Tomorrow There Will Be More of Us: Art as a Contact Zone

by Sven Christian

The title of the inaugural Stellenbosch Triennale, Tomorrow There Will Be More Of Us (2020), reads like a proclamation—a statement of intent, assurance, solidarity. Premised on the understanding of love as “a revolutionary act,”[i] it conjures up a field of budding flowers (almost, but not quite in bloom). After Pablo Neruda, “Spring is rebellious.”[ii] Tomorrow There Will Be More Of Us is thus also a position, a provocation. It possesses the cinematic confidence of a last stand—the holding of ground and the inevitable influx of reinforcements. As described by chief curator, Khanyisile Mbongwa, Stellenbosch is “inherently sick.”[iii] Like the rest of South Africa—indeed, the world—it remains paralyzed by inequality, intolerance, and denial. The question posed is how to heal, how to find a point of “mutual coexistence on terrain that is contested.”[iv]


Although brought to a premature close after South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a National State of Disaster (March 15, 2020), the curatorial vision of the Triennale has since taken on a profound, almost prophetic urgency. On March 26, 2020, South Africa went into lock-down. For three weeks, all citizens were required, by law, to stay inside their homes. These were precautionary measures, adopted to avoid the crippling effects of COVID-19 on our population and public health systems. At the time of writing, the outcome is unknown, yet as Yuval Noah Harari points out, short-term solutions implemented in times of crisis have a habit of becoming the norm: “That is the nature of emergencies. They fast-forward historical processes.”[v]



5 Feb 2020