For those who will not Hear
I entered a pubic commissioning process to pitch for this work. I submitted a small little maquette.
I new that the proposed position of this work would be outside the library of what is now the Steve Biko Campus of the Durban University of Technology. What I was actually trying to capture or distill was the idea that education was rarely about the art of listening and doing a small bit of talking. I was also wondering, as the baton of our authority shifted in South Africa, from white South Africans to Black South Africans, if a new generation would improve upon the obtuseness of the previous generation. Would it be that another idea of power could be more responsive to the needs of our beleaguered humanity?
An institute of learning presupposes that the secrets that we seek on the journey of our historical evolution is embedded within or without our evolving humanity and the archive of knowledge that we hold and that we have learnt from our experience. With all pubic works, once you release them, they are then subject to the vagaries of a mass of people that will then read the work in multiple different ways. It is interesting for me that this work has never ever been vandalized by the students. On the other hand, it is also interesting to me that the institution, who is supposed to care for its cultural investment, has paid little attention to it and neither given much love to it.
That is just the way in which art enters the world, mostly through the back door.
Andries Botha, February 2012