The Institute for Creative Arts has announced restless exuberance!, an event featuring a public art symposium alongside live performances taking place from 1 – 5 December.
The title restless exuberance! is derived from the title of the ICA’s forthcoming publication Restless Infections: Public Art in South Africa which explores the Infecting the City (ITC) public art festival – the largest and longest running public art festival in the country – as well as works that have challenged or transformed city spaces in South Africa within and beyond this festival. Each of the 13 contributors to the book will present their research and engage with audiences about their work.
restless exuberance! is concerned not only with ‘public art’ in its strict definition, but more broadly with performative encounters in the public sphere, and public art as an ongoing process of enquiry into what constitutes meaning-making in the public sphere. The symposium (and the book) is forward-looking – moving beyond an investigation of infection and dis-ease to think through possibilities for healing, recuperation and renewal of public and public spaces in the time of Covid-19 and beyond.
The programme features nationally and internationally acclaimed artists, prominent curators and academics and comprises four panels over Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. Mpho Matsipa, Mbongeni Mtshali and Sikhumbuzo Makandula kick off the symposium in a panel titled nationhood and restless exuberance while Audience engagement and publics features Jay Pather, Vaughn Sadie, Rike Sitas and Leila Anderson. Khanyisile Mbongwa, Sarah Nuttall and Catherine Boulle consider building, renewal and memory and the final panel land, home and belonging comprises Meghna Singh, Sinazo Chiya, Ismail Farouk and Nicole Sarmiento. Each panel will be followed by a Q&A with the audience.
As with all ICA events, these conference-style presentations are interspersed with live performance. While the performances have been limited due to pandemic challenges, three compelling productions punctuate restless exuberance! foregrounding ritual, ceremony and states of illumination and exuberance, in intimate and public spaces.
The internationally acclaimed contemporary dance company Jonas & Lander from Lisbon will present Adorabilis which ‘creates a ceremonial space filled by bodies in a state of emergency, and acts as a fictional machine housing three presences exposed and victimised by invisible tensions’. Amathetha Ntungu – Ihlombe by acclaimed South African artist and academic Nkosenathi Koela illustrates the cultural distinction between a ritual and a gathering through the indigenous concept of ihlombe versus intlombe.
Finally, the visually compelling Future for the Past by Dutch company Sites of Memory takes the audience on a poetic, ceremonial journey through the city, from the Slave Lodge, to Church Square and ending in the Company’s Garden. This journey back in time to the shared colonial past between the Netherlands and South Africa is an international collaboration amongst visual and performing artists from both countries.