Detlef Hartung – Georg Trenz


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MABONENG – PLACE OF LIGHT
Main Street Life Building, Maboneng District,
Downtown Johannesburg


 

The newly renovated MainStreetLife – building in Downtown Johannesburg will be opening on the 1st of June 2010. MainStreetLife is a new place for art and creativity in Downtown Johannesburg
For this occasion we present a light installation dealing with the district Maboneng, which translated means the place of light.
In the early 20th century, before Apartheid, this district was already known as a place of cultural diversity, as a centre of attraction for South Africa’s different populations. The search for gold became a search for freedom, cultural exchange and also enjoyment. Shine!, sparkle! and gleam! was the motto. Everyone a star, countless stars, a glowing universe.
 


 

But why then does outer space remain dark?
This seemingly simple question did indeed become a paradox, when at the end of the 16th century the theory of an indefinite universe arose. How can the sky with an indefinite number of stars, which emit indefinite light, be dark? Over the centuries the most diverse theories were developed to answer this question. In the 19th century the German astronomer Heinrich Wilhelm Olbers devoted himself to this contradiction to such extent, that ever since one speaks of “Olber's Paradox”. However, in the middle of the 20th century, they discovered that stars do not exist indefinitely and our universe is much younger than it takes for light to get from the most remote visible star to us.
 

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So despite their multiplicity, the stars stay dots in the firmament, light dots which have served humans for thousands of years as guidance. This way, stars have become the symbol for protection and orientation, hope and departure to new worlds. In our perception, time and again, they merge to larger forms and contents (constellations).
 


 

A starry sky consisting of personal pronouns in South Africa's 11 national languages now welcomes the visitors of the MainStreetLife–building. Shine!, sparkle! and gleam! was and is the motto again.
In turn, a new cultural meeting point is formed, a nucleus, a cultural planetarium. The place of light consists of innumerable stars?
 

The project occurred in cooperation with the
Seippel Gallery Johannesburg


 

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