BREACH | SOUTHERN AFRICAN FILM MEDITATIONS
Underground Studio | State Theatre Centre of WA | 174-176 William St, Perth WA 6000
26 August 2017 | 2PM - 6PM
Curated by Roelof Petrus van Wyk for Another Antipodes Inc
An afternoon Urban Film Excursion, crossing borders and boundaries, occupying central places and spaces in the city of Perth. This is Africa right now, in moving image.
An overburdened boat. Eight hundred bodies weigh the fragile vessel down, transversing the Mediterranean sea. Another journey comes to light with a refugee child body on the water’s edge of Turkish holiday town, Bodrum. A picture of a three year old child body, bent forward, his face buried in the surf. Looking nearly alive, until we realise otherwise. Only then do we start to feel something, only when we see a photograph, or CNN reporting LIVE. Just so you know, his name was Alan Kurdi. Try and remember him. It’s the least we can do.
A breach, an attempt to a better life, another life, a safer life. But also, a breach which crosses international law, across the sea, a prayer and a cross in hand.
Artists respond to these, often faraway, events in visceral, meaningful and poignant ways in three sessions of film and performance based moving image artwork.
SESSION 1 and 2
Ditte Haarløv Johnsen traces another such journey from Ghana to Copenhagen in her film Days of Hope. If you listen carefully, you will hear sound snippets sampled from Italian broadcast radio on both Jetsam directed by Arya Lalloo and Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi, and Michael MacGarry’s Sea of Ash, reporting on the deaths of nearly 800 people of multiple nationalities off the Mediterranean coast in April 2015.
Crossing Southern Africa, Michael MacGarry’s Excuse me while I disappear, transports the viewer to the ghost town of Kilamba Kiaxi, a city financed by Chinese companies, which sprang up from nothing to provide 210,000 people with a new home near Luanda, Angola, following a daydreaming protagonist, as he sweeps the empty streets.
If Sessions 1 and 2 are narratives of bodies moving across space, pace and time, then the films of Athi-Patra Ruga, Jimmy ChuChu, Mohau Modisakeng and Maurice Mbikayi, are personal meditations of affective inner geographies. These artists explore spaces of contested contact zones, conflict zones as well as notions of consent, generated by the lines of referral of sexuality, gender and race, crisscrossing through their practices.
SESSION 1 | 2:00 PM - 2:55 PM
DITTE HAARLØV JOHNSEN - SISTERS , ONE DAY
2:00 PM | SISTERS
An insight into the world of Sisters - A group of young gay men from Maputo, Mozambique. Life is lived to the max in a present marked by physical assaults, poverty, prostitution, HIV and stigmatization - tomorrow might be too late.
A FILM BY DITTE HAARLØV JOHNSEN
ORIGINAL TITLE SISTERS - DVD PAL –16:9
DURATION 23 MIN
COPYRIGHT 2003 DITTE HAARLØV JOHNSEN, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
2:25 PM | ONE DAY
She is beautiful, she is strong. She is 36 years old and comes from West Africa. She lives in the suburb of Copenhagen. She works as a prostitute. Each month she sends money home to the family. She misses them. She believes in God. She eats and smokes more than she used to. And outside it’s raining.
DIRECTOR DITTE HAARLØV JOHNSEN
CINEMATOGRAPHER MINKA JAKERSON
EDITOR JEPPE BØDSKOV
SOUND DESIG MIKKEL SØRENSEN
COMPOSER MARK SOLBORG
PRODUCER DITTE HAARLØV JOHNSEN
PRODUCED BY THE NATIONAL FILM SCHOOL OF DENMARK
ORIGINAL TITLE ONE DAY - DVD PAL 4:3
DURATION 31 min
COPYRIGHT 2007 THE NATIONAL FILM SCHOOL OF DENMARK, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
SESSION 2 | 3:15 PM - 4:15 PM
ARYA LALLOO & THENJIWE NIKI NKOSI - JETSAM
THENJIWE NIKI NKOSI - CROSSING
MICHAEL MACGARRY - EXCUSE ME WHILE I DISAPPEAR , SEA OF ASH , FLIES
3:15 PM | JETSAM
Jetsam is marine debris that has been thrown overboard to lighten a ship's load. It is alienated property. It belongs to whoever finds it washed up on shore or floating at sea or sunk to the bottom.
The discoverer appropriates it, can sell it, use it or simply make it theirs. Focus on the horizon and you won't get seasick. A distant shoreline. A gentle sway. Extended temporality.Under the surface there is movement, urgency. Colours collide. Chaos as the weighty sink and lighter float.
What do we do with a crisis we are complicit in? We are intellectually, emotionally and perhaps even spiritually grappling with security, belonging, inequality, identity, nationality, entitlement, past and future, possible and impossible. Jetsam is a collaboration between filmmaker Arya Lalloo and artist Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi conceived in the weeks leading up to The Johannesburg Pavilion in Venice.
A FILM BY ARYA LALLOO & THENJIWE NIKI NKOSI
ORIGINAL TITLE JETSAM
DURATION 10 MIN 30 SEC
3:25 PM | CROSSING
On any given day, thirty-one thousand people cross the crocodile-infested Limpopo River,separating Zimbabwe and South Africa. Seventeen thousand people are processed at the border post. Thenjiwe Niki Nkosi’s meditative and poetic film, Crossing, accompanies those who walk through the treacherous waters of the Limpopo. What this film makes you see, is that these bodies are alive, dreaming, living hopeful beings. They are not only immigrants walking their way to better lives, they are also riveting storytellers, blossoming actors, and gifted theatre makers, now self-organising a community theatre on the farm bordering the border. Some of them reach Johannesburg, joining supportive communities which live in this contested, complex and exhilarating city of golden dreams. Some of them...
A FILM BY THENJIWE NIKI NKOSI
ORIGINAL TITLE CROSSING
DURATION 4 MIN 35 SEC
3.30 PM | EXCUSE ME WHILE I DISAPPEAR
Kilamba Kiaxi, a new city built outside Luanda Angola by the Chinese construction company CITIC for US$3.5 billion and financed by Hong Kong-based China International Fund, forms the backdrop of this film. The new city is to be home to more than 250 000 people, and is the single largest investment project by China in Africa. Fascinated by this urban concrete jungle is a young municipal worker who lives by night in the old city centre of Luanda and works by day as a groundskeeper at the new city of Kilamba Kiaxi, far, far away. Daydreaming, unable to contain his curiosity, he sneaks into an apartment block, and in turn breaks into an unoccupied apartment where he discovers Australian cricket on television and a portal to a new dimension.
Conceptually, the film is concerned with the visual mechanics of mid- century European ethnographic cinema, African science-fiction, the ‘Metropolitan Picturesque’ and Chinese visual perspective
Written, directed, produced and edited by MICHAEL MACGARRY
Original score MICHAEL MACGARRY
Sound design MICHAEL MACGARRY
Visual FX CHRISTO JANSEM NIEMAND
Cast VINCENTE BRAVO
Filmed on location in Kilamba Kiaxi, Angola
RUN TIME 19 MIN 10 SEC
3:50 PM | SEA OF ASH
A poetic re-imagining of Thomas Mann’s 1925 novella Death in Venice featuring a Senegalese man Tadzio, a visitor to Italy from West Africa after surviving the treacherous and often fatal journey by sea. The film takes us on a journey from the remarkable Brion Cemetery at San Vito in the Alpine mountains of North- Eastern Italy to the beautiful coastal area of the Venetian lagoon. As if on a pilgrimage, on Lido Island he visits the famous Hotel dés Bains before reaching his last port of call, the dés Baines beach. From here he embarks on an ambitious voyage, an attempt to return home the only way he knows how.
Written, directed, produced and edited by MICHAEL MACGARRY
Director of photography ROBERT WILSON, MICHAEL MACGARRY
Original score MARKUS WORMSTORM
Sound design MICHAEL MACGARRY
Visual FX CHRISTO JANSEN NEIMAND
Cast PAPE BABACAR KEBE
Filmed on location in Bassano del Grappa,Milano, Venice and LidoIsland - Italy
DURATION 11 MIN 57 SEC
4:05 PM | FLIES
Set in Pretoria in 1995, an elderly Afrikaans former civil servant – years after the death of his family in an accident – finds himself as the sole inhabitant of a large, derelict downtown apartment complex he once designed. When he accidentally witnesses a political assassination, he is forced into a violent confrontation with modernity and his own creation.
Written and directed MICHAEL MACGARRY
Editor SAKI BERGH
Director of photography JAMIE RAMSAY
Original score MARKUS WORMSTORM
Sound design ROBERT BRINKWORTH
Visual FX KENO NAIDOO
Producer LAURENCE HAMBURGER
Louis van Niekerk
Shot on location atSchubart Park, Pretoria,South Africa
RUN TIME 10 MIN 10 SEC
SESSION 3 | 4:30 PM
If SESSION 1 and 2 are narratives of bodies moving across space, pace and time, then the films of Athi-Patra Ruga, Jimmy ChuChu, Mohau Modisakeng and Maurice Mbikayi in this session, are personal meditations of affective inner geographies. Explore spaces of contested contact zones, conflict zones as well as notions of consent, generated by the lines of referral of sexuality, gender and race, crisscrossing through their practices. The artsits lacerate, lace and light genres of theatre, music-video making and embroidery, into exhilarating performance, photography and film works gatecrashing the current art party’s conservative conception of ‘African art'. Coming from across the sub-continent; the Congo, Kenya, Johannesburg, Cape Town and the Republic of Transkei or ‘the area beyond the River Kei’, these artists are interconnected in many more ways, other than identifying as ‘African’. What does ‘Africa’ mean anyway? Who can call themselves ‘African’ by the way? The works presented in this film program can only start to map the complex geographies we weave in a globalised world.
JIM CHUCHU - THE BONES REMEMBER, INVOCATION
MAURICE MBIKAYI - WEBJACKET , DOTS & DASHES
ARTHI PATRA-RUGA - OVER THE RAINBOW
MOHAU MODISAKENG - PASSAGE
4:30 PM | THE BONES REMEMBER
Jim Chuchu is an exceptional multi-discilplinary artist living and working in Nairobi, Kenya. His range of work includes films, photography and music. Chuchu directed his first short film, Homecoming and premiered at 2013 Durban International Film followed by screening at Toronto Film Festival, Santa Barbara international Film festival and a few other Film festivals. His photographic series Pagans envision a reconstruction of future-past anonymous African Deities and attempts to reconstruct pre-colonial religious practices in Africa. Pagans will be the first solo exhibition dedicated to the Artist.
ARTIST JIM CHUCHU
TITLE THE BONES REMEMBER | 2016 | 4 MINS
TITLE INVOCATION | 2015 | 6 MINS 05 SEC
4:40 PM | WEB JACKET
DOTS AND DASHES
Explore the the impact of DigitaI Identity through the Cult of the Body (an African Perspective with particular reference to the Democratic Republic of Congo). Drawing on culture of identity expressed through fashion, a digitally enslaved body has moved into the interweb – a kind of ‘permanency’ in the virtual world, while still offline. A schizophrenic personality inevitably experienced daily within a virtual world. Anxious not to miss out on news, updates and fashions, and so feel the need to ‘permanently’ stay online. Haunting song, dance, poerty and technology collide in this visceral on online addiction.
ARTIST MAURICE MBIKAYI
TITLE WEB JACKET | 2015 | 9:00 MIN
TITLE DOTS AND DASHES | 2016 | 6 MIN
CLOSING FILM FOCUS
5:00 PM | OVER THE RAINBOW
Over The Rainbow is a direct reference to the phrase ‘The Rainbow Nation’, bestowed on post-Apartheid South Africa by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The myth of the Rainbow Nation was conjured from the wreckage of apartheid society in an effort to create a banner under which an inclusive new South African national identity could take shape.
In Over The Rainbow Ruga satirically references the end of the new South African honeymoon period and alludes to existing racial and social tensions that have been sugar-coated by ‘rainbowism’ in lieu of true societal transformation. His disenchantment also extends more specifically to the positioning of black artists in reference to the western gaze; a motif he plays with through the use of campy dressing room theatrics in which role-play, masquerade and critique are cleverly rolled into one. Mouthing the words to the iconic South African pop song Weekend Special by Music legend Brenda Fassie, Ruga laments the fickle affections of a lover, that are one-sided and bestowed only when convenient – a metaphor for the creative exchange with Africa, for the most part conducted according to the whims and for the satisfaction of western desire.
Work Title: Over the Rainbow
Artist: Athi-Patra Ruga
Running time : 14 MIN
Medium: Digital Video single channel projection
Age suitability: All ages
Athi-Patra Ruga was born in Umtata, Republic of the Transkei in 1984, and lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. Exploring the border-zones between costume, performance and contemporary art, Athi-Patra Ruga makes work that exposes and subverts the body in relation to structure, ideology and politics. Bursting with eclectic multicultural references, carnal sensuality and a dislocated undercurrent of humor, his performances, videos, costumes and photographic images create a world where cultural identity is no longer determined by geographical origins, ancestry or biological disposition, but is increasingly becoming a hybrid construct.
5:15 PM | PASSAGE
PASSAGE is a three-channel projection that meditates on slavery’s dismemberment of African identity and its enduring erasure of personal histories.
In each of the artwork’s three projections, we are confronted with a character – a woman with a hawk perched on her arm, a young man in a Trilby hat and a woman wrapped in a Basotho blanket. The arched shape of the boat frames each passenger with their heads pointed towards the prow of the boat, they are each traveling with a single possession. As the passengers lie motionless on their backs looking up at the sky they begin to perform a series of actions that move between gestures of struggle and resignation. A pool of water slowly forms beneath their bodies. The rising water gradually floods the well of the boat eventually leaving the passengers submerged while the boat is slowly sinking and eventually disappearing.
In Setswana the experience of life is referred to as a ‘passage’. The Setswana word for life, botshelo, means ‘to cross over’. As such, all human beings are referred to as bafeti (‘voyagers’), a word that points to the fact that the experience of life is transient; it has a beginning and an end, as with any voyage.
Passage (2017) was commissioned by the South African Department of Arts and Culture on the occasion of the 57th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia.
ARTIST : MOHAU MODISAKENG
2017 TITLE : PASSAGE | 2017 | 18 MINS 48 SECS
3 CHANNEL VIDEO
SOUTH AFRICA PAVILION . 57th Venice Art Biennale 2017. WHATIFTHEWORLD