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News Archive - April 2009

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					News Archive - April 2009
                           Wits Dramatic Art sends a new South African Play to the
                                               Czech Republic

On the 1st of April Wits Dramatic Art
premiered the new South African comedy
Previously         Owned         at       the
SETKANI/ENCOUNTER 2009 Festival in
Brno. A company of five students (four
actors and a stage manager) and Wits
lecturer, Greg Homann - writer and
director of the play - spent an enriching
six days sharing their work alongside
other students from across Europe and
The                  World.
The Theatre Faculty JAMU in the Czech
Republic officially selected Previously
Owned for this international festival of
student drama. This is the second time
that Wits has been invited to attend and
was the only school represented from the
Southern            Hemisphere.
The Theatre Faculty of the Janacek
Academy of Music and Performing Arts in
Brno, Czech Republic, was the main
organizer of the 19th International Festival
of Theatre Schools, which took place from
the 31th March till 4th April 2009. The
festival provided a place where students,
teachers and other theatre makers could
meet to present and discuss their work
and methods. Besides the main
programme (three daily performances),
there was also the off programme which
was comprised of various presentations
which correspond to the contemporary
state of teaching and art education, as
well as student discussions and teachers’
meetings.
Previously Owned will now have a short
season at The Wits Downstairs Theatre
from 14th April to 25th April and in July will
tour to the National Arts Festival in
Grahamstown.
                            Special Project on Internet Art - Joburg Art Fair 2009
                        3rd to 5th April at the Sandton Convention Centre and Online
The Digital Arts Division in
collaboration with the Upgrade!
International Network have
collaboratively curated a selection
of Internet Artworks that will show
at the 2009 Joburg Art Fair.
The selection is being featured as a
Special Project and will be
presented at the fair on four
beautiful new Apple iMacs as part
of the bookstand area at the Joburg
Art Fair. The selection can also be
viewed
at http://JAFnetart.digitalarts.wits.a
c.za
The selection explores and
highlights Internet based creative
practice in the global south. The
featured Internet artworks cover a
broad range of Internet Art genres
by artists in the global south and
works orientated towards its
geography and politics. These              Screen Grab from Gustavo Romano’s CyberZoo, Argentina, since
genre include Software Art,                2003.
Locative Media, Blogging and
Remixing, Animation and
Networked Social Commentary.
The project was born out of an
interest to uncover artists working
with the Internet as a primary
medium in South Africa. The
selection however grew to
encompass works from and about
South America and Asia. The
selection includes, to name a few,
works that address issues in
Nicaragua, India, Brazil and South
Africa.
There are nine South African
artworks in the total of twenty four
in the selection; these include
works by artists; Marcus
Neustetter, Avant Car Guard, Jaco
Spies, Mitch Said, Aryan Kaganof           Screen Grab from Mitch Said’s TreeID, South Africa, 2007.
and Ismail Farouk.
The selection was curated online
as a network collaboration between
Tegan Bristow of the Digital Arts
Division of the Wits School of Arts
and members of the Upgrade!
International Network.
Tegan Bristow is an artist and
lecturer at the Digital Arts Division
of the Wits School of Arts. She is
one of a few South African
academics and practitioners who
specialise in interactive digital art.
She is the organisational curator of
this selection and teaches both
theory and practice of digital
interactive and digital networked
media art.
The Upgrade! International
Network is a prominent network of
digital artists and digital arts
organisers. Started in New York in
1999 by new media artists Yael
Kanarek, Mark Napier and Mark
Rivers, the network now includes
many prominent digital arts
organisations and institutions,
covering as many as thirty cities
world wide. www.theupgrade.net


                                         Sermon on the Train

A collaboration between Prof Anitra Nettleton, Molemo Moiloa, and Nare Mogotho
How public are public lectures? Although
periodically universities make the effort to
host lectures that people who are not
registered learners at these institutions
can attend free of charge, one still feels
that these so-called public lectures are
not public enough. In this instance the
“public” that accompanies “lecture” is
taken to mean that for a short while, the
institution will suspend its stranglehold
over information, ideas and knowledge.
Sermon on the Train seeks to undermine
this concept of “public lecture” and makes
the experience accessible to a wider
audience by encouraging a well known
academic to have a public lecture in
public. Furthermore the work starts to chip
away at the hierarchy that separates
students from lectures by encouraging
lecturer-student collaborations. Though
one can argue that the idea of having a
public lecture in public is an imposition on
that public this nonetheless parallels other
performative acts such as public
preaching, a long standing practice on
trains in South Africa. This then brings
into question who has access to
knowledge, the origins of that knowledge
and what purpose that knowledge serves.
                                       On Location – C30 intervention


David Andrew and Marcus Neustetter
(Trinity Session) were invited to continue
their C30 Project collaboration with an
intervention in the White Sea exhibition
space at the Konstfack University College
of Arts, Craft and Design in Stockholm,
Sweden, from 8 to 15 March. The
intervention was a response to the central
theme of the On Location conference and
an extension of their interest in the
relationships between contemporary art
practice, pedagogy and socially engaged
collaboration. The intervention was
understood as a bringing together of
some of the resources generated during
the C30 Project at the P.J. Simelane
Secondary School in Dobsonville, Soweto
with those offered in the Konstfack,
Stockholm context. In the process of
producing the intervention over a period
of six days, Andrew and Neustetter
acknowledge the learners and teachers
with whom they have worked and the
value of taking oneself outside familiar
contexts and frames of reference in order
to sustain and grow emancipatory
practices.
The C30 Project initiative began in early
2007 at the P.J. Simelane Secondary
School in Dobsonville, Soweto, and has
resulted in a series of creative
interventions within the school space
itself, at the Sandton Civic Gallery,
Johannesburg (October 2007) and the
Goethe Institut, Johannesburg (October
2008). At the school and in the exhibition
spaces the project introduced a series of
physical and metaphorical disruptions
which prompted questions and actions
around the relationship between learning
and art practice.
                    Monique Pelser's Bystanders (2008) At the Johannesburg Art Fair




Contemporary photographer Monique
Pelser currently lectures fine art
photography at the University of the
Witwatersrand, School of Art.
Pelser’s current area of research focuses
on making photographs through the use of
performance, experimentation and
quotation as a means of grappling with the
politics and history surrounding the
photographic medium.
Works currently on exhibition include The
Angel of Compassion (2009) at the
MutiGallery in Cape Town and Bystanders
(2008) at the Durban Art Gallery and the
Johannesburg Art Fair.
Bystanders is a series of close-up
portraits, taken with a Nokia 5200, that
were re-appropriated from archival South
African newspapers. These haunting yet
lyrical images depict marginal bystanders
instead of central characters involved in
various historical days in South African
history. The graphic images are put
through a process of pushing photography
towards a painterly quality while
referencing the photographic medium
through pixilation.
                                               Misc (Recovery Room)
David Andrew Standard Bank Gallery
4 February – 21 March 2009
David      Andrew’s      exhibition,   Misc
(Recovery Room) at the Standard Bank
Gallery in Johannesburg, opened on 3
February and closed on 21 March 2008.
The Misc in the title of the exhibition
refers to the miscellaneous objects and
moments experienced in the artist-
teacher’s practice. And while the
Recovery Room of the title suggests a
hospital-like space of healing, in this
instance it alludes to something that is to
be retrieved, of ground that needs to be
re-covered: more specifically in the ways
in    which     classrooms      (and   other
institutional spaces) might be understood
as spaces of potentiality and possibility
rather than being predetermined as
regimented and orthodox.
Underpinning each of the three separate
but inter-related areas of the downstairs
gallery is an interest in the reciprocal
relationship between the practices of artist
and teacher. There is also a conscious
framing of the exhibition in terms of Félix
Guattari’s question: “How can a class
operate like a work of art?” As the viewer
moves through the three spaces,
Guattari’s question prompts various
responses in relation to an often playful
and improvisatory bringing together of
notebooks, drawings, makeshift objects,
photographs       and    installation.  The
Classroom (Recovery Room) installation
in the central space, constructed through
a combining of broken school chairs,
dismantled desks, other classroom
objects, drawings and cast shadows
suggests       both    a    physical    and
metaphorical response to this question.
                      Music Staff in the Public Ear



2009 began with several Wits Music staff making prominent public
appearances. Professor Malcolm Nay performed two different piano concertos
in the space of several weeks: the Mendelssohn Piano Concerto and the
Schumann Piano Concerto with the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra.
Head of Music, Grant Olwage, appeared on SABC 2’s Weekend Live to
discuss his book Composing Apartheid. This followed an hour-long interview
about the book on 702’s Jenny Crwys-Williams Show. And jazz guitarist
Jonathan Crossley took his collaborative project Czech Mate on tour,
performing half a dozen concerts over 10 days throughout South Africa.

				
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