexuality and/or gender performance transgress(es)  existing heteronormative ideas of personal identity, still prevalent in  present day, urban settings), and their associated music subcultures.  The insistent creation of these spaces is a reaction to the lack of  non-mainstream/underground performance venues in nocturnal,  post-apartheid Johannesburg (underground referring to independent or  community-based electronic music scenes). These proposed spaces are  prototypical installations: temporary set designs situated in  Johannesburg CBD, crafted using a combination of light, music, and film  to both house and record instances of interpersonal interaction and  embodied experience.

Events  and conditions surrounding the growing Ballroom subculture involving  LGBTQ+ youth in South Africa are used as prompts for contextualising and  basing the multi-sensorial sets proposed. This is done through drawing  out Ballroom event prototypes and designing the experience around two  types of people who make up this electronic music subculture. These are  then digitally inserted into the speculated venue, the Old Park CIty  Concourse (b. 1926), insurgent and hidden among the everyday  Johannesburg, thus reimagining this pre-existing architectural shell.  The interactions that happen in/around the installations are digitally  documented, using film and writing, to relay overlooked social and  spatial narratives uncovered and created.


Johannesburg, South Africa


Sub-Culture, Insurgent, Post-Apartheid Johannesburg, Overlay, Sample, Filter, Nightlife, Installation, Embodied Experience, Sonic Archive, Underground, Otherness

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