Für das Festival-im-Festival NEW FREQUENCIES haben wir mit mehreren langjährigen SPIELART Künstler*innen zusammengearbeitet. Boyzie Cekwana hat dafür ein Mentor*innenprojekt entwickelt. Bei SERIES X steht die Auseinandersetzung ausgewählter Künstler*innen, die alle auch als Kulturveranstalter*innen tätig sind, mit ihrem lokalen Umfeld im Mittelpunkt. Boyzie Cekwana schreibt über das Projekt.
At a time when a global health pandemic seems to have upended all notions of held truths… a time when truth and lies have morphed into a conveniently unrecognisable mutant phenomenon… at a time when the collision of our confusions about our rights, as opposed to our privileges, has left us feeling somewhat impotent and numb to the pain of the passage of days…. at this time, when we’ve reached the pinnacle of our grotesque and fatal misunderstanding of the difference between the two, right and privilege, when those two have become far more important than the more critical vocation of justice, the vocation of saving our lives, all lives, let alone saving the planet upon which we depend… at a time when we seem to have come, finally, to the precipice, the edge of a world which, according to the words of one Marvin Gaye, is destined to die…. at this time, when the series of banal and fetid political and vested interests have opened the sluice gates to unleash a torrent of violence, fear and hatred…
At this time, we dare to dream of art, not as a right and certainly neither as a privilege nor an act of God, but as a necessity. A necessity to breathe, a necessity to remember that, human beings once walked here… we held hands here, we laughed and danced here, we said hello to our neighbour and saw the smile on her face without the necessity of a mask to protect ourselves from an invisible, shared enemy…
At this time, we dare to remember that art is profound, for it is useless and it is necessary. We dare to remember that art is our language, the only tool at our disposal that allows us to speak the world in our name, to dare utter the word that, ‘our bodies are here’. They have always been here. And so have we.
Now, we dare to remind any doubter that artists are here, artists are here not as emissaries or canaries in a coalmine, but as citizens. Even the endless series of failures and nightmares around us cannot hold back the truth that we have dreamed of another series.
SERIES X dreams of registering a memory that artists make work not only for an audience, but perhaps importantly, for a context. Hopefully, they make work that speaks not only of that context, but to it as well. SERIES X invites three African artists to speak through their work to the context that informs their response to the world. The intent is not to encourage them to produce performative projects displaying high virtuosity or intellectual gymnastics, as much as interest in supporting their strategies for engaging with the contexts in which they find themselves. Contexts that shape the tone of the volatile art they strive to tame under complex and challenging circumstances.
SERIES X was designed to address, in part, the challenges of exchange and mobility within and around the African continent. Much of the work made here is never seen on the continent and only ever gets to live in distant elsewheres like Europe, Asia or North America. This concept was conceived to stage a novel relay or series of artist-curated events in three locales on the continent, Harare, Pietermaritzburg and Nairobi respectively, with the ultimate stop in the relay being the SPIELART Theaterfestival in Munich. The locales in Africa are the contexts in which the three invited artists, Tegan Peacock, Adam Chienjo and SoKo live and work from.
In principle, the artists are invited to create a new work, as well as curate a small event to be staged in their living and working city. As part of the curated events, the artists would present each other’s work in each context, as well as encounter said context and its active operators. Two of the encounters were presented successfully in Pietermaritzburg and Nairobi.
Due to Covid-19 related constraints and regulations, the Harare leg of the relay had to be scrapped.
The conversation continues.