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Nothando Lunga

Unit 18 Hyperreal prototypes



In 2018, the World Bank stated that South Africa has “one of the highest inequality rates in the world[…], inequality that is perpetuated by a legacy of exclusion and that is not pro-poor” (World Bank, 2018). This project explores an alternative architectural typology of “protest sustained by memory” (Hooks, 1989) in pursuit of a politically motivated speculation of contemporary and future definitions of equality – through exposing the ghosts and hauntings of past repressive systems in the present. Advancing theories of memory to account for contemporary forms of activism through design – Bell Hooks, Avery Gordon, Don Mattera, and Lebbeus Woods – are authors that write about the importance of remembering, the possibility of transformation sustained by memory and architecture of resistance.

Bell Hooks writes in her essay ‘Choosing the margin as a radical space of openness’ “the margin is not only seen as a site of deprivation but rather a site of radical possibility and resistance” (Hooks 1989: 20). The project operates in the margin as a space that necessitates resistance against oppression, to transform, and speculate alternative futures and new discourses. By creating a resistance sustained by “remembering that serves to illuminate and transform the present” (Hooks 1989:4). The project explores memory as an essential apparatus of transformation, questioning how a series of mnemonic devices may act as grounds for speculative futures for equality in institutional spaces of power?

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“There's a need to create spaces where one can redeem and reclaim the past, legacies of pain, suffering and triumph in ways that transform present reality”
- bell hooks

The project is an installation of a series of prototypes that challenge the different aspects of the Bill of Rights and is situated at the Constitutional Court. Reframing the question surrounding equality and what it means to be equal in a post-apartheid context, further identifying those marginalised in the process of democratising equality. The work begins with an in-depth research and exploration into the Bill of Rights and its formations, along with recent protest movements which challenged the status quo of institutions of power such as Rhodes Must Fall, and Fees Must Fall. Studying their tactics of resistance to rectify the past and transform existing policy. They will be researched for the events as well as how they are held in memory for as Plate argues memories consist of “Images, scents, sounds, touch, taste – memories are manifold” (Plate 2005:137).

The project explores the use of digital and analogue simulations that depict lived experiences to inform memory, which include a dossier, film, physical and digital models. Creating a series of prototypes that are informed by memories of the past and present realities. Exploring the ability to curate a protest using a multi-sensorial interactive exhibition that prompts memories and subverts power. The project is further challenged by the notion of a hyperreal prototype; if what the project represents is a series of memories of the margin as a prototype, where and what is the original? Is there an original or is the margin a continuous simulation of replication and repetition?

The overall project proposes a form of resistance to being erased or simulated by challenging existing powers. Exposing the margins set in place by dominant power structures that promote the illusion of a “free” and “equal” country.

Embodied archive

Woven Memoir

Layers of memory:

- Khulu's grass mats, crocheted decorative elements 

- Ncane's woven plastic mats

- Mamndindi

- Hair braiding on the steps

Making from memory, this loom was constructed using a collection of memories of my youth. This piece is a collective memoir of the women who I witnessed growing up, creating beatufil crafts using the skills that they were taught in bantu schools, which under the apartheid regime ensured that the black student was taught skills that would keep them inferior in society, skills that would always keep non-whites as subservient beings to white supremecy.

Spatial archive

Layers of the prop

A space for resistance 


History of South Africa's politics

- Past repressive systems

- The Freedom Charter

- SA constitution 

- The Bill of Rights

Investigation into protests as the hallmark of South Africa's political culture, was made through the production of a dossier. 

Protest in South Africa

Hallmark of political culture

1976 Soweto Uprising

1976 Soweto Uprising

1955-1960 forced removals, sophiatown

1956 women's march

2017 #AfrikaansSalBly student movement

2016 Red Ants evictions, Downtown JHB

Current GBV Nationwide march

2015/6 #FeesMustFall student movement

Performance activism

Spatial [RE]claimer

Reclaiming space in the public space


Women’s rights are violated on a daily basis through means of sexual harassment, gender-based violence, and femicide. The spatial [re] claimer proposes a way for women to reclaim their space in the public space.


Constitution Hill

- A site for resistance

- Constitutional court

Situated at Constitution Hill, a political enclave shaped by time. The sites identity is haunted by the ghosts of a divisive history and a future founded on the recognition of human rights and democracy represented by the constitutional court. 


Awaiting trial block

- Treason trial of 1956