The book reflects upon the process and products of the Hotel Yeoville project. It documents and articulates a particular approach to Art practice in the public domain; a way of working in the world that turns ‘audience’ into ‘actors’; where experience and social interaction take precedence over documentary or observation. We unpack the project’s starting points, philosophical underpinnings, our intentions, and a sense of the context. We describe our engagement, some acts of resistance, and the body of work produced. This book also binds the work. Itself a new object and product of the project, it is a point of navigation through the many inter-related processes that brought the work into being, and the one place where these are re-presented and interpreted in relation to each other.


Hotel Yeoville was a participatory public art project, conceptualised and directed by artist Terry Kurgan. It was based online and in the public library of the old suburb of Yeoville on the eastern edge of Johannesburg’s inner city. Kurgan developed the project in collaboration with a diverse group of people working across a range of disciplines. It comprised a website (the interactive precursor to this website as archive), a photo wall and a series of booths in which members of the public were invited to offer stories about themselves through mapping, video, photography and text, using various digital interfaces and social media applications. Over the course of a year, Hotel Yeoville came to represent an extraordinarily intimate and multi-layered document of a segment of this diverse community, most of whom are immigrants from all across the African continent. The project engaged with and confronted assumptions about representation and its relationship to citizenship, truth, knowledge and power. Its stories are a small but unusual record of the complexities of everyday life in a rapidly evolving city.

This collection of essays, photographs and other texts represents and extends what began as an interactive art project and evolved into a multi-platform archive of urban life. The book presents new critical perspectives on contemporary artistic research and practice, and is a remarkable documentation of the complex set of negotiations – between artists, residents, consultants and audience – that brought the work into being. Essays by Aida Sánchez de Serdio, Alexander Opper, Alexandra Dodd, Caroline Wanjiku Kihato, Godfrey Tshis Talabulu, Jason Hobbs, John Spiropoulos, Justice Malala, Tegan Bristow, Terry Kurgan and Zen Marie.

You can order the book here.