New Art Exhibition at Castle of Good Hope features Michaelis artists and staff

3 Aug 2017 - 13:30

Labourers by Jane Alexander.  Photograph:  Mario Todeschini

Drs Kurt Campbell and Heidi Grunebaum

The Centre for Humanities Research, UWC, in collaboration with Michaelis School of Fine Art at UCT, presents ‘Athlone in Mind’ - a group show of commissioned contemporary art, curated by Dr Kurt Campbell. The exhibition, digital platform and book edited by Dr Heidi Grunebaum take the place of Athlone in Cape Town to explore new ways of imagining and thinking about marginalised sites of creativity and arts production.

Soup Stoep by Husan and Husain Essop

The exhibition will be installed at the Castle of Good Hope, to coincide with a major international humanities conference organised by the CHR on behalf of the CHCI (Consortium for Humanities Centres and Institutes). The 2017 conference titled, "The Humanities Improvised", will attract international scholars, artists, filmmakers, and jazz musicians from across Africa and elsewhere.

Artist Jane Alexander is designated ‘festival artist’ for the 2017 CHCI event. A solo exhibition of Professor Jane Alexander’s selected works will show for the duration of the event with work that has not been previously shown in South Africa.

‘Athlone in Mind’ engages diverse artistic practices and scholarly essays to explore how artistic practice invites imaginings of place and space in ways that exceed and undo apartheid’s spatial formations and temporal co-ordinates.  The commissioned artists for the show have been chosen for their diverse artistic practices in creating a composite lens to think about Athlone.

Zyma Amien will explore vacated parts of Athlone by using suspended sculptures and cement castings that rethink the dynamics of space and displacement. She works with ordinary objects in extraordinary ways. Husan and Husain Essop offer large format high resolution photographs that fix and disrupt our view of those who traverse Athlone on a daily basis. CHR Artist in Residence, Dathini Mzayiya will reflect on the subject of schooling in contemporary education. Associate Professor Berni Searle has made a video projection that invokes the cinematic procedure, taking Athlone as the point of departure for her narrative. Kemang Wa Lehulere has created an installation made of found objects as meditations that question the distribution of the sensible in South African society.

Kemang Wa Lehulere. Photograph: Vanessa Cowling

Though utilising different conceptual approaches and practices of art making, the commissioned artists share an understanding of the art object as a particular projection and embodiment of desire to delineate and dream space. The artworks will explore the mobility of thought as image in apprehending Athlone, not as a destination but as a field of mobile images that are unsettled and fluid. The essays in the book commissioned from a range of writers include, A Question of Place by Heidi Grunebaum; Curatorial notes on the exhibition ‘Athlone in Mind’ by Kurt Campbell; Between History and Apocalypse: Stumbling by Premesh Lalu; Another Athlone, dreamscapes and the aesthetic imagination of faith by Gabeba Baderoon ; In the tracks of jazz refuge(es): sounds cross Athlone Lindelwa Dalamba ; Athlone: Exploring the meaning of place through a journey of the sensible by Michail Rassool.

An image of one of the i-beacons placed at various venues in Athlone, Langa and Gugulethu.  These i-beacons are used to disseminate this catalogue and to facilitate virtual tours of the exhibition itself.

The technology systems of ‘Athlone in Mind’ feature the most advanced complimentary technologies available. The exhibition will deploy a number of i-beacon transmitters, able to circulate the website and catalogue accessible to anyone in possession of a smart phone. I-beacons can be attached to almost any surface as small battery-powered sensor devices that wirelessly communicate and transmit data to apps on mobile devices using Bluetooth technology. On connection, the app on the mobile device is triggered to display content like video, voice, images and music. The i-beacon transmitters will be placed at public locations
in Athlone and Langa ensuring that the exhibition, book catalogue and archival content may be accessed and followed in real time, off site.

Professor Jane Alexander’s site specific installation shows in The Old Stable and the ‘Athlone in Mind’ exhibition shows in the Old Recruitment Office.

This is event is curated by Dr Kurt Campbell at the Castle of Good Hope from 10-13 August 2017.  It will be open daily from 10h00 until 17h00.

Daily exhibition walk-abouts will take place from 12h00 to 12h30.

For further information contact: Kurt Campbell: 072 149 9163 or Heidi Grunebaum: 082 438 5476