SAS Somerset & Other War Stories by Stephen Hobbs

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From 2 April

Twenty Fifty
1st Floor, 8 Spin Street, Cape Town


Thursday 2 April, 4pm


Thursday 2 April, 5-9pm


The SAS Somerset is an Iziko Maritime Museum artefact and the world’s last remaining Boom Defense Vessel, moored behind the Two Oceans Aquarium at The V&A Waterfront. This installation by Stephen Hobbs, in collaboration with David Krut Projects, represents the pre-production state of a series of performances on the vessel, which is a project still in development. The installation will demonstrate a unique and dynamic use of dazzle patterning and lighting onto a mock assemblage of the SAS Somerset; a spectacle conceived to enliven and transform the perception of the vessel’s significance in location and history.

The project fulfills Hobbs’ long-time objective to artistically interpret two experimental periods in marine war tactics, namely, Razzle Dazzle Camouflage – a painted technique depicting a zebra-like pattern of inter-crossing lines and shapes – and Diffused Lighting Camouflage – where projectors mounted on a vessel change the colouration of a ship, and therefore alter the relationship of the ship to its surrounds.

Hobbs’ approach is based on his historical research of the vessel, its function and its appearance during war times. This research and his fascination with urban and natural camouflage, merge in a re-imagining of the vessel. The anticipated performance is conceived as a playful re-reading of these camouflage applications, which acknowledges the historical role that artists have played in creating deception in the battlefield.

SAS Somerset & Other War Stories provides a counterpoint to Hobbs’ solo exhibition, Permanent Culture, an elaborate multi-media revelry in the optical and psychological effects of camouflage, which opened at David Krut Projects Cape Town in February 2015. Works from Permanent Culture will be on view alongside the installation for the duration of this pop-up exhibition.

For further information, contact Jacqueline on +27 (0) 21 685 0676 or [email protected].


Through an extended practice of urban investigation and experimentation, focused particularly on Johannesburg since 1994, Hobbs has sustained a dialogue with urban space through video, installation, special curated projects and an interrelated approach to photography and sculpture. Hobbs’ particular fascination with the conflicted social and political changes in Johannesburg has resulted in numerous observations on the precarious state of cities undergoing radical physical change.

Stephen Hobbs graduated from Wits University with a BAFA in 1994. He was the curator of the Market Theatre Galleries from 1994 to 2000. Since 2001, he has co-directed the artist collaborative and public art specialist – The Trinity Session, The Gallery Premises (closed 2008) at the Joburg Theatre, and since 2004 has coproduced varied urban and network focused projects, with Marcus Neustetter, as Hobbs/Neustetter.


David Krut Projects has locations in Johannesburg, Cape Town and New York. It is an alternative arts institution dedicated to encouraging an awareness of and careers in the arts and related literature and media, and to promoting contemporary culture in a dynamic, collaborative environment. In Johannesburg, there are exhibition project spaces and an adjacent bookstore located at 151 Jan Smuts Avenue; Arts on Main, the major arts hub adjacent to downtown Johannesburg; and the Montebello Design Centre in Newlands, Cape Town.


Twenty Fifty is a space for freelancers, digital nomads, and small teams to come together, do what they do best, and realise their full potential. Our members learn from each other, support each other, and often work together. The first floor of Twenty Fifty is a gallery space which hosts exhibitions, talks, parties, launches, screenings, workshops, ping-pong tournaments, and even film shoots.

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