Blurry Lines on a Plan: Uitvalgrond (No-mans land) in Johannesburg

“The essential thing is to etch movements in the sky, movements so still they leave no trace. The essential thing is simplicity. That is why the long path to perfection is horizontal.” – Philippe Petit in Man on Wire (2008)


It is in the fleeting act of precariously straddling a no-man’s land that an awareness of two sides is created. The isolation on each side of the boundary is not understood until one moves through the threshold to a vastly different environment on the other side. 

Buffers and walls are tangibly divisive devices between races, ethnicities, faiths and belief systems, economic brackets, and ideologies. In a seemingly innocent and neutral zone (though nothing is ever innocent and neutral), that of the sky, the drone view captures glimpses of people and goods clustering, shifting, and traversing expansive left-over territories at the seams of the city. 

As an ongoing supporting practice to our work, Counterspace continues to pursue documentation of some of Johannesburg’s most interesting edges, curious of the fascinating rituals and dynamic negotiations of territory, seen in the fleeting plane of the plan-view.