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Art-binge: The art-related documentaries, talks, and performances to watch online

We might all be a little tired of a life lived online at this point, but an evening or a weekend spent binge-watching great series, films, or documentaries while bundled up on the couch or in bed is a timeless activity.
     Ahead of the holiday season, we’ve put together a list of some great art-related documentaries, performances, talks, and films both new and old for you to watch at your leisure. From online symphony seasons and enduring artist lectures to short, sharp performances and new series on some of the world’s greatest artists, there’s something for every art-lover to enjoy.

‘Six Drawing Lessons’ by William Kentridge

In 2012, South African artist William Kentridge was invited by scholar and critical theorist Homi K Bhabha to present the Charles Eliot Norton Lectures at Harvard. The six-part lecture series, titled ‘Six Drawing Lessons’, has been made available to view on YouTube and is an insightful and enduring series of talks by Kentridge on ways of seeing and making sense of the world. Watch the full series on Youtube.

TAF artist talks, discussions, and walkabouts

While the 2020 iteration of the Turbine Art Fair didn’t take place in the physical realm, the fair did great work to translate and reimagine the multifaceted event for the online realm. If you’re looking for some inspiring and insightful artist talks, walkabouts, or panel discussions on South African art, it’s definitely worth watching the TAF’s talks.

virtual RMB Turbine Art Fair TAF 2020 Walkabout Programmes
virtual RMB Turbine Art Fair TAF 2020 Talks Programmes

vNAF

If you’re a fan of the annual National Arts Festival, you’ll know that this year the festival took place entirely online, instead of in the Eastern Cape town of Makhanda as usual. If you weren’t able to view some of the offerings of their Virtual festival, or if you’re wanting to do it all over again, head over to their website for recorded panel discussions and workshops, or check out their Virtual Fringe platform for an online offering of new and experimental theatre, comedy, and more.  

National Theatre at Home

Lovers of British Theatre will be overjoyed to see that The National Theatre is bringing its staged works to homes across the globe with National Theatre at Home. Here, traditional theatre enters the realm of theatrical film as Amadeus, Medea, Othello and more are translated for home screens. Browse to your heart’s content on the National Theatre at Home website.   

Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra lockdown performances

Like so many performing arts individuals and entities, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra was faced with two choices during South Africa’s national lockdown – stop performing entirely, or find new ways of doing what they do best. Thankfully, they chose the latter and the result is a series of wonderfully innovative and engaging short performances, all taking place in the respective homes of its many artists, and brought together in the virtual realm. View one of our favourites below, and watch the rest on YouTube. More recently, they also performed a lunch-hour virtual concert which you can watch here.

The Centre for the Less Good Idea’s 2020 Online Season

A short while before Johannesburg’s The Centre for the Less Good Idea was scheduled to stage their 7th Season of collaborative and interdisciplinary performances, it was announced that South Africa would be going into a national lockdown. The Centre responded by rapidly filming select performances and streaming them online to the public. While plans to stage the full Season in 2021 are in the works, you can still view the online programme of performances online.  

Art in the Twenty-FirstCentury

If you’re a fan of the visual arts then Art in the Twenty-First Century is for you. The award-winning biennial program “allows viewers to observe the artists at work, watch as they transform inspiration into art, and hear how they struggle with both the physical and visual challenges of achieving their visions.” A few of the South African artists featured include Robin Rhode, David Goldblatt, Zanele Muholi, and Nicholas Hlobo. View all of their series here.

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