The See Project
See is focused on three concurrent narratives: history, memory and making place. The ambition is to move scholarly information out of archives and museums; relocate liminal discussions to the public square; and look at the established anew.
In colonised cities across the world, extensive work went into preparing a tabula rasa, or blank slate – ‘cleansing’ public space of time and history so that the colonisers could construct their own orders, references and visual cultures.
The See project aims to bring social, cultural and representational equity to the built landscapes and public iconography of the city.
We need to make the shift from the outdated fixity of the colonial city, which is diminishing and damaging, to a more resilient, agile and adaptable creole city based on mixedness and mixing. Outdated ideologies of racial purity and uniqueness are a toxic dead end. Our strength lies not only in diversity but also in transgressive hybridity.
Our core intention is to widen the scope and range of our knowledge about the contributions that various individuals and visionary groups of people have made to the texture of Cape Town’s cultures. See is aimed at wresting Cape Town’s creole spirit from apartheid’s enduring spatial legacies. The project will be driven by an endeavour to document and disseminate marginalised histories and memories to widen the scope and make a more vital, inclusive city. We want to share information about who contemporary Capetonians are and where they come from so that we can meet each other in a place of greater respect and knowing. We need to remember diverse pasts, recall heterodox inheritances; no single narrative constitutes the truth of our shared and separate histories.
While focused on Cape Town, See will offer insights for global discussions on contested urban histories, equal representation in the memorialisation of history, and the construction of resilient postcolonial spaces and identities. The project will work with international cities and institutions, especially those that have challenges with contested urban histories and those that have successfully integrated representative symbols into their landscapes, literature and teachings.