The project proposed for this year’s ICA Fellowship is the archive & augmented reality experience of the Virtual Bassmint, an online electronic music party curated by myself, DORMANTYOUTH. This experiential archive is set in a series of fictional rooms modelled after parkades and basement parking spaces found around Johannesburg. Due to the real, tangible spaces that this online venue is based on being temporal and non-anthropocantric in function, its appropriation for this super specific subcultural gathering is not only appropriate but ideal for this type of event (as seen throughout the history of rave/youth culture, especially within marginalised communities).

This venue is to be explored and ‘walked’ around using keyboard and mouse controls, moving from room to room while the user experiences the 45 minute recordings of each performance, spanning from the beginning of lockdown. Performances focus more on more recent Virtual Bassmint shows because of the quality of sound recording. Performances by local and international underground/independent DJs, producers, and visual artists are displayed and archived in this Parkade Project, cementing their relevance and importance of experiences of the ‘Other’ within this speculated symbolic structure of post-capitalist urbanity.


This work is an online archive of the recordings made of live performances done by local & international underground club music producers, DJs, & fans. This archive sits within the broader scope of DORMANTYOUTH’s argument regarding the need for more venues to support this kind of club music in South Africa. Due to these performances being done during DORMANTYOUTH’s masters research year, this work also finds home within the broader themes of the abstract for their dissertation titled ‘Nocturnal Heterotopias: Prototyping the Event Place for Otherness’.


Thelma Ndebele

DORMANTYOUTH is the alias of Thelma Ndebele, a masters graduate (GSA, UJ) whose interest lies in music as an alternative translation of place, as well as an archive of lived space. Their research and observations made at the GSA have culminated in them regarding music as a metric of place, specifically in (sub)cultures that can be identified by the music produced and consumed by said social groups. When DJing, DORMANTYOUTH gravitates to electronically-produced bass music, especially interested in sounds that boom from underground scenes in rarely observed, musically, parts of the world. As an architecture student DJing at identity specific events such as Vogue Nights Jozi and Pussy Party, this role has become a method of research that provides access to a particularly unique landscape of contemporary Johannesburg nightlife. This role as DORMANTYOUTH allows them to shape interactions between body and space via music, providing an eye-opening lens on how greatly sound can affect (the use of) architectural spaces.

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