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Contemporary Artists from South Africa
Video Screenings by:
Bridget Baker | Robyn Nesbitt & Nina Barnett | Eduardo Cachucho| Hasan & Husain Essop | Nadine Hutton | Bongani Khoza | Jessica Gregory & Zen Marie | Nandipha Mntambo |
Cameron Platter | Bernie Searle

04.06. - 08.08.10


Bridget Baker - Steglitz House
"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 auto-biographical mythologies in the space which 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.
Time: 9:00min - 2009-2010

Robyn Nesbitt & Nina Barnett - Warcry
A school warcry 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, both for the performing students and for those witnessing it. In this dual screen video installation, two schools perform their warcry at each other – the combined roar 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, 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 tradition of warcries that permeates the South African school system.
Dual Screen Video Projection.
Time: simultaneous videos 0:40min - 2008

Eduardo Cachucho - Water
A man dreams of drowning in ‘himself’. His own bodily fluids have overtaken his body. Like a nightmare he tries to wake up but has no way of doing so. He must succumb to the fate his body has placed him in. As water gushes out of every orifice he thrashes-about trying to dislodge himself from his reality.
Time: 1:53min - 2008

Hasan & Husain Essop - Visiting the Revolution
Through this work the artists explore with the role of the indivi-dual 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 repre-sentation 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.
Time: 3:10min - 2010

Nadine Hutton - Ignore Me
How often have your deliberately locked your eyes forward to avoid the person trying to catch your eye at a traffic light? This is their story.
Time: 2:29min - 2009

Bongani Khoza - In Transit
"In Transit" compares the interaction of people, and the dialogue between a persons personal or private space to an individuals decision to transgress these imaginary boundaries. I use video recordings to re-contextualizes public and private structures within the public space.
Time: Video 1: Interview 12:14min - Video 2: In The Train 11:43min - 2007

Jessica Gregory & Zen Marie - The Perfect Leader
"The Perfect Leader" is a short film that questions political leadership. Specifically, the film addresses the controversial dyna-mics 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.
Time: 4:31min – 2009

Nandipha Mntambo - Ukungenisa
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.
Time: 2:30min - 2008

Berni Searle - Gateway
"Gateway" is the second of a trilogy of videos which forms part of the ‘Black smoke rising’ series. This series was conceived at a 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 the lack of the provision of housing. Frustrations and levels of desperation continue to grow, creating simmering tensions that have the potential to erupt.
Time: 4:00min - 2010

Cameron Platter
- Beware the Curves, video animation
“Beware the Curves”, an hour long animated film, is a tale of good and bad in South Africa. Loud, darkly humorous, graphic and confrontational, the stop- animation lurches and flashes, pulling out numerous simple conventions to depict action, movement and narrative. Using a film- noir voice, and a severely disjointed dialogue, “Beware the Curves” relates the trials and tribulations of an odd assortment of protagonists. The video is absurd, tragic, and convoluted.
Time: 1 hour 35 sec, colour, sound - 2006

- 3 Stories, video animation
“3 Stories” is made up of three different, cyclical, and interlinking, stories, all of varying lengths. Each story was designed to be projected cinema-size onto a different wall, with its own sound turned up loud. In “3 Stories” are a martini-slugging, sports-car-crashing crocodile, journeys to and from the underworld, a stripper rising from the grave, a cursed lion who can’t decide whether he’s good or bad and loves to pleasure himself, God as a deceased American Rap star with a designer shoe-fetish, Zebras from Outer Space, cities throbbing with sleazy strip joints, all-nite bars and possible redemption, a man who turns into an elephant who makes love to a leopard, golden briefcases, a spaceship that may or may not save the world, a boat that provides an escape route from a sinking planet, and Hell as a very nice place.
Time: duration variable, colour, sound - 2008

- Black Up That White Ass II, video animation
“Black Up That White Ass II”, a 26 minute long, animated video work is a Good vs. Evil story of contemporary life in South Africa weaved through erotic pornography, historic battle stories, biblical parables, and psychedelic dream sequences.
Influenced by the tradition of storytelling in the medium of woodcuts, Slasher gore, Z- grade gangster films, local politics, witchdoctors, kids cartoons, MTV, penis extension machines, arcadia, strip clubs, tabloid horror stories, and the lure of casinos, this film speaks to us about the universal themes of sex, love, violence, beauty, and things falling apart.
With the meticulous appropriation of John Muafangejo, Big Wet Asses III, the Battle of Rorkes Drift in KwaZulu-Natal, the parable of the Good Shepard, and the Coen brothers’ Big Lebowski, Platter creates an ultra primitive, anti-aesthetic take on what it means to be alive today in South Africa.
Platter works with the time–consuming medium of animation, each sequence labouriously digitally handmade. The film has an especially composed soundtrack by Platter’s frequent collaborator Captain Asthma and includes shades of Death Metal, Rozalla Miller’s “Everybody’s Free”, Kenny Rogers, South African Maskanda, and New Age Afro Blues Psychedelica.
Time: 26:55min, colour, sound - 2009

- The Old Fashion, video animation
“The Old Fashion" is a reaction to franchise depoliticized nation South Africa is fast becoming. It is a work in darkly humourous nihilism. Using the Third Man, Prince Barrack Hussein’s sports water/ penis combo, dance montages, a underwater hideout of a deranged Charles Taylor cat (obviously bent on world domination), a latexed up lion, and a fast food restaurant on Asstropolis; all vechiles for his satire. The soundtrack, directed by Platter, is the work of his good friend and frequent collaborator, Captain Asthma.
Time: 15:23min, colour, sound - 2010