Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sutherland: Intervention 2: Visitor Centre installation

Step 1:

Intervention 2's purpose is to further links and communication between SAAO (South African Astronomical Observatory) and the town of Sutherland. We have been meeting and interviewing members of the community to access stories and information which might serve as inspiration towards an installation in the Visitors Center at the Observatory.

One such individual is Oom Tomas Cloete. Oom Tomas was born in 1907 and lives today at the Sutherland 'Huis Johenco' old age home. At the age of 103 he has many beautiful stories to tell about his long and remarkable life. He has survived two wives and fathered 23 children. As a construction worker on farms Oom Tomas moved all over the Cape region and finally came to settle in Sutherland when he was no longer able to work.

Image by Mike Carelse assisted by Claire Gritten

Part of the installation will incorporate an audio piece in which Oom Tomas tells a story about the night sky. As a boy the older people used to tell him that if he saw a shooting star he should run after it and if he found it lying on the ground he should pick it up and throw it back, he laughs at this idea and says as hard as he tried he never found his fallen star.

The 'stars' of this installation piece will be created from shards of glass and crockery found in what is called the 'Ou Lokasie' (Old Location), this area in Sutherland is where many lived in Brak Roofed houses, these where self built stone houses, many of the homes where destroyed under the Apartheid Government’s Group Areas Act in the course of the 1960's when the community was moved to a new location.

The intention of this piece is to commemorate this area as well as draw attention to a community of people who live under this remarkable night sky. The installation will hopefully be the first of a few which draws attention the the town and it's people.

Images of the installation to follow.

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