The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) presents 5 Thoughts, an evening of performances, exhibitions and lectures that brings together the unique work of its five resident Fellows in the fields of Theatre, Dance, Creative Writing and Fine Art.
Recipients of the Donald Gordon Creative Arts Fellowships, these artists/researchers have been in residence since the beginning of the year and will present five distinct projects at the end of 2012. 5 Thoughts showcases all their work in one evening in a mid-term presentation of seminal ideas and will take place in various spaces on UCT’s Hiddingh Campus on Tuesday 7 August.
Michael MacGarry, 2010 Standard Bank Young Artist for Visual Art, will present the making of a unique film in 5 Thoughts. MacGarry’s film, exhibition and book project offering; As Above, So Below; is principally focused on a philosophical re-imagining of the visit by the British naturalist Charles Darwin to the Cape between 31 May and 18 June 1836, and his engagement with another great revolutionary thinker of the nineteenth century, Karl Marx. MacGarry’s narrative imagines a bet between these two vastly influential men, which sees them throwing scientific process and logic aside driven by bullish ego and vanity. MacGarry comments: “The key protagonists in this story are two-sided journeymen caught up in endless Sisyphus cycles, deserving their punishment. They are haunted, doomed, and lonely, but locked into the cycles they set forth for themselves. At some level, we all feel we are alone on a circuitous journey, and the film appreciates that there are no real explanations for the big mysteries of life, only questions”.
Award-winning fiction writer Henrietta Rose-Innes (winner of the Caine Prize for African Writing and the SA PEN Literary Award, and shortlisted for the 2000 M-Net Literary and the Sunday Times Fiction Prize) is working on a series of texts on the topic of extinctions, with particular reference to indigenous subspecies (such as the black-maned lion). Taking an autobiographical approach as well as drawing on historical and scientific sources, she explores the ways these “lost” animals have interacted with people, the meanings they have been given, and how their specimens have been displayed. Her Fellowship project examines the complex role that the bodies of animals – and their destruction – play in human affairs, as evidenced in the history of the Cape from early hunting expeditions to our modern coexistence with animals, also relating these “lost creatures” to personal themes of loss, remembrance and mortality. In 5 Thoughts, Rose-Innes will present a preliminary sample of wall-mounted texts, dealing with a constellation of linked topics, including “lost” animals, the presentation of animal bodies, depictions of St Jerome and the Lion, hominid extinctions, natural history museums and memory, as well as and animal/human encounters.
Richard Antrobus, recipient of a Standard Bank Ovation Encore Award at the National Arts Festival 2011 for “excellence and innovation”, will present his unique work Delayed Live. The project explores the cross-disciplinary nature of contemporary performance through the use of multi-media, live-camera feeds, pre-recorded footage and simultaneous live performance from actors/artists in a live (as well as a delayed-live) performance space. Shifting social, intellectual and artistic dynamics are considered in an introspective look at the private in-between moments in the lives of dancers/actors, simultaneously projected as a public, delayed-live performance by the dancers/actors who are (a)live and present on stage themselves. Antrobus’ presentation in 5 Thoughts will take the form of a video presentation of a recorded delayed-live discussion with artists, performers and colleagues around South Africa over the mobile social media application WhatsApp, transcribed and then re-lived and captured “live” by participants via cellphone camera, web-cams & video in their original locations.
Jared Thorne a graduate of Dartmouth College, the San Francisco Art Institute and Columbia University, has been conducting a transcontinental search for Black middle class culture, with an exploration of how it is articulated in Cape Town. Thorne seeks to challenge hegemonic as well as self-imposed constructs of Black identity. His work centres on issues of race, class and gender and engages questions of authenticity, representation and history, challenging his viewers to redefine their conceptual understanding of modern Black culture. Through photography and audio interviews, he intends to facilitate extensive visual and verbal dialogue on how identity is created in the global south, specifically in Cape Town. His work for 5 Thoughts will take the form of large format film photographs alongside excerpts from various interviews.
The evening will end with a startling dance performance by Mamela Nyamza (also Standard Bank Young Artist for Dance 2011). Nyamza’s work considers the engendered body, and the contemporary definition of dance, through her experimentation around themes of men and (mostly) women’s roles and issues. She asks how dance can be used to gain access to the deepest parts of the body, emotions, lightness and fears, and to elicit higher demands of ourselves. Nyamza will present Okuya Phantsi Kwempulo (The Meal), for which she received a Standard Bank Ovation Award at the National Arts Festival 2012. Conceptualised, choreographed and directed by Nyamza, the work is performed together with Dinah Eppel and Kirsty Ndawo. Okuya Phantsi Kwempulo considers cooking, eating, art, love and sex. “Before a meal can be eaten, preparation is necessary. The most basic division is between the creator of the meal and those who are being served. This work examines the process in which the eater becomes one with the meal, though the process of reaching satisfaction can take many forms”, Nyamza comments.
5 Thoughts will take place on Tuesday 7 August, 17:00 for 17:30 at Hiddingh Hall. The presentations will follow one after the other. Refreshments will be served. Admission is free and no booking is needed.
Images from left to right: Richard Antrobus – Delayed Live; From Handbuch der Anatomie der Tiere für Künstler – Hermann Dittrich, illustrator (1901), Mamela Nyamza – Okuya Phantsi Kwempulo photo by Stef de Klerk; Michael MacGarry – As Above, So Below Diagram 2; Jared Thorne – Untitled.