AT.joburg01 featured a walkabout and panel discussion on art and technology in South Africa – its current practitioners, influences, and spaces: where will they go from here? It was organized by AT.joburg and the JAG (johannesburg art gallery), and sponsored by the JAG and the American Consulate of South Africa.
There was a a great turnout and a fantastic vibe around the work, what is possible in “the digital revolution” (can you smell the irony?), where it always already had begun, what we place value on, and how to locate various technologies, and the potentials they explore (literally and conceptually), in a Southern African context.
The walkabout, of nathaniel stern’s the storytellers, raised some interesting questions from the participants, who asked about things from the devaluation of time spent on art when using software, to the pretense of narcissism in explorations of “self”, and “the promise of something new” inside and outside of interactive spaces. It set the stage for our panel discussion, bravely led by journalist Sean O’Toole, current editor of Art South Africa.
Above, left is video artist Thando Mama, next choreographer/journalist Zingi Mkefa making a point about where and how bodies can be further implicated, even explicated, in the new generation of interactive arts – if only it only weren’t so “wink, wink, nudge, nudge”. On the right is a full view of our panelists, from far left: Sean O’Toole, Thando Mama, Zingi Mkefa, media artist Franci Cronje, artist/curator/innovator Marcus Neustetter (of The Trinity Session, digi-arts Africa and the Southern African New Media Art Network), artist/lecturer Marc Edwards, video artist Churchill Madikida and Prof. Christo Doherty, Head of Digital Arts at Wits School Of the Arts.
We started at noon, and went straight on until five – what a great start of dialogue! More plans for future AT.joburg events are in the works….