Thursday, June 4, 2020

Platform Number 5: Paul Emmanuel

Paul Emmanuel
Platform Number 5
Manière noire stone lithograph, hand printed, hand coloured,
signed, numbered and dated by the artist
(TLC Extension Collection, 2020, South Africa)

Overview: Lithograph, organized as a triptych,  of  passengers passing through the revolving turnstiles at Park Station underground in Johannesburg, the largest rail station on the African continent.  To the right, blurred shapes signal the movement of people through the station.

Artist's Statement: In 2007, I photographed commuters passing through the turnstiles at Park Station, Johannesburg. I was drawn to this metallic boundary of revolving gates, signalling their arrival or departure, symbolising a threshold ‘between two worlds’. It occurred to me that these turnstiles marked the liminal point at which people gave up or took on the status of ‘traveller’.

I left the camera shutter open for a few seconds, so that the light-sensitive film captured their movement across the threshold, tracking the light from their bodies in a blur, as trails of insubstantial ghosts. I was transfixed by their fleeting, ephemeral presence and it occurred to me that we are all passengers on our way from someplace to somewhere else. Our lives are constantly in a state of flux.

Using the photographs as references, I then spent 3 months painstakingly scratching the transient images into a layer of black ink on a large flat limestone with a tiny blade, working from dark to light. I then hand-printed an edition of lithographs directly off this scratched surface and hand-coloured the prints afterwards.

Today, looking back on these images, I remember how smoothly people crossed over this threshold, seemingly without hindrance. No masks were worn, no compulsory hand sanitisers were sprayed, no social distancing was enforced. Daily, thousands of anonymous, unmasked passengers from disparate communities shared the same public space and traveller status, breathed the same air and touched the same surfaces without fear of contracting COVID-19.

What kind of world are we leaving behind? What kind of world are we moving towards?

Paul Emmanuel
Platform Number 5
Detail (middle section
Pamela Allara; Throughout his career, one of the artist Paul Emmanuel’s primary concerns has been the construction of masculinity. In 2008, a stunning traveling exhibition, “Transitions,” premiered at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg. Consisting of 5 suspended frames containing 5 drawings each, the installation presented moments of transition toward the securing of masculinity, from the circumcision of an infant, to marriage, to military service and finally to the physical decline of old age. Because each ritual action was depicted in 5 phases, there could be no ‘decisive moment’ when masculinity was firmly fixed. Rather, maintaining one’s gender identity as male was revealed to require repeated trials over a lifetime. The fifth series of drawings was an abrupt ‘transition’ from the intimacy and closeness of the first four. In platform number 5, we are taken to the turnstile of a railway station, where through the time lapse exposure of the photographic sources for the drawings, we see blurred figures passing through the barriers, for the most part coming toward us.

In both the original 5 drawings, and in the resulting lithograph, we cannot see faces or clothing, and so, and in the end the gender identity of the blurred, ghostly figures is irrelevant. In this image, everything is in transit, nothing stable. As we viewers mentally join the spectral crowd on its quotidian travels, we are invited to confront the transitions in our own lives, in our sense of our own identity.

This evocative lithograph was completed nearly a decade ago, but has renewed relevance today. This time of stasis, when daily activities such as commuting, have been discontinued, is equally a time of transition, one where there is little sense of what the future might look like when the pandemic has passed. Journalists who have chosen to write about this moment have all commented that this suspended moment has provided the time for introspection, the examination of one’s identity and that of society at large. The liminal figures in platform number 5, their destinations unclear, ask us to look inward as well. After all, everything else is a blur.

Paul Emmanuel
Platform Number 5
Detail (left section)
Mark Auslander: Gazing at Paul Emmanuel's three-sectioned lithograph, I am reminded of Arnold van Gennep's classic anthropological study, Les Rites de Passage (1909).  Van Gennep notes, in an insight famously developed by Victor Turner (1967), that ceremonies of life transition around the world are divided into three components:

(1) a period of separation, of radical rupture from everyday conventions and surroundings (for example, a bride just before her wedding being secluded away);

(2) a 'liminal period,' betwixt and between the conventional orientations of normal experience, in which images and performances may be highly exaggerated and abstracted (such as the bride walking down the aisle, in between the states of  being unmarried and married, wearing the most elaborate and hyperbolic of costumes); and,

(3) the period of reaggregation, in which the person being transformed is reintegrated into ordinary life, albeit at a higher or deeply altered status than where they started (the bride reunited with the groom, now a married couple, as they joyously exit the chapel). Everything is the same, yet everything is different.  

Paul Emmanuel
Platform Number 5
Detail (middle section, lower)
The passengers moving through Paul's train station, the largest rail station in all of Africa, undergo their own miniature rite of passage, separated from their ordinary conditions, then they enter into the intermediate status of being passengers, then they are returned to more conventional frameworks of spatial and temporal  experience. These tripartite structures are recursive, and take place simultaneously at higher and lower scales. Thus, the entire experience of being in the metrorail system can be thought of as a liminal period, while punctuated by smaller liminal periods in threshold zones, such as passing through the turnstile or alighting or disembarking from a train, or even the entire train journey itself.

Viewed retroactively,  Platform Number 5 speaks to our current COVID-19 predicament, which is itself structured as a kind of grand, if unscripted, rite of passage.  We have been separated from the world we thought we knew, and now find ourselves in an extended liminal period, as we look forward to an eventual period of reintegration, although we can't yet quite envision what that might look like.   We might even, now, be inclined to apprehend the turnstiles as time machines, transporting each unwitting passenger from the innocent days before before masks and sanitizers into our perilous era.

Paul Emmanuel
Platform Number 5
Detail (right section)
Alternately, Platform Number 5, through our current eyes,  can be viewed a collective descent into our present-day intermediate condition, the gateway into our modern Purgatory, with little sense of when in fact we might re-emerge from Limbo into the light.  The division of the lithograph into three sections could thus be read from left to right as a kind of summary of our past, our liminal present, and hoped-for future.

Viewing the image from through our present-day eyes, the third field, to the far right, could be seen as our suddenly obscure future. How appropriate that it is filled with an indistinct and blurred swirl of human energy, the fog of the world yet to be. Through the artist's translation of time lapse photography, we behold a miniature Twister that will, like Dorothy and Toto in the Wizard of Oz, lift us high into the storm before returning us to a world that is strangely familiar, and yet emphatically, not Kansas anymore.


Victor Turner.  1967. Betwixt and Between: The Liminal Period in Rites de Passage.  In The Forest of Symbols: aspects of Ndembu Ritual.  Cornell University Press.

Arnold van Gennep. 1909.  (2019) The Rites of Passage. The University of Chicago Press. 

For more information:
#TLCExtensionCollection #ArtForGood #TheLockdownCollection


  1. HERPES 
    God bless Doctor Dr. DADA for helping me cure my herpes disease. Brethren, I have suffered from herpes for a long period of time, i have tried so many remedies, but none seems to work. But I had contact with a herbal doctor who I saw so many people testifying on how they were all cured of their various diseases and viruses by this doctor. So I explained my entire problem to him, and he promised to cure me. So I gave him all the benefit of doubt, and behold he prepared the herbal mixture, and sent it to me in my country. Today, I am proud to say I am herpes free, and my life has been restored to normal. So in case you are out there suffering from herpes and other diseases or viruses, I want to tell you to quickly contact: Dr DADA for your cure. His email is []  OR Whatsapp  +2349023126215 

  2. Hello Everyone out there,I am here to give my testimony about a Herbalist doctor who helped me . I was infected with HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS in 2011, i went to many hospitals for cure but there was no solution, so I was thinking how can I get a solution out so that my body can be okay. One day I was in the river side thinking where I can go to get solution. so a lady walked to me telling me why am I so sad and i open up all to her telling her my problem, she told me that she can help me out, she introduce me to a doctor who uses herbal medication to cure HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS and gave me his email, so i mail him. He told me all the things I need to do and also give me instructions to take, which I followed properly. Before I knew what is happening after two weeks the HERPES SIMPLEX VIRUS that was in my body got vanished . so if you are also heart broken and also need a help, you can also email him at {}
    or whatsapp him number: +2349038382931. or website is

    Contact him today and you will have a testimony...Good luck!

    Dr. OLIHA Also Cures:
    1. HIV/AIDS
    2. HERPES 1/2
    3. CANCER
    4. ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease)
    5. Hepatitis B
    6. chronic pancreatic
    7. Emphysema
    8. COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease

  3. I was Cured of genital warts. Herbal medicine eradicates the virus, symptoms & Outbreak totally from within and has no side effects ... This is real and i apply it just two weeks and tested Negative he cures all kind of diseases. Contact Dr Oliha on email   WhatsApp or call +2349038382931

  4. Do you need a quick loan?
    Have you been denied a bank loan?
    Do you need a loan during this pandemic?
    interest rate of 2% no matter your location
    Do you need a loan to solve your financial problems?
    If so, then you are in luck because my company lends for a short time and the interest rate is low. If you are interested, Kindly reply to us at (Whats App) number:+919394133968 Mr Jeffery.

  5. I don't have time beating around the bush, instead I go straight to the point.... So to you doubters I ain't expecting you all to believe my testimony but only the few chosen ones by God. In a short summary, I'm here to tell the whole world that I recently got cured from my long term herpes disease, both the HSV1 and HSV2 through the assistance of Herbalist doctor Oyagu I pray God continually blesses Dr Oyagu in all he does, because he is indeed a very good, nice and powerful doctor. I’m cured of herpes disease at last! Wow I'm so much in great joy because I've never in my life believed herbs works, but meeting doctor Oyagu was an eye opener and he made me believe that herpes truly got a complete cure. I used the doctor's herbal medicine for just two weeks and I was totally cured from both my HSV1 and HSV2. I'm so excited. For help and assistance in getting rid of your herpes virus you can Call/WhatsApp doctor Oyagu on his telephone number: +2348101755322 or for more inquiries you can as well contact the doctor on EMAIL:

  6. Are you battling with any health related issues or infection is not the end of your life, why not contact a herbal practitioner for cure Dr OLIHA has herbal remedies and permanent solution for all your health related problems. recommend him to you today only because i have also used his herbal medicine and it worked perfectly on my health problem, you can actually save yourself from giving your hard earned money to Scammers if only you can contact Dr OLIHA today for genuine and Permanent cure herbal products . Pls help share this post to save yourself and your love ones. Dr OLIHA is specialize in these areas, Permanent herbal supplements for anxiety and depression, HIV/AIDS, Diabetes, Epilepsy, Blood, Cancer, HPV, ALS, herpes etc. Email {}  or WhatsApp him on this Tell.Number +2349038382931

  7. Thanks to dr.ezomo for his good work I never w that ALS has cure, I was ALS over 3 :: am and  year now before I came across a comment about how dr.ezomo cure ALS and herpes disease but whey I saw it i have it in mind that he cant cure ALS I just decided to give it a try I contact him that night luckily to me he replied me, but I dont believe him I thought it was a scam but I still hold on to see the work of Dr ezomo if he is saying the truth he ask for some details about me i gave him all he needed and I waited to see his reply to my problem after all, he told me to go for check up and I went for ALS test I cant believe I was negative,am so happy and grateful to God for using Dr ezomo to cure me, that is the reason why i decided to write this wonderful testimony of our i was cured, i recommend Dr ezomo to you all around the world,contact him on his Email or WhatsApp number ‪+2349056460552
    dr.ezomo for helping me at this young age if you need help contact,
    He can also cure so many sickness
    {1}HIV And AIDS
    {4} Blood Cancer
    {5} HPV
    {6} ALS

  8. Hello everyone,
    I will tell you a secret of getting rich on bitcoin investment “a wise person should have money in their head , but not in the heart.. Everyday is a day of new decisions. Its your choice to be rich or to be poor & keep struggling, start making larger funds in 72 hours with a legit & pro trader like me,Investment plans are open now with a minimum investment of $200 you can earn $2000 in 72 hours.

    Invest $200 earn $2,000
    Invest $500 earn $5,000
    Invest $700 earn $7,000
    Invest $1,000 earn $10,000
    Invest $2,000 earn $20,000
    Invest $5,000 earn $50,000
    Invest $7,000 earn $70,000

    Do not miss this clear opportunity to achieve your financial freedom, those who are not ready to invest now are not ready to retire early, do not depend on a single source of income, let us trade for you today and start making profit for you. Kindly contact us Via WhatsApp: +1(252)285-2093 Email :

  9. I was tested Herpes positive and ever since then i have been taking different kinds of medicine but yet no improvement until i saw testimonies on the internet of how Robinson buckler has been curing different people from different kinds of diseases, immediately i contacted him. After our discussion he prepared the medicine and send it to me, which i received and took according to his instructions. Now my doctor just confirmed me HSV2 negative. My heart is so filled with joy, thank you so much Robinson buckler for curing me. If you are reading this and you are suffering from HSV or any other disease or you want to fix your broken marriage/relationship or maybe get back with your Ex husband, Ex wife, Boyfriend or girlfriend you can contact Robinson buckler on this Email address: []

  10. This is a miracle product.

    Very effective for herpes cure

    It can be used for Shingles, Cold sore, HPV, HSV1&2,

    You can contact R.buckler11 @ {{gmail}} com,, …………….