On the 28th March, the Nothing Gets Organised group is opening a new project space in the Johannesburg CBD. NGO – NOTHING GETS ORGANISED will highlight a wide program of visual arts against the unassuming background of a converted commercial property wedged in next to car repair shops. The event spotlights a diverse range of multimedia work from South Africa and beyond. Included with the NGO collective, are the Brazilian artists Cinthia Marcelle and Tiago Mata Machado, along with Pratchaya Phinthong, Nyakallo Maleke, Caner Aslan, Lerato Shadi and Donna Kukama (with Nadia Myburgh). The opening night also highlights a special performance of Donna Kukama’s work ‘To be announced’.
The Nothing Gets Organised project was founded by an original core of Johannesburg based curators and visual practioners. Dineo Seshee Bopape, Gabi Ngcobo and Sinethemba Twalo have all previously experimented with using unexpected spaces in the city as a platform for showing contemporary art. This has involved taking art out of the white cube and gallery space, and into unexpected, sociologically potent settings. Gabi Ngcobo was previously the curator of the now defunct Centre for Historical Reenactments, which specialised in striking and original interventions into Johannesburg’s historically traumatised psyche. For instance, PASS-AGES was staged at the site of a former Pass Office in Alfred Street, a space which had been used for the Apartheid state’s surveillance and control of black people’s basic freedom of movement.
The NGO project takes these interventions in a new direction, by focusing on creative a progressive aesthetic for the challenges of the present. NGO’s mission statement is an interest ‘ in un/conventional processes of self-organising – those that do not imply structure, tangibility, context or form. It is a space for (NON)SENSE where (NON)SENSE can profoundly gesticulate towards, dislodge, embrace, disavow, or exist as nothingness!’.
In recent times, Johannesburg has seen a lot of an attempts at the corporate regeneration of the inner city. But behind the rhetoric of upliftment, the reality has been the creation of securitised, exclusive spaces which often reinforce segregation and inequality. By contrast, NGO have taken it upon themselves to open creative spaces at a grassroots level. Over the last months, their Facebook page has shown their busy work on getting the venue ready, and the sheer joy of building a unique creative space in an often imposing and alienating city.
NGO, 127 Albert street, 28 Nuggett Square, 2001, Johannesburg, South Africa