Lauren Theunissen has her solo exhibition at Luni Gallery
2 Oct 2017 - 13:30
Following her Tierney Fellowship award 2016/2017, Theunissen Presents a selection of photographs and phonebooks which engage with the tensions of gentrification unfolding in East City Cape Town. The City of Cape Town has re-conceptualized and initiated a shift towards the development of the East City which is bordered by Roeland Street, Darling Street, Buitenkant Street and Canterbury Street. Developments affecting the East City’s structure and functionality favour a thriving creative and tourist-centred economy. For the sake of economic growth, the City of Cape Town has invested in a re-imagining of the city’s public life and citizens. This re-imagining is geared towards a manicured urban population: a population that can afford to participate. This is not a new phenomenon for our city. Conversations around the nip and tuck of the East City can be seen in the local media articles of 2010 ( FIFA World Cup ) and revived in 2014 with the crowning of Cape Town as the Design Capital of the World.
Is rebranding the East City aiding toward providing a more inclusive, interactive and publicly accessible space in Cape Town’s East City environment? Through developing the East City toward the trendy ‘Fringe’ imaginary, one is reminded to ask: Who is benefitting from this development?
Scrawled letters, hand smears of grease from the lunchtime samoosas, cappuccino spills and streams of piss from the drunkard who stumbled out from the neon lights onto the street; are some of traces and remnants, which exist in the East City as markers of the urban communities’ lived reality of the space.
Through photographing the idiosyncrasies of the East City, Theunissen characterises a space undergoing an identity crisis.