‘This land is not for sale’: Post-1994 resistance art and interventionism in Cape Town’s precarious publics
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The control, regulation and commodification of space has been fundamental in reinforcing structural racism and social identities. In a city such as Cape Town, where colonial architecture and heritage as well as apartheid racial zoning forms part of the spectacularisation of the city, racial conflict seems to have deepened. Through dis- cussing public protest, artistic public interventions and live art, we argue that young black artists in South Africa are heralding a new phase of post-1994 resistance art which exposes conflictual cultural politics of public space in Cape Town rather than a healing democracy and multi-culturalism. As protesters and activists, artists deface the myth of a reconciled non-racial post-Apartheid society by targeting officially sanctioned art. Drawing from Faranak Miraftab’s notion of ‘invited’ and ‘invented’ spaces as well as Chris Dixon and Angela Davis’ concept of prefigurative politics, we argue that precarious South African publics are experienced as a ‘battleground’ rather than a space for liberal deliberation and democracy. New resistance art, therefore, tends to be protest-centred in engaging with the conflictual nature of the city.