South Africa: Crossing the River Without a Bridge

Martha Rosler (USA)

Istanbul Archaeological Museums


“Design has come roaring back for so many reasons… Design signals its desire to think past the complexities of human societies and, with this overarching concept, avoid disciplinary compartmentalization. But this move suggests the transfer of agency from the many to the few: a philosophico-technical cadre, perhaps. If we remark that ‘we’ have designed this model of humanity, which is by all measures far from a humane one, we are begging the question of who might ‘we’ be, and fundamentally whether the deeply inbuilt structural inequalities and heedless cruelties can be thought through by means of design, or whether we need to use an entirely different, more conceptually incisive and historically rooted measure, one more prescriptive and less instrumental sounding, no matter what its claims to potency might be.”  –MR

South Africa: Crossing the River Without a Bridge by New York based artist Martha Rosler is a newly completed 1 hour 8 minute video work based on the tapes from her time teaching and working with community groups in South Africa a few months after Nelson Mandela’s release in 1990. In its relentless movement through spaces and conversations, it presents a multi-dimensional portrait of housing injustice in action, following Rosler’s 1989 pivotal declaration that “Housing is a Human Right.”