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MIKHAEL SUBOTZKY / SOUTH AFRICA & PATRICK WATERHOUSE / ENGLAND: PONTE CITY, 2008-2010 Ponte City dominates the Johannesburg skyline. Built for white sophisticates in the heyday of apartheid, it always held more appeal for young people and immigrants, for those on their way to somewhere else. During the South African transition in the early 1990s it became a refuge for black newcomers from the townships and rural areas. Then followed a calamitous decline, and by the turn of the century Ponte was the prime symbol of urban decay in Johannesburg, the perceived epicentre of crime, prostitution and drug dealing. In 2007, developers evicted half the tenants and gutted the empty apartments, but their scheme to refurbish the building soon ran aground. Subotzky and Waterhouse began working at Ponte, getting to know the tenants who remained behind. Over five years, they returned repeatedly to document aspects of the block, photographing every door, every television, and the view from every window. The commentary in this project does not discount these myths but positions them in relation to the many other historical accounts of the building. 94  JOHANNESBURG


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