top of page

Nocturnal Heterotopias: Prototyping the Event Place for Otherness

Thelma Ndebele


Transformative Pedagogy Prize 


Sarah De Villiers, Dr. Huda Tayob,

Naadira Patel, Adam Osman


18 - Hyperreal Prototypes



@thelmmms or @dormantyouth

This research project aims to create spaces for those deemed Other (queer individuals whose sexuality and/or gender performance transgress(es) existing heteronormative ideas of personal identity, still prevalent in present day, urban settings), and their associated music subcultures. The insistent creation of these spaces is a reaction to the lack of non-mainstream/underground performance venues in nocturnal, post-apartheid Johannesburg (underground referring to independent or community-based electronic music scenes). These proposed spaces are prototypical installations: temporary set designs situated in Johannesburg CBD, crafted using a combination of light, music, film and various materials to both house and record instances of interpersonal interaction and embodied experience.

Events and conditions surrounding the growing Ballroom subculture involving LGBTQ+ youth in South Africa are used as prompts for contextualising and basing the multi-sensorial sets proposed. This is done through drawing out Ballroom event prototypes while also designing the experience around two types of people who make up this electronic music subculture. These are then digitally inserted into the speculated venue, the Old Park City Concourse (b. 1926), insurgent and hidden among the everyday Johannesburg, thus reimagining this pre-existing architectural shell. The interactions that happen in/around the installations are digitally documented, using film and writing, to relay overlooked social and spatial narratives uncovered and created.

Queering, Folding, and Scripting the Concourse. Ndebele, T. Unit 18. 2020.

Vogue Nights Jozi Zine: Mapping the Intersectional. Ndebele, T. Unit 18. 2020.

Form Follows Fantasy. Ndebele, T. Unit 18. 2020.

Postcards From Otherwhere. Ndebele, T. Unit 18. 2020.

Introducing: The Phantom of a DJ's Hands as an Extension of the Ear to Aid the Untrained Eye. Ndebele, T. Unit 18. 2020.

Anchor 1
bottom of page