Visibility and invisibility are fundamentally social categories that reflect and shape social acknowledgement, acceptance, and interaction. The relevance of intervisibility between urban dwellers as a mode of negotiating social tensions, racism, or gender-related aggressions becomes apparent in particular situations in public space. Performance artists in Johannesburg, such as Anthea Moys and Athi-Patra Ruga, relate to these situations by performing well-elaborated roles in specific social and territorial settings. They bring somewhat invisible discourses, ideas, and notions of normativity into social visibility. Johannesburg is a city marked by enormous political and social shifts accompanied by a strong persistence of normative ideas, partly deriving from the former segregationist politics during apartheid. In rendering these mental topographies visible through their artistic practice, the performance artists offer moments of renegotiation on diverse levels of social (in)visibility and unlock spaces for potentially new modes of perception and public agency.


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pp. 163-176
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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