Ismail Farouk in performance at "Push Play"
One of the less publicized events at the the Johannesburg Art Fair was the "Push Play" exhibition at the Bag Factory in Fordsburg. The show, rather hastily curated by Rat Western featured single channel videos from a number of new Johannesburg artists. Of the videos on exhibition, there is not a great deal to say, but Rat’s own contribution stood out due to her wry humour and unrelenting exploration of domestic pathos. The real treat however was the live video and sound performance by Ismail Farouk and MT (Murray Turpin) that was held in a room at the back of the exhibition area.
For anyone familiar with the trajectory of these two artists it was a revelatory collaboration. Ismail’s visual explorations of street life in Johannesburg, using time lapse animation and video filters, was dynamically matched to MT’s sound collages which fused urban sound recordings with abstract beats. What really took their work into a new paradigm was that they fused installation art with the imperatives of live VJ and DJ performance. Perhaps it was indicative of the distorted priorities that characterised the Johannesburg Art Fair, where the well-monied and expensively dressed buyers crowded into the Sandton Convention Centre; while the really exciting work at this performance in Fordburg was witnessed by about 12 people.
MT in performance on the audio decks at the "Push Play" opening at the Bag Factory
Ismail’s primary video projection which illuminated the angle between the wall and the
pressed steel ceiling of the back room at the Bag Factory in Fordsburg.
A view of the full installation showing the main projection with the associated single-
channel video monitors positioned strategically around the performance space.
[All photographs by Chris Saunders]