High Tension Works
art interventions in Ayigya-Zongo, Kumasi, 2011
Rex Akinruntan, Ralitsa Diana Debrah and HMJokinen
in cooperation with
Dankwa Kwabena Ampadu, Epilogue Annku, Ayasco, Charlie Michaels and S. Daniel Ohene
Urban space is full of signs with various meanings, offers, and regulations. Some symbols even touch the very human rights of citizens.
In Ayigya-Zongo, many homes have been painted with big red X's to signify that they should be torn down. The buildings were marked by the Volta Region Authority V.R.A. when they built the high tension tower amidst the neighbourhood. For the people in Ayigya-Zongo the red X means forced eviction.
The residents complain that they were not even informed about the possible health risks associated with high tension, like cancer and heart diseases. When it rains, water falls down on the corrugated iron sheet roofs which tremble with the high voltage. Due to the wet metal surface, the risk of electrical shocks is high, especially for the children. Parents also worry about their children who have been climbing to the top of the tower (see also Dankwa Kwabena Ampadu's work DANGER!). The inhabitants of Ayigya protest against danger of high tension and against forced evictions emphasizing the fact that the people lived there before the tower was erected.
The small plastic sachets, which are used in Ghana for drinking water, as well as plastic shopping bags became Rex Akinruntan's installation material. The artist joined hundreds of these plastic sachets and bags to long sheets, and wrapped them around the metal legs of the high tension tower up to a height where children and grownups cannot reach the bare and dangerous metal surface. Thus the sheets of the recycled plastic material served as semi-insulators. The installative coverage aimed to create awareness of the fact that the tower is hazardous, adressing both the residents of Ayigya as well as the electricity authority in charge.
Meanwhile Ralitsa Diana Debrah suggested to paint over the red X's on the house walls near the tower with red check marks, signifying to the authorities that these houses have the right to stay.
HMJokinen together with the commercial painter Ayasco created two billboards featuring the texts of two paragraphs of the Constitution of Ghana. The constitution clearly guarantees the privacy of home and property (18, chapter 5) and turns on deprivation of property by the state (20, chapter 5). Rex Akinruntan painted red X's on two more billboards. The four panels were planned to be fixed on the high tension tower remembering of the constitutional rights of the residents as well as signifying that the tower must go, not the people. Unfortunately, the signs were never mounted due to rainy stroms in Kumasi during our time there. The risk of electric shock would have been too great while climbing the wet tower to attatch the signs.

Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms Protection of Privacy of Home and Other Property 18, Chapter Five:
"(2) No person shall be subjected to interference with the privacy of his home or property."

Constitution of the Republic of Ghana
Fundamental Human Rights and Freedoms
Protection from Deprivation of Property
20, Chapter Five:
"(1) No property of any description or interest in or right over any property shall be compulsorily taken possession of or acquired by the state."

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