SA2010 videoscreening program – first Sofia, now Newcastle

ISIS ARTS 01.12.2010 12.0027.12.2010 18.00


The program:

Bridget Baker – Steglitz House (2009-2010)
9 min.
“Steglitz House” was filmed in a miniature construction of a 1930s West Berlin suburban home. Considering the imminent collapse of domestic sanctuary in pre-WWII Germany, Baker creates an ambiguous narrative by overlaying autobiographical mythologies in the space. This reflects a threat to the calm in Baker’s family home in South Africa when her father died in 1977.

Sound design by Braam du Toit.
Berni Searle – Gateway (2010)
4 min
This is the second of a trilogy of videos which forms part of the “Black smoke rising” series. This series was conceived at the time of a growing and pervasive “air of discontent” in South Africa, which has recently been beset by union protests and mass demonstrations against poor service delivery and lack of housing. Frustrations and levels of desperation continue to grow, creating simmering tensions that have the potential to erupt.
Bongani Khoza – In Transit (2007)
Video Interview 12:14 min. / Video “In The Train” 11:43 min.
“In Transit” compares human interaction and dialogue between one’s personal or private space with the individual decision to transgress these imaginary boundaries. I use video recordings to re-contextualize public and private structures within public space.
Nadine Hutton – Ignore Me (2009)
2:29 min.
How often have you deliberately locked your eyes forward to avoid the person trying to catch your eye at a traffic light? This is their story.
Eduardo Cachucho – Water (2008)
1:53 min.
A man dreams of drowning in ‘himself’. His own body fluids have overtaken him. As in a nightmare, he tries to wake up but has no way of doing so. He must succumb to the fate his body has given him. As water gushes out of every orifice, he thrashes about trying to dislodge himself from his reality.
Hasan & Husain Essop – Visiting the Revolution (2010)
3:10 min.
Through this work the artists explore the role of the individual in society, in particular the space that Muslim youth negotiate in a secular environment. In Islam, the rendering of the human form is considered haraam or forbidden and the artists are careful about limiting this representation to their own bodies and assuming responsibility for it. They are not interested in making objective statements. The questions they ask are personal and intimate, and they perform these questions, and the search for answers with their own bodies. The work occupies a space fraught with tensions, between documentation and narrative, between the spontaneous and the staged and between overt expression and what is left unsaid.
Jessica Gregory & Zen Marie – The Perfect Leader (2009)
4:31 min.
The Perfect Leader is a short film that questions political leadership. Specifically, the film addresses the controversial dynamics of the leader as a person, a human being with dreams and desires but also a human with faults. In part, the film pays homage to Jorgen Leth’s The Perfect Human (1967), which is a surreal and (subtly) cynical look at the idea of a perfect human. The film updates Jorgen Leth’s original and uses it as a vehicle to pose questions about the cult of the individual that is dominant in contemporary leadership practices. Taking both formal and conceptual cues from this iconic film, The Perfect Leader addresses leadership as an ambiguous and problematic space. The Perfect Leader dissects the physical body of the leader (played by Darius Rasekhula) as it asks the audience to reconsider what leadership means. Besides being relevant to a contemporary critique of political governance, the film is a meditation on leadership as space that is paradoxically both private and public.
Robyn Nesbitt & Nina Barnett – Warcry (2008)
Dual screen video projection
2 videos 0.40 min.
A school war-cry is a South African high school tradition, a chant that expresses the energy and strength held in the organism of the school. The pulsing sound of hundreds of school children shouting in unison is exhilarating for both the performing students and those witnessing it. In this dual screen video installation, two schools perform their war-cry at each other – the combined roar is fearsome and thrilling. The polarities of the school groups are clear in their gender, uniform colour and performance style. The boys perform in a fierce, combative manner while the girls are more playful and joyous in their expression. This installation evokes the exceptional qualities of large group action. It is vigorous, dynamic and ultimately celebratory. It brings to light the peculiar, singular, war-cry tradition that permeates the South African school system.
Credits: Nina Barnett and Robyn Nesbitt. With thanks to Spier/Africa Centre, Parktown Girls, Mrs. Cereseto, Parktown Boys, Mr. Clark, Guy Lieberman and Cian McClelland.
Nandipha Mntambo – Ukungenisa (2008)
2:30 min.
Fascinated by the ritualised action, public spectacle and charged emotion of the bullfight, Mntambo describes the project as ‘the practice of my future”, a tentative ‘feeling out’ of the territory. The video, Ukungenisa (indicating the mental and physical preparation for a fight, and the opening of a path to allow something to happen), captures the artist literally rehearsing the steps of a bullfighter whom she filmed in Lisbon, juxtaposed with footage of the fight and the crowd of spectators.
This attempt to take on the persona of the bullfighter represents a shift for Mntambo, whose previous work effectively invited the viewer to take her place, to step into the outline of her body as defined by the moulded cowhide. In the course of the project Mntambo envisages being trained as a bullfighter and staging her own fight in the abandoned Praça de Touros in Maputo, the arena where black Mozambicans once fought for the entertainment of the colonial Portuguese. To this end she has made herself a bullfighter’s jacket from her signature cowhide, a means to ‘interpret and take ownership of the tradition’.
The title of this work, Inftombi mfana, means ‘tomboy’, or a girl taking on a male persona. The cows’ ears that form the rear of the jacket introduce the idea of an imaginary crowd bearing witness to her performance.