The Donald Gordon Creative Arts Fellowships provide the crucial time, intellectual and creative support required by practicing artists, and are meant to nurture a new generation of artist/performers and arts scholars. At the same time they are intended to encourage the growth of registrations at the PhD level in the creative arts. Fellows work full-time in a relevant UCT department as well as with the Institute's various projects. Most especially, they are involved in the creative research life of university staff and students, with each year-long Fellowship culminating in a creative project of the Fellow’s design.
Previous Fellowships have included outstanding projects by Andrew Putter, Peter van Heerden and Bettina Malcommess, Nicola Visser, Simon Gush, Ruth Levin-Vorster, Justin Krawitz and many others. The 2012 Fellows are Mamela Nyamza, Michael MacGarry, Richard Antrobus, Jared Thorne, Henrietta Rose-Innes.
Creative Arts Awards
The Donald Gordon Creative Arts Awards provide liberating funding to the imaginative projects of UCT staff and graduates in partnership with other academics and/or externally situated artists without limitations in discipline. These awards support new projects that engage with ideas of interdisciplinarity and innovation across academic units and communities. The projects require collaboration in a theorised, critical process of discovery, preferably with creative artists in any discipline. Previous awards have included critically acclaimed projects suh as Mandla Mbothwe’s Incwaba Lendoda Lise Cankwe Nldela, Jay Pather’s Qapehla Caesar, Mark Fleishman’s Die Vreemdeling, Geoffrey Hyland and Carolyn Holden’s House of Bernarda Alba, Gerard Samuel’s Place of Grace, Fritha Langerman’s Subtle Thresholds and Svea Josephy ‘s Third Worlds / Model Cities.
Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursaries
The Emerging Theatre Director’s Bursaries are made possible by GIPCA in collaboration with the Theatre Arts Admin Collective (TAAC), the Baxter Theatre Centre and the Distell Foundation. The Bursary serves as an opportunity for young directors to continue to develop their skills, be mentored in the creation of a new piece of work, have their work seen by a wider audience (particularly theatre producers) and help establish them in the profession of directing. One of the Bursary’s aims is to affirm directing as a prospective career choice and connect emergent and established directors to each other ensuring a transfer and exchange of knowledge and skills. Previous Bursary winners have included Amy Jephta, Asanda Pewa, Tara-Louise Notcutt, Pusetso Thibedi and Leopold Senekal. The 2012 Bursary winners are Khayelihle Gumede, Lidija Marelic, Thando Doni and Nicola Ellliott.
Performance is, in several significant ways, ephemeral, and even exhibition and installation exists, in most cases, only for a short period of time. The Gordon Institute has begun to archive material generated by creative staff, creating a digital archive for study purposes and for a website that would provide access to the range of creative activities that are integral to the research work of the institute. Such a digital collection will include notes for stage direction or choreographical sketches, curatorial plans, drafts of poems or scores and so on. A significant purpose of this archiving project would be to encourage scholarship around these creative events, giving researchers and students the opportunity to work with primary documents and to develop a body of reflected projects around the creative work of the institution.
The first archiving project was the digitisation and publication of the full collection of New Contrast journal, a pioneering publication ofcreative literature that celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. This digital collection is currently housed by the UCT Libraries. The second project assembled and scanned material from the UCT School of Dance, culminating with the launch of a new researched volume of dance photography - 75 Years, UCT School of Dance. The third archiving project undertook digitisation andaccessibility of the archive of The Little Theatre. The Little Theatre boasts more that a 100 years of continuous theatre work in the city of Cape Town, contributing to an archival legacy that is certain to be a source of futurescholarship. The fourth archiving project, completed in early 2011, included the digitising of photos, newspaper clippings, portraits and musical scores within the South African College of Music and UCT Opera School archival collections.
GIPCA is currently in the process of collating and editing all photographs, audio recordings and video material documenting the institute’s projects, workshops and public events since 2009. This invaluable resource will be made available online throughout 2013.
Great Texts/ Big Questions Public Lecture Series
Presented in partnership with the UCT Centre for Creative Writing, the Great Texts/Big Questions lecture series is one of GIPCAs most widely-known public projects. In keeping with the series' emphasis on questioning and interaction, each hour-long lecture focuses on an encounter with a ‘great text’ or ‘big question’, and offers members of the public and UCT staff and students opportunities to engage with prominent writers, artists, scientists, public figures, researchers and activists. Lectures often incorporate performative elements.
Previous speakers include Mamphela Ramphele, SarahNuttall, Zackie Achmat, Jonathan Schapiro, Deborah Posel, Andre Brink, Njabulo Ndebele, William Kentridge, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela., Handspring Puppet Company, Margie Orford, Pierre de Vos, Neo Muyanga, Kiran Desai, Ferial Haffajee, Azila Reisenberger and Damon Galgut.
Music in the City Series
The Music in the City series supports a wide range of national and international musical talent, offering free public concerts in Hiddingh Hall. Performers have included David Earl with the Odeion String Quartet, the St Petersburg Virtuosen with Albie van Schalkwyk, Renee Reznek, Patsy Toh, the Mike Rossi Jazz Ensemble, Neo Muyanga and Nicky Schrire plusthree. GIPCA recently hosted the renowned Cécile Verny Quartet in partnership with the Goethe Institute and Allliance Francaise, as well as performance of flute music by South African composers, led by acclaimed flautist Liesl Stoltz.
Michaelis Galleries Programme
GIPCA supports Michaelis Galleries in the hosting and curation costs of various exhibitions and projects each year. Previous projects have included the international photographic exhibition reGeneration2 – Tomorrow’s Photographers Today, Virginia MacKenny’s curated exhibition Threshold, the Underground, the Surface and the Edges, curated by Leora Farber and Anthea Buys and the Exuberance Project Exhibition, curated by Rael Salley with work by the Center for Historical Reenactments,Zanele Muholi, the Photo XP Community Project and various other artists. The most recent exhibition, presented in partnership with the Swedish Institute, is Facing the Climate, featuring works by international and South African cartoonists and illustrators addressing climate change.
Selected Annual Projects
Pre-post-per-form Arts Colloquium (20-22 February 2010)
The Pre-post-per-form Arts Colloquium comprised panel discussions, lectures, viewings, discussions, performances and exhibition walkabouts. Performance art and interdisciplinary collaboration have long and chequeredhistories. Globally, these developments have been anarchic as well as institutional, embracing a paradox inherent in attempts to formalize a process of breaking boundaries of discipline and transgressing the exclusive rules contained in hermetically sealed forms of expression. The post-colonial South African context further provides a rich playground for such impulses and discourse: those that look at the paradox of containment and anarchy and discourses that argue for institutionalizing inventiveness and creativity in times of acute change, reconstruction and redress.
Sandwiched between public art festival, Infecting the City, and Design Indaba, this colloquium on interdisciplinary performance and performance art was a talk/think/do-tank of artists, academics, festival directors and curators, journalists and writers. The meeting ground between interdisciplinarity andperformance, institution and anarchy, academy and street, brought together international luminaries such as the iconic Mexican American performance artist, Guillermo Gómez-Peña and director of the Metropolis Biennale Trevor Davies, writer and artist Sue Williamson,curator Melissa Mboweni, Director of Creative Cape Town Zayd Minty, award winning architect/visual artist Doung-Anwar Jahangeer, visual art historian and writer Ashraf Jamal, veteran archivist of performance and journalist Adrienne Sichel and Tanner Methvin of the Africa Centre.
Five:20 Operas Made in South Africa (21-27 November 2010)
Five: 20 Operas Made in South Africa asks: ‘Is opera in South Africa a valid means of expression? If so, what is the subject of its libretto and what is the sound of the music that would accompany it?’ GIPCA, in collaboration with the Cape Town Opera, the UCT Opera School and the South African College of Music, commissionedfive 20-minute operas to celebrate this centenary. Twenty-five South Africanwriters, poets, songwriters and playwrights were invited to submit proposals new operas written in an official South African language and reflecting South African themes.
The five chosen operas, were: Out of Time composed by Péter Louis van Dijk, directed by Geoffrey Hyland; Saartjie composed by Hendrik Hofmeyr, directed by Geoffrey Hyland; Tronkvoël composed by Martin Watt, directed by Marcus Desando; Words from a Broken String, with music by Peter Klatzow, directed by GeoffreyHyland and Hani, composed by Bongani Ndondana-Breen, directed by Marcus Desando. Five:20 Operas Made in South Africa premiered at the Baxter Theatre Centre to critical acclaim and capacity audiences.
Emerging Modernities Colloquium (18-20 February 2011)
Emerging Modernities sought to explore some of these and related topics: shifting nationalisms, the traditional and the classical debate, the political imperative in the reclamation of lost traditions, the theories of appropriation, the body as a site for defamation and reclamation, ethics ofrepresentation, linguistic expediencies, new models for African cities, thefast disappearing examples of cross cultural collaboration, intercultural myths, the notion of multiple modernities and globalisation. The weekend long Emerging Modernities event opened with an address by acclaimed scholar Achille Mbembe. Mwenya Kabwe, Mandla Mbothwe, Gavin Younge, Peter van Heerden, Andrew Putter, Nandipha Mntambo, Usha Seejarim, Brett Bailey, Magnet Theatre and Sello Pesa were some of the contributors who showcased their work, combined with panel discussions facilitated around issues relating to performing and creative arts disciplines, as well panels that deal with language, the city, and notions of tradition and curriculum design.
Panelists included academics and cultural theorists Crain Soudien (Deputy Vice Chancellor, UCT), Neo Lekgotla laga Ramoupi (Africa Institute of South Africa) Deborah Posel (Director: Institute for Humanities in Africa, UCT), Neo Muyanga and Ntone Edjabe (Pan African Space Station), Jane Taylor, Gerard Samuel, Colin Richards, Bettina Malcomess, Rael Salley, Gabi Ngcobo, Clive Kellner, Mark Fleishman, composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen, past contemporary art curator at the National Museum of Zimbabwe, Heeten Bhagat and Mokena Makeka, member of theWorld Economic Forum: Global Agenda Council on Design.
The topics addressed during the panel sessions included Emerging modernities and the contested curriculum in the post colony, Re- presenting the other, artistic collaboration and identity construction as process in the visual arts, Intercultural composition and Pan African re-emerging and merging in music, and Performance and the African city: multiple tongues; hybrid formations and translocations. In addition to sessions that critically reflect on existing bodies of work, the event hosted unique musical compositions featuring the Xhosa overtone singing of the Ngqoko Women’s Ensemble with 13 instrumentalists conducted by Alexander Fokkens in works by Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph, Christo Jankowitz and Kerryn Tracey. This formed part of a research project on indigenous knowledge systems led by Anri Herbst and Zaidel- Rudolph.
The conference also hosted the première of Peter van Heerden and Anne Historical’s installation work Monument, which took place at the Castle of Good Hope. Another site specific performance was In House by Ntsoana Contemporary Dance Theatre, featuring Sello Pesa, Humphrey Maleka and Brian Mtembu. The In House Project frees contemporary dance from its traditional venues and takes it to the heart of where peoplelive: their suburbs, their living spaces, revealing the spaces between communities as well as between communities and art, and seeks to address outdated images, perceptions and ideas - be it of homes and spaces, or dance and art.
The Names We Give Colloquium (13-15 May 2011)
Facilitated by 2011 Donald Gordon Creative Arts Award winner, Rael Jero Salley, ‘the names we give’, was a weekend long event of performances, jazz, film, public interventions and a groupthink called ‘Delicious Sensations’. The event included From New Orleans to Cape Town and Places (in) Between in which the Mike Rossi Quartet took the audience on a musical journey from New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz, to Cape Town, the UCT Choir in amoving acapella rendition of Weeping, Phillip Miller’s REwind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony, directed by Gerhard Marx and featuring the legendary Sibongile Khumalo joined by soloists Otto Maidi, Stéfan Louw and Nozuko Teto, alongside the Cape Town Opera Voice of the Nation chorus and the Heavenly Voices Chorus.
The speakers on the ‘Delicious Sensations’ groupthink were drawn from a range of different institutions and contexts: Leora Farber (University of Johannesburg), Zen Marie (Wits University), Ruth Simbao, Nomusa Makhubu and Gerald Machona (Rhodes University), Crain Soudien, Carolyn Hamilton and Natalie Pollard (University of Cape Town), Kathryn Smith (Stellenbosch University), Lerato Bereng (curator at Brodie Stevenson Gallery in Johannesburg), Creative Cape Town’s Zayd Minty, Ntone Edjabe (founding editor of Chimurenga Magazine), Gabi Ngcobo (Centre for Historical Reenactments) and writer, Alex Dodd. To promote resonant dialogue, the conference format was roundtable format and engaged three main focus areas: Planned Obsolescence (Creative Research and Development) Collaborative Action (Partnerships and Community Research) and Mutual Constituents (Local and Global Cultures). Performances over the weekend included readings of evocative and provocative texts such as Paper Flowers, Dutchman and Coloured Son X, under the direction of Sara Machett, Amy Jephta and Fleur du Cap Award Winners, Mwenya Kabwe and Lara Bye. An Art Attack party featured the music of Ntone Edjabe, and Sannie Fox and Machineri, as well as performance installations by Liza Grobler, Sanjin Muftic, Chas Unwin andiKapa Dance Theatre. Premiering their work, Fractography, were Donald Gordon Creative Arts Award winners, Jamila Rodrigues, Steven van Wyk and Kristina Johnstone.
Film screeningscurated by Lesedi Mogoatlhe, included Djibril Diop Mambety’s Hyenas and Khalo Matabane’s My Beautiful Country, and brought fresh perspectives in compelling image and sound.
Film and Dance Colloquium (26-28 August 2011)
The Film and Dance colloquium opened the South African premiere of PINA 3D by Wim Wenders, presented in association with the Goethe Institute.
International keynote speakers Deirdre Towers and Jeannette Ginslov addressed topics such as 100 Years of Dance for the Camera, Development of Screen Dance in Africa and Screen Dance and the Global Network - Online Dance Communities: The rise of social media, telematic performance, online curating and platforms dedicated to screen dance.
Diverse national filmmakers and choreographers such as Aja Marneweck, Jacqueline van Meygaarden, Nelisiwe Xaba, Mocke van Veuren, Doung Jahangeer, Gerard Samuel, Jamila Rodriguez, Kristina Johnstone, Mandilakhe Yengo, Louise Coetzer, Oscar O’Ryan, Ryan Kruger, Ruth Levin-Vorster, James Tayler, Claire Angelique and Mocke van Veuren, Storm Janse van Rensburg, Nicolette Moses and Ian Rijsdijk as well as Annelyke van den Elshout and Janine Dijkmeijer from Cinedans via video conference.
Panel discussions focused on Filmmaker as Choreographer and Choreographer as Filmmaker; Real Place and Virtual Space - Video Art and Choreography; Screen Dance Festivals and Funding; Screen Dance in the Shifting Landscape of Film and New Media; and Theory in Practice: Screen Dance and the Interdisciplinary Curriculum.
The symposium included the screening of several acclaimed international screen dance films. South African films included Place of Grace directed by Gerard Samuel in collaboration with Shelley Barry, Hatched directed by Kai Lossgott and choreographed and performed by Mamela Nyamza and Fragmented co-directed by James Tayler and Khanyisile Mbongwa, choreographed by Khanyisile Mbongwa.
Republic – Art, Authority, Nationhood (21-25 September 2011)
Republic hosted a series of performances, exhibitions, discussions and film screenings aroundissues of nationhood, power, authority and the body politic. Hosted at the politically loaded spaces of the Cape town City Hall, Republic included various thought-provoking exhibitions: The Other Camera curated by Paul Weinberg and Claire McNulty with photographic studio by Lindeka Qampi; Analogues by Simon Gush in collaboration with James Cairns; and From the experiences of a South African Boxer in Britain by Kurt Campbell. The book launch of Opinion Pieces by South African Thought Leaders, was followed by staged conversations between editor Max du Preez and some of the contributors – Antony Altbeker, and Neville Alexander. Other staged conversations presented in association with the Open Book Literary Festival included international and national speakers: Jenny Erpenbeck, Indra Wussow, Feryal Ali Gauhar, Margie Orford. Steven Galloway and Imraan Coovadia. Prior to Repulic, GIPCA presented intensive workshops on performance art to UCT Fine Art and Drama Students. These worlshops were presented by artists James Webb, Athi-Patra Ruga, Ed Young, Linda Stupart and Jay Pather. This culminated in At Least in Theory - mixed media performances and installations by the students during Republic.
Other performances included the provocative The Bitter End of Rosemary, choreographed and performed by Dada Masilo, Swiss Company LaRibot’s Laughing Hole, VII (Seven) - developed by the University of Cape Town Drama Department; Woza Andries - developed by the Stellenbosch Universtiy Drama Department. Film screenings addressed issues around democracy and citizenship from international and local perspectives: Campaign! TheKawasaki Candidate directed by Kazuhiro Soda; The Great Counting: TheMaking of Census ‘96 directed by Brenda Goldblatt and Robert Thorpe; The Lawyer, the Farmer and the Clerk directed by Clifford Bestall; Iron Ladies of Liberia directed by Siatta Scott Johnson and Daniel Junge; In Search of Gandhi directed by Lalit Vachani; The Deadline directed by David Jammy, A Trip to the Country directed by Jean-Marie Teno; Egypt: We are Watching You directed by Jehane Noujaim and Sherief Elkatsha; After the Deadline directed by C.A. van Aswegen, David Jammy and Harriet Gavshon; The Colonial Misunderstanding directed by Jean-Marie Teno.
Panel discussions on the intersection of art-making and notions of Republic included a range of visual and performance artists:Faith47, Ismail Farouk, Michael MacGarry, Rike Sitas, Nontobeko Ntombela. Mlu Zondi, Julia Raynham, Brett Bailey and Mark Fleishman.
The Beautiful Project (9-10 December 2011)
This unique two-day event called into question the definitions of “beauty” and “ugliness”, with some specific reference to the African continent, through music, film, theatre, culinary experiences and conversations. Leading cultural commentator and critic Sarah Nutall, editor of the prize-winning book Beautiful/Ugly: African and Diaspora Aesthetics, presented the keynote address from which the event took its thematic inspiration.
Dancer-choreographer Nelisiwe Xaba performed They Look At Me And That’s All They Think. Fresh from London’s Dance Umbrella, it probes the ideas of beauty and the gaze, using the story of Saartjie Baartman as allegory. The piece is also conceptualised as a parable of Xaba’s own artistic journey from Soweto to the Eurocentric world of contemporary art. The theatre work of Nicola Hanekom took on a different approach to the notion of beauty and women’s bodies. With Hol, a work directed by Fred Abrahamse and performed almost entirely on a treadmill, Hanekom investigates the pressure and consequences of notions of beauty and excellence. Acclaimed musician Neo Muyanga will presented new improvisations, together with acoustic arrangements of material from his newest record, Dipalo. Film screenings explored notions of beauty, mainly through the masculine. The Adonis Factor by Christopher Hine; Glitterboys and Ganglands is Lauren Beukes’ peek behind the drag curtain at Miss Gay Western Cape; and The Importance of Being Elegant by George Amponsah and Cosima Spender offerered a view on one of the most unusual clubs in the world, the Congolese Le Sape members are fiercely devoted to expensive designer clothes and have elevated fashion to the status of a religion.
On thefinal evening, GIPCA presented The Beautiful Feast, an eight-course ‘processional dinner’ Cape Town’s magnificent City Hall prepared by theatre director and chef Peter Hayes. This unusual experience of a night when food, art, dance and theatre interwove included collaborations with James Webb, the UCT choir, Julia Raynham, Fiona du Plooy and Gaetan Schmid, Guy de Lancey, drag singer Samantha Knight, Neliswa Rushualang, Ntombi Gasa and Thoko Masikini and Swiss artists Celia and Nathalie Sidler.
Infecting the City Public Arts Festival (6-10 March 2012)
Public art is part of who we are on this continent and in this country, given our history of public ritual, public protest and celebration. The interconnectedness of the African ‘us’ meets challenge after challenge in a public, social way, brought to vibrant life in artistic expression. There is too, that part of our history that impeded this public interconnectedness throwing people apart and far away from each other, a physical and psychic separation still waiting to be healed. Infecting the City is a small attempt at igniting this interconnectedness.
Public Art created a discourse on several layers, interdisciplinary conversations as well as those with architecture, public spaces and a combination of a formal destination based audience and most valuably an informal audience that joined in at will. GIPCA presented a number of works at this year’s Infecting the City Public Arts Festival, embracing ‘inter-disciplinarity’ whilst engaging with public spaces. The works emerged from the University of Cape Town's performing arts departments and 2011 Donald Gordon Creative Arts Fellows, as well as commissioned pieces that look at public space engagement in compelling ways. These commissioned pieces included a collaboration betweenJohannesburg based artists Sello Pesa and Vaughn Sadie, and Athi-Patra Ruga’s site-specific Ilulwane, which premiered at New York’s Performa Festival shortly before.
Through the week, musicians ignited public spaces with sound. Playing off the traditional flash mob idea, the renowned UCT choir made its presence known in various spaces; and a grand piano, resting on the gleaming white tiles of the Station concourse, was the site of a performance by Donald Gordon Fellow Justin Krawitz of the world premiere of a composition by celebrated composer Hendrik Hofmeyr.
Performed by students from the UCT Opera School, excerpts from Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress, inspired by directorMatthew Wild's 2011 production, were re-imagined as a promenade event in a series of sites across the CBD. With musical direction by Kamal Khan, this tale of urban moral corruption found fresh resonances for Stravinsky's neoclassical score, as his witty take on 18th Century London collides with contemporary Cape Town. Teka munyika, a collaboration between conceptual artist Vaughn Sadie and choreographer Sello Pesa, looked at everyday movements of the body performed in public space and how these are impacted by space and the elements that constitute it – light, architecture, material and surface. The work was performed by Sello Pesa, Brian Mtembu, Humphrey Maleka and Murray Kruger, at Prestwich Place. The Long Street Baths were bathed in red light at night, with synchronised swimmers performing alongside performance artist Athi-Patra Ruga. Accompanied by an operatic noise soundtrack composed by Spoek Mathambo and Ruga, Ilulwane, explored modern definitions ofmasculinity, masquerade, identity and sexuality.
Medicine came under the microscope when a debilitating illness pitches the critical personal responsibility to sustain health of mind, body and spirit against the fallibility of medical experts.Celia’s Story was the cinematic debut of Donald Gordon Fellow Ruth Levin-Vorster.
Monologues, movements, music, spoken text, dance sequences and visuals were re-used, re-cycled, and re-visited by their original performers, to create a new narrative which speaks to our common difficulties in building a home. Directed by another Donald Gordon Fellow, Sanjin Muftic, Bricolage was the culmination of his year long experiments with performance sampling.
The challenges of urbanisation and the development of cities have both inspired and disillusioned public artists. In an effort toanswer some of the questions arising, about the use of public space and artistic practice, GIPCA (in partnership with the Africa Centre and Creative Cape Town) hosted a symposium that addressed public art policy as it existsinternationally and nationally. Speakers included Joseph Galyard (Visual Arts Network of South Africa), Stephen Hobbs (Trinity Session), Sharon Lewis (Johannesburg Development Agency), Zayd Minty (Creative Cape Town), Roger van Wyk (Public Eye), Heidi Van Der Watt (CT Tourism) Councillor Grant Pascoe, Brian Heydenrych (PANSA), Ricky Lee Gordon (Word of Art) and Michelle Constant (CEO Business Arts South Africa).
The Exuberance Project (11-13 May 2012)
A symposium, performances, exhibitions, panel discussions and film screenings, convened by Raél Jero Salley and Jay Pather; presented by GIPCA as part of the UCT Africa Month celebrations. Africa has long been described by critics as being perched on a threshold – between inadequacy and potential, between something and nothingness. The vast complexity of a continent is thereby reduced, frozen by clichéd metaphors and paradoxical summations. Packed with speakers from various parts of the country, performances, exhibitions and film screenings, The Exuberance Project pointed to a welcome turnaround in the enactment of all that emerges from the African continent; embracing themes that shift from lack to abundance, fromAfro-pessimism to exuberance, from myths of a dark and brooding continent tovibrant, dynamic realism.
The opening address by the highly respected writer and inspirational speaker Dr SindiweMagona, was followed by panel discussions by diverse national speakers: Thembinkosi Goniwe, Deborah Posel, Abdulkader Tayob, Adam Haupt, Sanele Manqele, Heidi Grunebaum, Edgar Pieterse, Mary Corrigall, Michael McGarry, Nicole Sarmiento, Nick Shepherd, Gabi Ngcobo, Anthea Buys, Virginia MacKenny, Christopher Swift, Jared Thorne, Jane Taylor, Mike van Graan, Zethu Matebeni, Brett Bailey, Sandy Rudd and Mwenya Kabwe.
Performances included David Kramer and the late Taliep Petersen’s smash hit musical, Kat and The Kings; dance theatre practitioner Mamela Nyamza’s Isingqala; and Afrocartography: Traces of Places and All Things In Between, an interdisciplinary playreading performance work written by Mwenya Kabwe. Afrocartography takes a close, poetic, and visually stimulating look at some of the contradicting tensions of hybrid cultural identity, national belonging, and the numerous associations of global citizenship.
The Exuberance Project Exhibition, curated by Raél Salley, featured work by the Center for Historical Reenactments (Kemang Wa-Lehulere, Donna Kukama, Sanele Manqele, Gabi Ngcobo and Jabu Pereira), Lindeka Qampi and Zanele Muholi’s Photo XP community project (with work by Phume Nkdanjane, Gcobisa Nosova , Hlomela Mselele, Ntombozuko Mdlwana, Velisa Jara and Nyamela Patho Mkosana), Mohau Modisakeng, Jared Thorne, George Mahashe and Fragments of Tahrir- a video installation curated by Nicole Sarmiento (with participating artists Justin Davy, Jasmina Metwaly, Aryan Kaganof, Philip Rizk and Dylan Valley). The project also included The Callings – a walking tour around key sites in the centre of the city including projections on walls of historic sites around Church Square, sound installations and performances, devised by Nicole Sarmiento, Memory Biwa, Toni Stuart and Tazneem Wentzel.
Film screenings feature the enchanting Meokgo and the Stickfighter, directed by Teboho Mahlatsi and set in Lesotho, and the radiant self referential film-within-a-film Grey Matter set in Kigali, Rwanda, and directed by Kivu Ruhorahoza.
Directors and Directing Colloquium ( 29-31 July 2011 and 24-26 August 2012)
The rise and fall and rise of the Director is almost a theatrical cliché. While emerging democracies favour multiple voices as opposed to singular interpretations, directors have re-emerged as powerful indicators and cultural barometers. The combination of directing with dance theatre, opera, puppets and visual theatre all make for rich deliberations.
Directors and Directing 2011 featured diverse national speakers such as Aubrey Sekhabi, Gay Morris, Malcolm Purkey, MandlaMbothwe, Clare Stopford, Janice Honeyman, James Ngcobo, Geoffrey Hyland, Carolyn Holden, Liz Mills, Nicholas Ellenbogen, Dawid Minnaar, Faniswa Yisa, Chuma Sopotela, Diane Wilson, Bo Petersen, Brent Meersman, Thami Mbongo, Zoleka Helesi, Bongile Mantsai, Pusetso Thibedi, Leopold Senekal, Amy Jephta, Asanda Phewa, Neil Coppen, Janni Younge, Caroline Calburn, Anton Krueger, MarianneThamm, Zingi Mkefa, Zane Henry, Brent Meersman, Yazeed Kamaldien and Adrienne Sichel.
Panels addressed topics such as The Director’s Signature; Views from the Trenches: Actors talk about Directors; Young Guns on the Horizon: Emerging Voices of Authority and Critical Perspectives from Writers, Journalists and Reviewers.
Performances included the premiere of The House of Bernarda Alba (A Dance Document) – an adaptation of the play by Federico García Lorca, directed by 2011 Creative Arts Award Winners Geoffrey Hyland & Carolyn Holden, with La Rosa Spanish Dance Theatre, A Lie of the Mind - written by Sam Shepard, directed by Luke Ellenbogen, with The Mechanicals, Sanity Captured - conceived & directed by Pusetso Thibedi (2011 Emerging Theatre Director Bursary Winner premiere); Shakespeare’s R&J – an adaptation by Joe Calarco, directed by Fred Abrahamse, and Sample - conceived & directed by Sanjin Muftic . In In Search of a Signature: four directors (Fatima Dike, Aubrey Sekhabi, Nicola Hanekom, Neil Coppen) tackled the same scene from Athol Fugard’s ‘Boesman and Lena.
Directors and Directing 2012 focused on Playwrights and Writing for the Theatre. Playwrights, directors, critics, actors and academics converged from various parts of the country to address some of the key features of debates around the presence (or absence) of the written text.
Directors and Directing: Playwrights included theatre visits, performances, play readings and informal talks, but primarily comprised a symposium with a variety of panels. Addresses were made by acclaimed playwrights and directors: esteemed writer Dr Sindiwe Magona, the Baxter Theatre’s Lara Foot, the provocative and always topical Mike van Graan, Malcolm Purkey from the Market Theatre and highly respecteddirector James Ngcobo. Theatre visits, which form an integral part of the conference, include Alexandre Marine’s adaptation of JM Coetzee’s Waiting for the Barbarians at the Baxter Theatre Centre, Emerging Theatre Director Thando Doni’s Eutopia at Theatre Arts Admin Collective, Magnet Theatre Director Mark Fleishman’s Kragbox at Artscape, and playreadings by Megan Furniss and Louis Viljoen.
The conference comprised several themed panels in which writers and directors discuss their different approaches to shaping performance with and without text. Is the rise of genres such as visual performance and workshop theatre a threat to the written text or do they challenge the playwright’s innovation and craft? Inside the darkened theatre, one may well ask: Whose text trumps whose? Writer, director, designer, producer, audience or critic?
Writers who spoke about their work included Juliet Jenkin Nicholas Spagnoletti, Genna Gardini and UCT’s Sabata Sesiu. A panel based on the relationship between writers and directors included, Sanjin Muftic and Amy Jephta, while Jacqueline Dommisse spoke about her role in directing the work of Peter Hayes. Preceded by an innovative “performed paper” by rising stars Kim Kerfoot and Jason Potgieter, a special panel devoted toideas around adaptations, ownership and collaborative writing featured writers Ingrid Wylde and Karen Jeynes,
A crucial shift in the symposium proceedingsconsidered the move towards alternate texts. UCT’s Head of Drama and Magnet Theatre Director, Professor Mark Fleishman, and acclaimed theatre innovators Brett Bailey and Mandla Mbothwe, led this discussion. This was preceded by a special visit to the final rehearsal of Brett Bailey’s superbly evocative medEia before its extensive European tour. The discussions culminated in a panel of innovative theatre makers that talk to new trends of theatre making and text, followed by Richard Antrobus’ critically acclaimed Stilted, performed with Tristan Jacobs.
Film and Dance Workshops (18-22 July 2012)
Following the pioneering Film and Dance conference hosted by GIPCA in 2011, the Institute hosted free screen dance workshops at UCT in July 2012, prior to the Baxter Theatre Centre’s Dance Film Festival. The screen dance intensive residency workshops, presented by internationally acclaimedfilmmaker and choreographer Jeannette Ginslov, were crucial to the development of this little known field in South Africa, where expertise in the area is virtually non-existent, despite its global development. More than promoting an innovative new art form in the field of performing and creative arts, the workshops were of particular relevance to South Africa where access to contemporary art is often limited.
Workshop participants included UCT students and lecturers from the School of Dance, Drama Department and Centre for Film and Media Studies, as well as other educational institutions, dancers, choreographers, filmmakers and photographers. Films produced by the workshop participants were screened at the Baxter Dance Film Festival as a prelude to the screening of a selection of Ginslov’s films.
Hot Water (14-16 October 2011 and 28-29 September 2012)
There is a growing consciousness of the abuse wrought on our natural environment. Whether it has been pure greed, mis-management, carelessness or at best, ignorance, the lack of sensitivity towards our only home has come back to haunt us. The arts are well placed to develop a consciousness of habits and destructive behaviour:visually arresting, charged with metaphor and symbol, visual arts and performance have the power to move, startle and deepen one's consciousness.This unique programme probes the relationship between the threat of climatechange and it's representation in the creative and performing arts.
Hot Water 2011 opened with a commissioned premiere performance The End by renowned choreographer Tossie van Tonder and a poetry performance by Mbali Vilakazi. The opening of the Threshold exhibition, curated by Virginia MacKenny also included kinetic fire-sculpture, Complicit, by Brendhan Dickerson. Speakers included environmental lawyer Cormac Cullinan, and a range of national speakers from the sciences and arts: Bruce Hewitson, Virginia MacKenny, Babatunde Abiodun, Peter Johnston, Dylan McGarry, Jacqueline van Meygaarden, Mbali Vilakazi, Pavitray PIllay, Gina Ziervogel, Kyla Davis, Ibrahim Saleh, Jean Brundrit, Gillion Bosman. Ilona Frege, Merle O’Brien, Fritha Langerman, Ian-Malcolm Rijsdijk and Mwenya Kabwe.The conference also included an Earth Forum workshop led by Dylan McGarry. Presented in association with the African Climate and Development Initiative, the 2012 Hot Water Symposium continued to probe the connections between scientific discourse and artistic production in an attempt to refine the expression of issues of climate change through artistic work. The symposium comprised art exhibitions, film screenings, a cartoon workshop, presentations by keynote speakers and panel discussions.
Professor Mark New, Pro Vice-Chancellor at UCT and Director of the ACDI, delivered the keynote address followed by two exhibition openings, Facing the Climate (climate themed cartoons by international and South African cartoonists, conceptualised by the Swedish Institute and curated by Ann-Marie Tully ) and Ekduo ny environmental artist Simon Max Bannister. Film screenings included Franny Armstrong’s The Age of Stupid, a selection of short films on climate change from from the series, Letters from the Sky, curated by Kai Lossgott, and COP 17:Stories of the Future by Xolelwa Nhlabatsi. The symposium programme also included a unique workshop led by Ann-Marie Tulley and Tony Grogan in working with drawing and cartoons as mechanisms for giving shape and form to issues of climate change and environmental awareness.
Panelists included speakers from a range of disciplines: Penny Price (Climate Adaptation, Climate Change and Biodiversity Directorate in the Western Cape), Joseph Darron (Climate System Analysis Group), Ann-Marie Tully (University of Johannesburg), Kai Lossgott (independent curator, artist and environmental activist), Tom Sanya (UCT), environmentalartist Simon Max Bannister, Sarah Ward (City of Cape Town’s, Energy and Climate Change Division) and Warren Nebe (Director of the Drama for Life Programme at Wits University).. Panelists reflected on the ‘state of the art’ of their respective disciplines, leading to a discussion with the audience on efficacy, impact and urgency in the dissemination of information around issues of climate.
Live Arts Festival (24 November – 5 December 2012)
The notion of performance art festival is finding purchase globally. Performance Studies International, a global network of academics, as well as art exhibitions such as Documenta and the Venice Biennale have been sites of much of this activity. In South Africa, the National Arts Festival, Spier Contemporary and the Infecting the City Festival have all developed strong showing of interdisciplinary performance art. There is significantly only one Bienale, Performa in New York, that devotes itself entirely to performance art.
Performance art is time and space based, known to be essentially anarchic in its attempt at breaking known rules of art making and its consumption. The cross-disciplinary approach is a strong characteristic, together with the breaking of boundaries of location and medium which make for powerful new ideas for a stimulating and challenging festival.
The Gordon Institute will host the first Live Art Festival in the country and possibly on the continent. Outputs include an interdisciplinary workshop and mentorship programme for students, practising artists and curators; Live Art Research and Curatorial Fellowships; and theFestival itself which will feature the work of mainly live artists from theAfrican continent, conference papers and a catalogue.