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vol.42 issue1Hearing Red: Aurality and performance in a film by Simon GushBlood Lines: Cecil the Lion, Mandela, and art in history author indexsubject indexarticles search
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Kronos

On-line version ISSN 2309-9585
Print version ISSN 0259-0190

Abstract

SMITH, Michelle. Interment: re-framing the death of the Red Location Museum building (2006 - 2013). Kronos [online]. 2016, vol.42, n.1, pp.155-173. ISSN 2309-9585.  http://dx.doi.org/10.17159/2309-9585/2016/v42a10.

The design and construction of the Red Location Precinct was the culmination of a national architectural competition, the first outcome of which was the Red Location Museum. Situated in New Brighton, Port Elizabeth, the materiality of the township impressed itself on the factory-styled museum building. However, the residents of New Brighton were not unanimously in favour of the building of a cultural precinct and museum, and through a number of protests, closed down the museum. Renaming it 'a house for dead people', the community began to disassemble the museum building. The museum is now a ruin, its frame decomposing. Rather than staging the porousness between an inside and an outside of the museum - and between the past and present, the real and the simulated, the living and the dead - as a problem to be worked out in dialogue, the museum has, by framing the struggle against apartheid commemoratively, incorporated the residents of New Brighton into what is called here a 'mortificationary complex'. This article elaborates the concept of the frame as it works through the displays within the Red Location Museum and its building, reframed by Simon Gush's installation, Red. Juxtaposing Red and the Red Location Museum allows the affects and effects of this artwork to seep beyond the confines of the events with which it explicitly grapples. Through the concept of the frame, this encounter asks that we rethink the materiality of the photograph, the commemoration of the struggle against apartheid, and the ways in which death marks the sights and sites of public history in museums after 1994.

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