“There is nothing mysterious or natural about authority. It is formed, irradiated, disseminated; it is instrumental, it is persuasive; it has status, it establishes canons of taste and value; it is virtually indistinguishable from certain ideas it dignifies as true, and from traditions, perceptions and judgments it forms, transmits and reproduces. Above all, authority can, indeed must, be analyzed“ (Said, 1979: 20)
GIPCA considers notions of authority and nationhood in a five-day long event presented from 21- 25 September, in the City Hall.
In the Gordon Institute’s latest venture in combining stimulating, innovative practice with critical thinking, and providing space for discussion; writers, choreographers, social analysts, visual artists and dramatists come together to consider notions of Republic. The series of performances, exhibitions, discussions and film screenings around issues of nationhood, power, authority and the body politic will take place, significantly, in various rooms at the Cape Town City Hall – a space evocative of meanings around ‘Republic’ of all kinds.
Joined by writers and artists from outside the country, this event intends to touch on some of the salient ideas globally, while pursing issues of aesthetics and relevance from a local vantage point. Director of GIPCA, Jay Pather commented that “The connection between art-making and issues of nationhood and of authority is fertile ground and South African artists have historically brought much to bear on the subject internationally.”
Republic will host a number of discussions in association with Open Book Cape Town. International writers Jenny Erpenbeck, Feryal Ali Gauhar (UN Goodwill Ambassador) and Steven Galloway headline a series of writers who talk about their work; while critical thinkers Max du Preez, Jonathan Jansen, Neville Alexander and Antony Altbeker discuss pertinent subjects at the book launch of Opinion Pieces by South African Thought Leaders. The Human Rights Media Centre presents Looking Inside: Five South African stories of people living with Albinism.
The Cape Town première of award-winning choreographer Dada Masilo’s The Bitter End of Rosemary offers a challenging personal mediation of lack of agency and voice using literary heroines as a vehicle. Swiss dance company La Ribot, currently on tour in Southern Africa courtesy of Pro Helvetia Cape Town, will present their provocative work Laughing Hole – a performance lasting six hours and comprising 800 political posters.
Using the evocative spaces of the City Hall as frame, UCT Creative and Performing Arts students will present a series of mixed media performances and installations, the result of a workshop series led by artists such as Jay Pather, Vaughn Sadie, Athi-Patra Ruga, Ed Young and James Webb. Political satire Woza Andries?, directed by Christiaan Olwagen; acclaimed UCT production Seven, directed by Thenjiwe Stemela; and a performance by Donald Gordon Creative Arts Fellow, Lance Herman, also form part of the performance line-up.
The current state of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) is the subject of a series of three short videos, entitled Analogues – a new work by Donald Gordon Creative Arts Fellow, Simon Gush, made in collaboration with James Cairns. Kurt Campbell’s exhibition From the experiences of a South African Boxer in Britain uses the narrative of Black welterweight boxer Andrew Jeptha, to challenge traditional ideas of submission and silence. The Other Camera, curated by Paul Weinberg, highlights the prevalence of the self-sustaining subculture of street photography and will comprise selected work from this genre, and feature a portable studio run by Lindeka Qampi, where visitors to Republic can have their photographs taken. Film screenings, curated by Freddy Ogterop, feature a selection of documentary films from South Africa and the Cameroon, as well as the series Why Democracy?
Rounding up the extensive programme is a symposium convened by Rike Sitas that considers the work of artists as they take on issues of the Republic, authority, nationhood, art making and curation. Speakers include Egyptian activist and artist Philip Rizk, Zen Marie from WITS University, Johannesburg Art Gallery curator Nonto Ntombela, Standard Bank Young Artist Award winners Michael MacGarry and Mlu Zondi, and public artists Faith47 and Ismail Fahrouk.
Admission to the entire programme is free, but space is limited and booking is essential. Please contact email@example.com or 021 480 7156 to ensure a pass. Pass holders will be given preference to events until 15 minutes prior to start.