n De Arte - Hotel Yeoville, Terry Kurgan et al. : book review




This is a difficult book to review, because in many ways its subject is too participatory to set in type, no matter how 'moveable'. Kurgan's premise is that Yeoville is not a suburb of Johannesburg, but rather a temple of Africa - one that admits all itinerants, refugees and migratory people. Like her other public participatory projects (notably Park Pictures), Hotel Yeoville was expansive in scope, complex and more like a development project, as mounted by the European Union or African Union, than an art project. In her prefatory essay, 'A public variation on the theme of love', Alex Dodd explains this as a 'utopian attempt to bind a community through a kind of inventory of personal and collective relations' (p. 10). The project is remarkable on many levels (the project itself spread over three years, 2008-2010) and was evidenced by multiple and contingent elements: A research process, a website, and a public-participatory 'exhibition' comprising different booths offering different activities and, of course, this book. However, there was no 'hotel'.


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