Sean Metelerkamp’s ‘Street Melodies Eternal’ | Part 1: Cape Town

Sean Metelerkamp‘s work is frank, idiosyncratic and unabashedly investigates what it means to be human. For the first episode of Street Melodies Eternal – a three part choatic construction of Cape Town, New York and London – he made his way through the Mother City with a GoPro Hero2. The footage was filmed in 2011 and features no extraneous sounds. We’re sharing a re-release of the Cape Town film here today, to be followed by the New York and London episodes as they make their online debuts over the next two weeks.

The project offers a raw reality check into the state of mind and movement of three cities. Sean tells us more:

“The shooting process was not thought out or structured in any way. I had no idea what I was doing or trying to achieve at the time, but on reflection the videos present the rhythms and cracked up wisdom as a direct link to the movement and mind of the respective cities, and problems that the countries find themselves in. In short, homeless people are the evidence of the failure of an idea.

In Cape Town, the legacy of apartheid and the ‘dop system’ still permeate heavily through generations of black and coloured people. As a matter of interest, you find hardly any Kenyan, Somalian, Zimbabwean, Congolese, Malawian, Bangladeshi or Asian homeless people in the city who have immigrated over the past twenty years. It is mostly South African coloured, black and a few whites that waste away beside the gutters. People generally think that it is their fault that they are homeless without thinking about the broader context of our complex country, the drainbow nation.

Serious shit aside, I must remark that almost all of the interactions I had with the homeless were more jolly and honest than those with men in suits. The poor will always suffer by those that misuse positions of power. All of our interactions matter. The problem is that our emotional palette (namely compassion), through the manipulation of negative emotions, has been retarded. I know mine has, but I am trying to fix that.

Perhaps, in some strange way, through the uncomfortable process of making these videos, and now sharing them years later, they have done that for me. It disturbs and comforts me to the acute degree that I must question my position and negotiate the space. I am currently the poorest I have ever been and hopping from couch to couch, but because of the other projects, and Street Melodies Eternal, that I have been doing for the past five years I feel super enriched and awake and ready to be challenged in order to learn.”

Look out for Street Melodies Eternal New York on 24 November and London on 1 December.

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