Fortnightly Highlight 3: There Are Other Ways

Dear friends,

This third Fortnightly Highlights is dedicated to The Showroom Mural commission: Notes to Self (Intimate 1) by Simnikiwe Buhlungu. While The Showroom’s doors continue to be closed, Buhlungu’s mural remains on our emblematic facade, albeit visible only to those in the neighbourhood with a view from their windows or passing by on the street.

Below we share a collection of materials selected by Simnikiwe in conversation with The Showroom team, in particular from the Communal Knowledge archive, as an opportunity to open up aspects of the research behind the commission whilst enabling the work to continue to have a presence and resonance online; translated and extended into digital space.

New audio recordings from the call-and-response sonic engagement conceived by Simnikiwe as an integral aspect of the project in which passers by have recorded their ‘notes to self’ via a tape recorder embedded in The Showroom’s facade have been transferred from analogue tape to digital audio file, edited by Simnikiwe and uploaded to the website. The first of these audio fragments are now available to listen in The Library.

Additionally, and available online for the duration that the commission remains on the facade, Simnikiwe shares her research recording, Mixtapenyana (Side C) ; a sonic precursor to the mural commission recorded during her residency at Wysing Arts Centre in the summer of 2019, as part of the Future Assembly residency between London, Cambridge, and Lagos, Nigeria alongside Wysing’s Artist-in-Residence Exchange.

Take care,
Lily Hall
Assistant Curator, The Showroom


Simnikiwe Buhlungu


LOOK: The Showroom Mural Commission: Notes to Self (Intimate 1) by Simnikiwe Buhlungu

LISTEN: Notes to Self (Intimate 1), Mixtape 1 by Simnikiwe Buhlungu

LISTEN: Notes To Self: Mixtapenyana (Side C) by Simnikiwe Buhlungu 

Image: Fiery pool of Asphalt, 2017. Courtesy of Alberto Duman

Book Launch and Symposium: Regeneration Songs: Sounds of Investment and Loss from East London

In November 2018 we held a one-day symposium on the occasion of the launch of Regeneration Songs: Sounds of Investment and Loss from East London. Editors Alberto Duman, Dan Hancox, Malcolm James and Anna Minton presented papers followed by a conversation between artists Dean Kenning and Jessie Brennan

Simnikiwe Buhlungu selected this publication for the shelves of her research library in The Showroom Studio. The book became a reference in the planning stages of her commission whilst installing the mural on-site at The Showroom in September 2019.


Image: The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON, 2012. Photo: Daniel Brooke

EXHIBITION: The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON

The Grand Domestic Revolution (GDR) is an ongoing ‘living research’ project initiated by Casco – Office for Art, Design and Theory, Utrecht as a multi-faceted exploration of the domestic sphere to imagine new forms of living and working in common.

Inspired by US late nineteenth-century ‘material feminist’ movements that experimented with communal solutions to isolated domestic life and work, the GDR saw artists, designers, domestic workers, architects, gardeners, activists and others collaboratively experiment with and re-articulate the domestic sphere, challenging traditional and contemporary divisions of private and public.

At The Showroom an exhibition of contemporary and historical artworks and a diverse and growing reference library formed a base for workshops and events that developed the GDR further, while they forged connections and affinities with The Showroom’s ongoing programme of neighbourhood-based commissions Communal Knowledge.

Image: Christian Nyampeta, The Reading Room, Performance Documentation, 2012. Photo: Emilie Lindsten

The Reading Room by Christian Nyampeta functioned as a solitary reading room where it was possible to read out loud in the library during The Grand Domestic Revolution GOES ON at The Showroom. The readings were recorded and stored.

The mobile Reading Room made a procession around the Church Street Neighbourhood. Selected extracts from the texts in the GDR Library were read aloud and recorded en-route, before returning to The Showroom, where informal readings and recordings continued. There was then an open invitation to select, compile and produce instant zines photocopied from books in the GDR Library. The ensuing zines and recordings will generate further encounters and occasions.


Image: Chimurenga, The Chimurenga Library, 2015. Courtesy of The Showroom

In October 2015 The Showroom and The Otolith Collective presented the Cape Town-based outfit Chimurenga. For their first UK presentation, Chimurenga infiltrated The Showroom’s building in the form of The Chimurenga Library, inserting themselves into the existing frameworks, functions and structures of the space without displacing its everyday activities.

For the first five days, The Chimurenga Library hosted the Pan African Space Station (PASS) – Chimurenga’s online music radio station and pop-up studio featuring a live broadcasting programme of music, interviews and events with Chimurenga collaborators in London including musicians, journalists, writers, curators and filmmakers. 

Bringing together existing work, research material and areas of interest whilst at the same time expanding focal points, the project represented a moment of activation, interaction and expansion within a mobile and complex network of geographical and organisational contexts.



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