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Doung Anwar Jahaanger’s City Walk Analysis

1422 words - 6 pages

I was given the task of capturing Doung Anwar Jahaanger’s “City Walk”. To be able to understand how to capture something like this, I will be looking at exactly what the City Walk is, how it has functioned and the ideas surrounding it before going into my argument of how it should be captured, recorded and displayed.

Doung Anwar Jahaanger is a Mauritian-born architect and artist living in Durban. He has tried to broaden his idea of architecture and focuses very much on the idea of space, he believes in “A space that unites rather than walls that divide – an architecture without walls” (Jahaanger n.d.). Jahaanger started the City Walk initiative in 2000 when people began to tell him where he shouldn’t walk, they spoke about areas of the city being dangerous and in a way began to condemn them, setting up mental walls and boundaries. When he began to walk through those areas he was surprised, he began to engage with the city and the people in it, they were open and spoke to him and when he came back the next day they remembered his name. His walk thought the city has since evolved, it is now one of dala’s initiatives and walks have taken place in Johannesburg, London, Copenhagen and Amsterdam.

Sean O'Toole, a Johannesburg based writer and the editor of stated that “the Citywalk is simply a long winding walk through Durban. The walk starts in Cato Manor, an informal settlement known for its role in the 1949 Indian-African riots, the 1959 beer hall riots and the 1960 massacre of nine policemen. It ends on Durban's beachfront promenade”(O’Toole 2004). However the City Walk becomes more than just a simple walk through the city, it is a freeing and enlightening experience, it is about looking both looking deeply at your surroundings and at the people within them. The Walk also of coarse looks at spaces and begins to start speaking about people creating spaces within the city. In Michel de Certeau’s text “Walking in the City” he states that “Their intertwined paths give shape to spaces. They weave places together” (97: 1988). In another article written by Isabelle Anne Abraham titled Architecture Without Walls she states that “The initiative examines how people negotiate themselves in spaces. The walkers immerse themselves in micro-elements: the crack in a wall, the point where the pavement meets the street” (Abraham 2012). The walk deals with self awareness and people begin to look at themselves; and try and situate themselves in relation to the urban city, which very often is seen as a blur though a car window. Jahaanger begins to try and move art outside of a gallery space and into the public.

The walk itself is a performative act so trying to give the viewer the full experience of the walk itself through documentation is hard to achieve. I propose that one way of capturing the walk would be through documenting the experiences of the people who have done it, getting the participants to a short statement after the walks of how...

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