29_Mapping Memory / 2006 (C/D)
Constitution Hill, Johannesburg.
The project brought ex-prisoners who were imprisoned in the Women's Jail and Number Four back to the site to give material form to memories that have been made fragile by the passage of time. From the inception of the heritage site at Constitution Hill, it has been our curatorial intention for the exhibitions to grow and develop as new layers of information emerge and more memories surface. After the opening of the site to the public, we set about finding new ways to expand the reservoir of memory with the former prisoners. Given that we now had a basic understanding of how the prisons had functioned, we wanted the process to become more intimately focused on the prisoners’ experiences and to be directed as much as possible by the prisoners’ themselves. We had to find mechanisms through which memories that have been deeply suppressed or erased or perverted could be legitimated in the public realm with the former prisoners in charge of the process. We were keen to explore new languages and new material forms in which to express memories of this place.