Making Sense

Focusing on new and emerging public spaces in Johannesburg, this projects aims to investigate and show case its many different manifestations and potentials.

A catalogue of urban public conditions is documented based on criteria that respond to the contemporary reality of our city and represent its diverse geographies. These sites meander between the exclusive, imagined, everyday, appropriated, spectacular, ephemeral and accidental. The logics and conditions of its configurations and democratic access are explored and documented.

From the catalogue, 5 sites are identified for their critical value and creative collaboration with urban provocateurs and local actors. Acknowledging different interpretations of public-ness, a series of actions, site-specific interventions and performances are developed to stimulate discussion and the imagination around future public spaces in Johannesburg.

The project culminates into a choreographed 24hour Festival which invites spectators to playfully engage and interact with the creative interpretations of the site.

With the research and experiences generated we aim to challenge urban actors and decision-makers to engage and construct public spaces in Johannesburg in innovative and democratic ways. A users guide how to approach, use, misuse, appropriate and imagine public space in African cities will be provided online for future endeavors.

PublicActs is an ongoing collaboration between Katharina Rohde & Thiresh Govender/ UrbanWorks, Johannesburg. For more infos please visit also

PublicActs/Johannesburg is funded by The Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development and the Rosa-Luxembourg Foundation South Africa.

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