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47 COEXISTENCE The Swiss visual artist Not Vital began building his first house in Niger in 2000 and has since built sculptural houses all over the world. A characteristic feature of these houses is their pure functionality, as the titles clearly express: A House to Watch the Sunset, House Against Heat and Sandstorms, Moon House, etc. Vital’s sculptural buildings question the nature and function of architecture. After the completion of the MEKAFONI & MAKARANTA, I wanted to continue to built & the 55 Hausa workers who constructed the 2 buildings were in need of work. That’s when I acquired the oasis in Aladab, 5 Km north of Agadez. The first building in Aladab was the HOUSE TO WATCH THE SUNSET. To achieve a frontal view of the sunsets, the building had to extend over the palm trees, like a huge giraffe’s neck. No drawings were done but a model in dung. The Hausa were astounded to be confronted with a project of a 4 storey building made solely of clay & they asked me if I had lost my goats, meaning gone crazy. This construction, 13 meters high, was the biggest challenge for them & for me. A few years ago, a flood destroyed hundreds of buildings in Agadez. The Tuareg protected the Sunset House with sand bags saying that this is their favored house. COEXISTENCE PERSPECTIVE: The story of A House to Watch the Sunset exemplifies the capacity to take something one regards as alien and let it become a part of one’s world. It is the coexistence of the familiar and the foreign. Not Vital / Switzerland House to Watch the Sunset, Aladab, Niger, 2005 The film Moyo is the third in a series that also includes Iyeza and Creation. Moyo – which means air – delicately articulates the moment when death occurs and the breath or soul leaves the body. The woman in the film experiences this moment and cries out Warazulwa ngenxa yami (‘You are torn apart for my sake’) as she cleans the wounds of a lifeless figure. The trilogy explores public acts of violence and the role of women in these conflicts. Moyo makes use of references to Michelangelo’s iconic Pietà and points to the sacrifice made by those killed. The song being sung is an old Methodist hymn that is sung when someone dies. COEXISTENCE PERSPECTIVE: Chiurai’s work shows us the crucial moment when someone passes from visibility to invisibility. For anyone who believes in Moyo, the deceased does nor cease to exist. Instead he or she lives on in an immaterial world that is interwoven with the visible world. The paradoxical coexistence of the two worlds is a central condition of life in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Kudzanai Chiurai / Zimbabwe: Moyo, 2013 Single Channel film, Edition of 5   Courtesy of Goodman Gallery,   Johannesburg, Capetown Bopitikelo Community and Cultural Centre is a centre for the preservation of cultural heritage, It was conceived as a meeting place, a centre for the strengthening of cultural history for a people who to a great extent have been deprived of their traditions, first by the colonial powers and later by the apartheid regime. It functions as a meeting place for the local community and houses social functions that promote dialogue between the local communities and visitors from South Africa and abroad. COEXISTENCE PERSPECTIVE: Bopitikelo Community and Cultural Centre is an example of how people are working today to reconcile themselves with a painful past. Peter Rich Architects / South Africa: Bopitikelo Community and Cultural   Centre, Molatedi, South Africa, 2005


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