TJORVEN BRUYNEEL // Untitled Happiness

Untitled Happiness

Life in Johannesburg today, founded on apartheid’s ruins, exhibits a range of dualities. There is a need for innovation, to challenge the racial and ethnic divisions of the past. Untitled Happiness is a study of the South African identity crisis and urbanization in Johannesburg.

The aftermath of Apartheid was characterized by a sense of loss and longing for togetherness and a heterogeneous nationality. Belonging is one of the most important things in every society. The African continent bears the scars of the past and is often seen as a victim, succumb to slavery, colonization and Apartheid. History is not easily overcome and unfortunately social identities remain structured around racial, residential, economical and even ethnic divisions. The boundaries dictated by Apartheid appear artificially maintained.

Johannesburg, home to the wealthy and poor, permanent and temporary residents, colonial citizens and migrants from both rural areas and abroad, all of whom residing in extremely different models of accommodation: ranging from enormous mansions with large landscaped gardens walled by tree-­‐lined avenues, to dense shack settlements accessed through mud paths. From overcrowded skyscrapers in the inner city, to medium density and low-­‐rise in the suburban sprawl.

The storyboard on first glance shows a carefree facade but touches upon a world of contrasts between self and other, public and private, inside and outside. I want to go beyond physical and economical differences, reflect how I experienced the different urban structures. The project opposes memories and fixed ideas, in addition to raising curiosity about the contemporary use and access to various neighborhoods in South Africa.