Very Real Time is an ephemeral project located in Cape Town, South Africa since 2003. The project explores the use of personal encounters and urban space as artistic materials. In a city where apartheid urban planning continues to demarcate wealth, race and access, Very Real Time seeks to transcend boundaries and distance by 'connecting the dots'. Until recently the project has primarily taken the form of residencies focusing on the production of performative collaborations between artists and the local residents.
Since 2018, Very Real Time has been active in Atlantis, a town of roughly 70 000 inhabitants. Located 40 km north of Cape Town (2 hours by bus), Atlantis was built by the apartheid government in the 1980’s for people classified as ‘coloured’. The town is divided into five gang turfs, making it difficult for adolescents to finish school as they must cross opposing gang territories. They get drawn into gangs, or drop out of school to avoid them. Child pregnancy and violence against women are very high. Dance and music are strong elements in the culture.
We collaborate with and support existing community structures which protect youth from violence, help them finish high school and build their artistic and professional capacities. Our main partners are community dance groups, church groups, and organisations run by local youth activists.
The problem for all our collaborators is the lack of spaces to carry out their activities. For this reason, one of our central projects is the creation of a 580 m2 Youth Centre to provide a roof for these activities.