is an old fort whose entrance is lined by gun holes facing the door - if they were manned and shooting you had to make it past about 20 shooters pointing into the cart/car width passage
the space is maintained but not over-renovated - you can feel its age through your eyes and pores as you touch the bolts, bricks and stones - installations populate the spaces with signs leading you to Mandela's cell and so forth - walking into the courtyard you come across a chef trimming herbs for a lunch sandwich in the Old Fort cafê and find sunglassed jo'burgers and tourists sipping tea
as your life and the jack-knifed truck drive through from pretoria rushes through your mind - you try to be mindful of the space you're in - the doors that locked souls behind them - the bolts that could never open but for the mercy or mission of a guard - as you finish your tea and get up to inspect your quest of art, you try to be gracious about the walls that look like old houses - you try to sense the dreams and nightmares that got stared into them - you try to silently greet the souls that haven't left - stunned by the presence of lip gloss and glitz - somehow you wish a guide would lead your step - remind your heart - point out the hole that swallowed a certain percentage of soul
so between the conversation of power supply and projection - of installation and creation - of event and occasion - you take a sharp breath at the thing that stretched to torture - blinking in disbelief at how recents it looks - searching for the thoughts of the man who sketched out its dimensions, ordered its wood and chose that colour paint - your natural curiousity trying to pick apart its operations - your instinctive revulsion coiling back from wanting to know any more
in the cells you contemplate the presence and absence of natural light - the size that needs to be measured and cut - the height that needs to be reached to suspend and tie up - and you can't help gravitating quickly back out the door - before it slams and slides it's huge bolt shut...
Posted 10 June 2005, www.face.org.za,
author: katty vandenberghe.