City below

City Below is an exhibition exploring and exposing the existing subterranean architecture of the city of Johannesburg. The exhibition will see the unveiling of an Invisible or Imagined City represented in the form of a large mural.

The Invisible or Imagined City, is composed of a layering of subterranean spatial elements which host a narrative inspired by the writings of Italo Calvino. This narrative is an extension of that created at the Drawing on Origins Workshop hosted by the NIROX Foundation and GIfA (Gauteng Institute for Architecture) in 2012, curated by architects Elena Rocchi and Dieter Brandt. The workshop saw the creation of Nassimbeni‘s first Invisible or Imagined City, based upon the architecture of the caves of the Cradle of Humankind.

In City Below, Nassimbeni extends the lines representing the organic spaces below the surface of the Cradle of Humankind, to the subterranean treasures of the CBD of Johannesburg, in the creation of a second Invisible or Imagined City. These treasures take the form of unused tunnels, decommissioned mine shafts, stormwater drainage networks and urban caves. One such treasure exists between the old Park Station in Braamfontein, and the former Post Office building in Rissik Street. In the past, the tunnel was used to transport mail from one space to the other.

Whilst the caves of the Cradle of Humankind are the site of significant recent paleontological discoveries, human relics contained by an organic architecture, it is interesting that some of the subterranean tunnels and stormwater networks of the Johannesburg CBD were inhabited in the past – modern humans in a constructed subterranean environment.

City Below offers an opportunity to view a representation of a part of the city of Johannesburg which, for many, is not visible in everyday life. Once the exhibition is over, the mural will be erased, and the City Below be returned to the imagination.

Venue: NIROX Projects (Arts on Main, 264 Fox Street, Maboneng Precinct).

Time: Sunday, 18 January 2015, at 12h00.