May 28, 2016 - Nov 27, 2016


Republic of South Africa - Biennale Architettura 2016

Capital of Guerrilla Design Citizenship


In the global society we live in today, we see the re-emergence of the ancient concept of the city-state, where citizenship of a country does not necessarily imply loyalty to a country.

The South African Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia 2016 explores the relationships between citizen and city - an idea much more accessible in a globalized world and often explored by city managers.

As practicing architect in Pretoria, the curator Pieter Mathews, strongly believes that architects have a vital role to play in the relationship-making between citizens and city. For this reason, Cool Capital was initiated.

Cool Capital is an uncurated, DIY, guerrilla movement that serves as platform for interaction with our city. We encourage citizens to take the city into their own hands, rather than wasting time in boardrooms, conferences and conventions.

Pretoria is an administrative capital with a heavy political burden. It goes by many names: Pretoria, Tshwane, Ipitoli, Jacaranda City and it is sometimes negatively called 'Snor-Stad' (Moustache City) with reference to the presence of many civil servants and the military corpse in the past.

Through creative endeavours we can challenge negative connotations and change our perceptions. During Open Foundry Day, a unique opportunity where the public can visit the city's foundries, visitors to the foundry of Guy du Toit made moustache moulds which were cast in bronze and combined to create a collective artwork.

The city has an incredibly beautiful and graphic plan which was interpreted to be the emblem of our movement. The logo has many versions, adapted by each person who is making the city their own. The Logo Bench stands at the entrance of Pretoria Train Station. A cardboard replica can be seen at the pavilion.

The incredible city-map mural by Eric Duplan illustrates Cool Capital's aim: to connect the city with its people and to connect people from different cultures, languages and suburbs in the city.

The idea of connection is further enhanced by a sculpture armature by Rina Stutzer. The artwork was put up in pop-up fashion in different locations all over the country and the connections between points are clearly visible.

The Voortrekker Monument, a landmark on Pretoria's skyline, is a good example of transformation and reinvention. The monument has managed to thrive in spite of its controversial past.

The monument was lighted up in pink for the month of October 2014 as a symbol of renewal and a new shared perspective on our past.

Another example of the reinterpretation of traditional symbols, the 'Koeksister' Bench is a concrete rendition of the delicious sweet snack of Malaysian origin.

The mural at the entrance of the pavilion depicts an intervention by artist Diane Victor in the TPA Building close to the heart of the city - Church Square. The TPA Building was constructed at the height of Apartheid; an epitome of Brazilian Modernism and the International Style, it is currently in disrepair.

Diane Victor's intervention is a dust-artwork on the floor of an old boardroom on the 13th floor. On the wall is the original mural by renowned artist Gustav Preller. Victo depicts the late president Paul Kruger lying in state. The intervention created new consciousness of the building and it's art treasures.

A photo-strip documents the events of a land art project which inspired members of the Mamelodi community to clean up a derelict piece of land.

The Magaliesberg mountain ridge runs from East to West through the city. Supposedly protected, in many places the natural landscape has become a dumpsite. Two young artists, Ke Neil We en Banele Khoza, initiated a clean-up project involving local children. A stone spiral was constructed to celebrate the wealth of the natural environment.

The community participated in a cleansing ritual upon completion of the stone spiral.

This intervention illustrates the power of a strong idea. A lot can be achieved with relatively few resources when a collective embarks upon a project.

Sixteen hand-painted chairs by high school learners under the supervision of artist Jan van der Merwe represents a simple and voyeuristic element of city life. These chairs are set out as a collective theatre, but each chair is also a theatre in itself.

Visitors to the pavilion are invited to sit in the theatre of chairs and watch the documentary film 'DorpStad'. The Afrikaans title means "Town-City" - Pretoria has the heart of a small town, but functions as a city. The documentary film reflects on the inaugural Cool Capital and what it achieved.

The Cool Capital light installation accompanied us to the numerous city events held during Cool Capital. It seemed fitting that it should also accompany Cool Capital to Venice.

Cool Capital Event Lights

This pavilion is a collection of the outcomes of the Cool Capital movement. It shows how 1000 active citizens ignored politics and bureaucracy, took ownership, brought about social coherence and most importantly contributed to more memorable and personalized urban spaces.

The projects of Cool Capital 2014 have been documented in a comprehensive catalogue on display in the Pavilion and available online on the Pavilion Website.

Visitors are invited to pause, rest, read on the faceted cardboard furniture pieces.

Key concepts from Cool Capital's manifesto in English, Italian, Sepedi and Afrikaans.

Our city became a laboratory for guerrilla design citizenship. The South African Pavilion report's on our actions, rather than on words and theories.

A guerrilla movement could not subject itself completely to the rules of the Biennale.
'Saadjies', miniature sculptures submitted for the 2016 Cool Capital, became part of a sculpture-bombing campaign all over Venice. Featured is Carla Crafford's artwork Itinerent Jakaranda - can you guess where it was left?

Cool Capital Trek
Venice & back - a documentary film

Take a look behind the scenes - Preparations underway for South Africa's national pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia.

The 2016 South African Pavilion at La Biennale di Venezia
Credits: Story

Consul-General Saul Kgomotso Molobi

Pieter J Mathews

Mathews & Associates Architects
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Carla Taljaard (Organizer)
Jan Hugo
Anton Smit
Liam Purnell
Chenette Swanepoel
Yolandi Viljoen

University of Pretoria
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Pretoria Institute for Architecture
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South African Department of Arts & Culture
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Atterbury Property
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PPC Cement
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Business & Arts South Africa (BASA)
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ENABA Productions
Erasmus Media
Carla Crafford
Neil Human
Samuele Cherubini

Banele Khoza
Carla Crafford
Dewald van Helsdingen
Diane Victor
Eric Duplan
Guy du Toit
Ike Nkoana
Izanne Wiid
Keneilwe Makoena
Rina Stutzer
Sybrand Wiechers

Adriaan de la Rey
Adriaan Louw
AJ Chappy Holtzhausen
Alexander von Klitzling
Amanda Schreyer
Anderson Barroso
André Otto
Angus Taylor
Anna-Mart van Vreden
Anni Snyman
Anton Smit
Banele Khoza
Bianca Potgieter
Bronwen Rautenbach
Cait Biller
Carla Taljaard
Carlo Gamberini
Cayley Baker
Chenette Swanepoel
Chrisna van Vuuren
Danélle Janse van Rensburg
Daniel Mosako
Daniel Nell
Daniel van der Merwe
Debbie Cloete
Dewald Vorster
Diana Miller
Diane de Beer
Diane Victor
Elani Willemse
Elfriede Dreyer
Erynne Ewart-Phipps
Fatima Cassim
Francois Visser
Frik van Vuuren
George Asamoah Awuah
Gisela van Garderen
Gordon Froud
Grietjie Lee
Guy du Toit
Gwen Miller
Hannelie Coetzee
Hanro Spangenberg
Harrie Siertsma
Henk Vryenhoek
Ike Nkoana
Ilze Wessels
Imile Wepener
Izanne Wiid Jan van der Merwe
Janien Kluge
Jeanne-Louise Lamont
Jesicca Davies
Joachim Lubbe
Johan Thom
Johann Botha
Johann Nortjé
Karin Miller
Katty Vandenberghe
Kay Potts
Ke Neil We
Keith Moss
Leon Nigrini
Liberty Battson
Loeritha Saayman
Lothar Bötcher
Lucy Anastiasides
Lynette ten Krooden
Mareli Wassenaar
Mark Verryn
Mia de Kock
Nico Prinsloo
Nicola Grobler
Norman Catherine
Pieter Greyvensteyn
Pieter Mathews
PJ Kotze
Pluto Panoussis
Rachel Botes
Renée Barnard
Renier le Roux
Reply Mahlangu
Reynette Roberts
Rina Stutzer
Robert Ramavhale
Selogadi Mampane
Selwyn Steyn
Shayne Capazorio
St. John Fuller
Strijdom van der Merwe
Sybrand Wiechers
Tabi Takang Tabe
Tjaart Pretorius
Tsebe (George) Magampa
Val Boje
Yannis Generalis
Zahn Hulme

Afrikaanse Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria
Afrikaanse Hoër Seunskool
Capital Letters
Carlton Cafè Delicious
Cornwall Hill College
Crawford College, Pretoria
Eduplex High School
Fried Contemporary
Graffiti Boekwinkel
Guillotine Tydskrif
Harries Pancakes
Hoërskool Garsfontein
Hoërskool Hendrik Verwoerd
Hoërskool Menlopark
Hoërskool Oos-Moot
Hoërskool Waterkloof
Intiem Magazine
Korean Embassy
Laerskool Hennopspark
Long Street Art Lovers 1932
Mathews and Associates Architects
Molo Mollo Cinema Club
Mosaic Arts
New Hope School
One-Shot Films
Open Window Film Arts
Open Window Institute
Pretoria Arts Association
Pretoria Boys High School
Pretoria High School for Girls
Pretoria Institute for Architecture
Purple Consciousness
Sonja's Foods
St Lorient Fashion and Art Gallery
St. Albans College
The Capital Collective
Tina Skukan Gallery
Trent Gallery
Tshwane University of Technology Department of Architecture
UNISA Visual Arts students
University of Pretoria Deparment of Construction Economic students
University of Pretoria Visual Arts students
Urban Ambush
W Design Architecture Studio
Waterkloof House Preparatory School

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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