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ABOUT:

 

This online residency will explore the process of moving through various modes of making.  I would like to understand what remains and what is complicated when content moves through the shifting perspectives of various disciplines. “If I start here, then where or when will I end up?”

As an architect, artist and spatial practitioner I have found that my practice has unfolded through the lenses of the various disciplines that I am drawn to. I am interested in seeing how layered the content becomes in different contexts. This process will also be informed and nurtured by knowledge sharing with other contemporaries about productivity and process in this particular global pandemic moment - and beyond. 


As seen in the diagram, I will move through various disciplines guided by an input text - where the journey begins. I have selected text from Beloved by Toni Morrison; specifically a portion describing the scene from The Clearing- a field where former slaves would hold sermons. At the time I selected this piece because, since reading it, something shifted in my core - it was a radical call for self love beyond what you are capable of producing, and the value that is subscribed to that. Now in this moment we all find ourselves in (in varying degrees) the text and Toni Morrison has become an anchor and healing force in the chaos of fear and injustice.

“In this here place, we flesh; flesh that weeps, laughs; flesh that dances on bare feet in grass. Love it. Love it hard. Yonder they do not love your flesh. They despise it. They don’t love your eyes; they’d just as soon pick em out. No more do they love the skin on your back. Yonder they flay it.

And O my people they do not love your hands. Those they only use, tie, bind, chop off and leave empty. Love your hands! Love them. Raise them up and kiss them. Touch others with them, pat them together, stroke them on your face ‘cause they don’t love that either. You got to love it, you!

And no, they ain’t in love with your mouth. Yonder, out there, they will see it broken and break it again. What you say out of it they will not heed. What you scream from it they do not hear. What you put into it to nourish your body they will snatch away and give you leavins instead. No, they don’t love your mouth. You got to love it.

This is flesh I’m talking about here. Flesh that needs to be loved. Feet that need to rest and to dance; backs that need support; shoulders that need arms, strong arms I’m telling you. And O my people, out yonder, hear me,they do not love your neck unnoosed and straight. So love your neck; put a hand on it, grace it, stroke it and hold it up. and all your inside parts that they’d just as soon slop for hogs, you got to love them. The dark, dark liver-love it, love it and the beat and beating heart, love that too. More than eyes or feet. More than lungs that have yet to draw free air. More than your life-holding womb and your life-giving private parts, hear me now, love your heart. For this is the prize.”

                                       

                                       - Toni Morrison, Beloved

This week I begin the already fruitful journey of wading through the ocean of knowledge that is my community. I find when I speak to people about their passions and work, I relearn and re-centre my thoughts around my own practice. So in-between my offerings, I am talking to those creatives and healers I have known for many years in conversational podcast-ish episodes. 

 

The online chatting app Zoom (shame, Skype hey) has become such an integral part  of our lives as we connect with those we love and work with during this time. I keep thinking back to those days of long walks and dinner parties where deep conversations would be interrupted by an occasional “shit! We should be recording this!”. I thought it would be interesting to take this global online opportunity to archive the conversations I have with those who have walked and dined with me. I have been struggling to imagine this, but hopefully in doing these episodes I will come closer to the answer about how do we dream, create, synthesize and work together yet apart. I think somewhere within the weird wifi connections, glitching Zoom media, the occasional “can you hear me?”, and the first 6 minutes of terrible “original sound” setting audio in the first episode of this series; an online communication platform has its place in narrative building.

LINDIWE MNGXITAMA [she/they] currently lives and works in Johannesburg as the editor of, and a writer for Bubblegum Club. As a writer and artist, they conceive of the worlds they create through language as radical spaces of re-imagination and critical questioning. Word woven worlds, that engage with historical and socio-political systems and institutions that construct and govern society and subjectivities.

 

Using Beloved and the work of Toni Morrison as a springboard we speak about reimagining the archive of our histories with a substance that is our own, while using both factual and fabricating tools to mirror our narrative. We lament on portals in literature - specifically those that give us access to imagining the possible impossibilities of black life. We show appreciation for weighted titles and text introductions that prepare us for heavier content. And we resonate with each other about the intergenerational inheritances that are scrubbed off and into us by our grandmothers’ hands. We tease, we interrupt each other and we share. 

 

Some references mentioned in the podcast:

-Lindiwe Mngxitama: Muffled echoes from The Wake; requiem for MaMpho

-Saidiya Hartman: Wayward Lives Beautiful Experiments,

-Emeli Sandé: Selah

-Julie Nxadi (in reference to what is witnessed in our grandmother’s bedroom)

base photograph by Nkhensani Mkhari

*Trigger Warning: infanticide*

KOPANO MAROGA [They/Them] is a performance artist, writer, cultural worker and co-founding director of the socio-cultural arts organization ANY BODY ZINE. They are a programmer and dramaturg at Kunstencentrum Vooruit in Ghent, Belgium. Their interests lie at the intersection of art, social justice and healing knowledge systems. They very much believe in the power of love as a weapon of mass construction. 

 

In this episode we talk about the convoluted nature of making work; that sometimes you are constantly arriving at your work - it doesn’t just happen once the project has begun. Through an in-depth look at Kopano's process during their ICA Masters in Live Art, Interdisciplinary and Public Art at the University of Cape Town, I come to realize how life informs the things we produce and how the things that are sent to break us, often become the  break through in our work. Death and Rebirth: like the deities and many-faced gods we reference. We talk about the many many death processes we have had to move through and how we revisit and re-imagine them in our work as a way of accepting the unacceptable- and making it werk. 

 

Some references mentioned in the podcast:

- Limbic Resonance: a collaborative research project founded by Kopano and myself, which seeks to exhume the often looked over narratives and emotional landscapes of cities. 

-Disidentification, a book by José Estaban Muñoz

-Critical Fabulation theory, Saidiya Hartman

base photograph by Katinka Bester 

uLuvuyo Equiano Nyawose ingane kaCindy noKwazi, baKwa-Mashu H section, nga Kwesethu High School. uGogo wakhe, uMaSibisi, umchaza njenge ngane "eyenza izinto zo-Arts & Culture." uNyawose engages in a transdisciplinary practice which navigates between curation, filmmaking and photography to produce work rooted in decolonial knowledge production.

 

In this third stormy episode of Together Yet Apart we begin to contemplate the role of visual documentation as a means to preserve and further family archives. Using a 10 minute voicenote sent around midnight as a catalyst, we speak about Luvuyos first experiences with cameras and self documentation; black leisure and its defiant use in resistance and liberation; and how hesitant we all are to share unpolished process work before the finished product. 

Some references mentioned in the podcast:

-Doreen : Luvuyo's short film (one of many)

-Simple Gestures : a video installation of silent gestures I did for Luvuyo's group   exhibition, A Conversation.

-a conversation between Saidiya Hartman and Arthur Jafa.  

-Water written by Koleka Putuma

base photograph by Lotte van Raalte

DUDUETSANG LAMOLA is a multidisciplinary artist and freelance designer, working primarily with digital and analogue collage.  In an attempt to challenge Western capitalist rhetoric and colonial erasure, her work deconstructs the nature of our perceived reality by de-invisibilising people, places and things.

 

This episode is really special because Dudu is my sister- so you can imagine how the conversation pulls from a lifetime of references and shared experiences. Since we are working with years of content the conversation navigates a crazy path from conspiracy theories, myth making, grandmother's houses, and straight up “what did you dream about last night” sister energies. We talk about how visual work can be layered with multiple perspectives; the power of collaging in rearranging meaning and reversing anthropological gazes; and we advocate for lit unseen, yet powerful,  matches in our own creative corners -which keep the hearth alive- as opposed to huge explosions.

 

Some references mentioned in the podcast:

-Dudu’s Behance

-I start this podcast with a summary of the plot of Beloved (spoilers) and later in the week I came across this very powerful post made by @theconsciouskid about the language to consider when speaking about slavery. This is something I will consider going forward, and I thought I should share it here as I feel it is a very necessary source for all reference in the future.

base photograph by Thato Toeba

*Trigger Warning: infanticide & suicide*

something's in the water...

DUMAMA, born Gugulethu Duma, is a South African future folk performing artist, songwriter and cultural researcher. Inspired by issues around inequality and displacement, she experiments with notions of ancient sounds in a new world, with projects concerned with cultural preservation and the tension and harmonies present in inter-generational exchanges.

 

This episode Dumama and I decided to switch it up and practice our friendship-long tradition of love letters hidden in the music we send each other. We discuss a couple of songs that are healing us,  have been instrumental to our growth, or are giving us strength during this time. Dumama weaves a story of her journey that began with moving from the things that didn't serve her to becoming fully immersed and fortified in her current work. We talk about staying the course in our work despite the irretrievable losses we may face on that path;  drinking tea with our demons and our imposter complexes, heightened by the lockdown; and we explore loss through rituals of lamenting.

Some references mentioned in the podcast:

Buffering Juju , a project by Dumama and Kechou

Boiler Session performed by Dumama and Kechou

Ancient Sounds in a New World, by Found at Sea

base photograph by Chris Kets

KHENSANI DE KLERK is an architectural designer and planner from Johannesburg, South Africa. She received a Bachelors in Architecture (2017) and a Bachelors of City Planning (Hons) (2019) from The University of Cape Town. She has been a researcher at ETH Zürich at the Chair of Architecture and Urban Design, and has worked in both Zurich, Johannesburg and Cape Town.  Khensani is the founder and co-director of Matri-Archi(tecture), an intersectional collective that empowers African womxn as a network dedicated to African built development and spatial education. She is currently reading an MPhil in Architecture and Urban Design (RIBA II) at The University of Cambridge with her research focusing on anti-Gender based violence safe spaces in Cape Town.

 

On this last Together Yet Apart episode for my virtual stay here at residency 11:11, I invited Khensani to unpack her work about  creating spaces that reflect a substance that is our own, and therefore ours  to make safe, through her current thesis work. We talk about daring to imagine spaces for us by us as a form of radical joy; we unpack the role of spatial synthesis in understanding and debunking “safe spaces”; We talk about the academic institutes that simultaneously made and unmade us; we encourage each other to ask “what if?” more often so that one day this will become “what next?”.

base photograph by Giorgia Young

*Trigger Warning: gender-based violence*

SITE 1 :

I ask you again, where are you located? No matter; either way, I'm sure you will find it.

SITE 2 :

And When You Do, Remove It Slippery and Wet from Its Casing,

SITE 3 :

Engulf it whole (before they snatch it away) and press it to the roof of your mouth; where it will remain.

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