A4 Arts Foundation website

A4 Arts Foundation homepage

A4 is an art center in Cape Town, South Africa that describes itself as a “laboratory” – a place to experiment with new ideas and new modes of working. A4 is one of the city’s three essential contemporary art museums, as well as an important curatorial residency and publisher.

The website is a network connecting communities, artists, images, exhibitions, publications, ephemera and fragments in ways that only A4 can envision. A4 calls the website “a place to find things and a place to get lost; a platform for structured engagements and incidental encounters.” It is an archive of past engagements and a tool for new research and ideas.

Paths index page
Paths are curated collections of database records, which let authors sequence references or artifacts, and lead the user through the site thematically.
Page for a path titled "A library of libraries"
One path consists of a curator’s footnotes to an exhibition. As A4 writes, “The site’s contents and mechanisms make visible curatorial practice, revealing the often unseen corners of exhibition-making and -thinking.”
The path lightbox
The path lightbox
Screenshot 2024 05 02 at 12.05.50 pm
The website offers many ways into the archive. The database area allows for browsing records in a structured way.
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Users can find everything (artworks, people, references) related to a particular exhibition, for example.
The “dream state” offers users an image-based dérive, a way to explore A4 in an intuitive, purely visual way. A4 says: “Dream states offer alternative, wandering ways to engage our image archive; a way to get lost.”
Screenshot 2024 05 02 at 12.32.35 pm
The Reader is a publishing tool for long-form writing, interviews, short stories and other projects.
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Some texts support exhibitions or other programs in the space; others are commissioned from writers in residence or artists.

At the start of the project, A4 presented us with a vast archive built in Airtable – thousands of artworks, ephemera, notes, images, and projects. A4 staff and collaborators use Airtable as an archive, a tool for project management, a resource from which to draw inspiration, and a place to store in-process notes and ideas.

Our website integrates with the Airtable database, serving as the interface between the experimental activities of A4 and the public.

Year: 2024  Client: A4 Arts Foundation
All work