Every year theMAAK, a design-lead architecture studio based in Woodstock, Cape Town, facilitates an experimental Design & Make programme called Follies in the Veld (FITV). During the fast-paced two-week course they collaborate with other makers, thinkers and doers to collectively design and build a large scale folly (a temporary spatial installation). Each year a specific site and a unique material is used as the departure point for the hands-on creative programme. This year an open public space next to the Old Pass Museum in Langa was chosen as the site and full project team worked with Tetra Pak (juice/ milk carton) to build this year’s Folly.
Langa-based creative collective OurWorkshop and Cape Town based artist/educator Amy Rusch were included as co-facilitators of the FITV 2019 course. Working with theMAAK, there was an overarching theme of “working with waste materials” (hence the decision to use Tetra Pak as the primary building resource). The process and outcomes of this year’s programme are hoped to illustrate a more proactive approach/ understanding of what “waste” is with the idea of empowering, educating, and prompting dialogue with others around the topic. This is something that this is especially relevant in low-income areas where creatives might not have access to either the capital or infrastructure required to work with anything else (such as Langa, the location for this year’s FITV).
As a part of the broader social agenda of theMAAK “to help make quality design more accessible/inclusive in SA”, this year’s FITV programme was hosted in Langa (a low-income area in Cape Town), with half of the workshops participants being creatives from the local community. Together with a range of other collaborators the mixed crowd, brought together during this year’s programme, created a unique platform for likeminded people of different skills, background, class, and race to exchange, share, and learn together.
A clear priority of this year’s course was to help foster a more dynamic “culture of use” for public spaces in developing communities. Most
low-income areas have access to open public land, but the same spaces often lack any meaningful activation. Even though the outcomes of this year’s FITV are temporary, the project team hope that the final build will prompt positive attention toward how to better address our public spaces and embrace them as the community assets that they can be (versus “static no-man lands”). The swooping Tetra Pak canopies that were built this year actively reflect this attitude, and the programmes final folly has already been positively received/ engaged with by the broader public and Langa community.
FITV going forward
This year was the first sojourn of FITV into an urban/public arena. This is something theMAAK hope to expand on in years to come and are looking forward to seeing how they can harness the creative and collaborative energy of the programme to design and build more social impact. Perhaps a new public theatre venue, an outdoor cinema, or an open space for learning? In this light, they are always looking for new and interesting people/ organisations to enter into this conversation. Interested? Got an idea? Get in touch with theMAAK via firstname.lastname@example.org