In this age of globalization, what does it mean to live in a particular place? Why do we choose to live in a certain city, and if there is one message that would express the essence of that city, what would it be? This is the question that intrigues South African artist Sue Williamson, and which she has been asking for the past two years, in an ongoing series entitled “Other Voices, Other Cities”.
What is daily life like, and what are the tensions that run under the surface? What is good, what is bad? These questions are discussed in a workshop, and at the end of the workshop, participants vote on the most popular statement.
The letters of the statement are fabricated by the artist in signage material, and Williamson hunts out a location in the city appropriate to the message for a photoshoot. On the day, participants hold up the letters to spell out the message in a word-by-word series of photographs.
At a time when most of the world is frankly in a mess, the dialogue created by the residents of the different cities is engaging and revealing. Cities in the series so far are Havana, Harare, Johannesburg, London, Bern, Berlin, New York and Krakow. Other cities like Beirut, Cairo, Beijing and Moscow are in the planning.
Each participant in the project receives a print of the final work.
(Lichfield, England 1941) Lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa
Based in Cape Town, Sue Williamson is an internationally recognised artist who frequently exhibits on museum shows around the world. Trained as a printmaker, Williamson also works with installation, constructed objects, photographic images and video, addressing social issues or aspects of contemporary history. She is a contributing editor to Contemporary magazine in London and is the founding editor of the leading website on contemporary art in South Africa, www.artthrob.co.za.