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Wish You Were Here

Wish You Were Here is a temporary intervention into the Adderly Train Station in Cape Town. It takes the form of photography backdrops of tourist attractions from around Cape Town, in front of which train commuters can pose and photograph themselves on their cellphones. A description of the project’s intentions and a request for participation in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa is also provided.
The work functions as a parody of Cape Town, a city that defines itself by its inaccessibility and prides itself on issues irrelevant to the majority of its population. The work also cites the daily influx of people into the city centre on the trains from the city’s outskirts and the increase of black populations from the Eastern Cape and much of the rest of the continent post 1994. These migrants are among the most marginalised and the ‘snapping’ and cell phone dissemination of touristy photos speaks directly to the aspirations and problematics of migrants/immigrants in South Africa. Sending the photographs ‘home’, a kind of ‘wish you were here’ exercise, alludes to a particular statement of having ‘made it’ in the big city – likely an extension of the truth; that calls the glamour of Cape Town’s image into question. Furthermore, the cell phone images become a kind of record of the project that the participants take with them.
MADEYOULOOK is interested in the everyday practice of cellphone photography and in the complexities of production and ownership of meaning.

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