Blurring of boundaries in new digital landscape at Live Art Festival

Our digital lives come to the fore as artists give credence to concerns over the boundaries between electronic constructs and reality, at GIPCA’s Live Art Festival taking place in Cape Town between 30 November and 4 December 2012.

Swiss Theatre director, space designer, and curator Boris Nikitin presents Imitation of Life - a profound piece which points to the origin of our suspicion that things might not be what they appear to be; and an extraordinary interpretation of Woyzeck, featuring a live audio stream of the performance on the web.

Paradise is a religious term for a place in which existence is positive, harmonious and timeless. It is conceptually a counter image of the supposed miseries of human civilisation. Some people say paradise is something different for each person.  Highway to Heaven/Paradise Road is a conversation between two artists trying to get to that place called Paradise; Hlengiwe Lushaba Madlala (2006 Standard Bank Young Artist Award Winner for Dance) and Sdu Majola have worked together on a number of projects and bring a wealth of local and international choreographic and directorial experience to this piece, which unpacks questions surrounding boundaries, and the effect of borders in society.

Locating these issues in the over abundance of social media, The Digital Man is a live performance installation that grapples with juxtaposition of Real Identity (what may be regarded as the essence), and Digital Identity. In a world filled with overbearing but hypnotic multi-media experiences, affirmations through outside electronic, disembodied  ‘hits’ are critiqued through meticulous sculpting of live performance with media.  Comprising rising stars, writer Gabriella Pinto and performer Imaan Isaacs,  The Poor Artists, who present this work, operate as a collective and aim to create work that inspires intrigues and provokes audiences.

James Webb has been working on both large-scale installations in galleries and museums as well as unannounced interventions in public spaces since 2001. His work also explores the nature of belief and dynamics of communication in our contemporary world, often using exoticism, displacement and humour to achieve these aims. For the Live Art Festival, he presents In Living Memory Of What Never Happened (2009), comprising multi-lingual public service announcements. The project employs the tradition of public address systems to catch incidental audiences unawares.

frequency, lumens, place is a collaborative installation that uses artificial light (Vaughn Sadie) and sound (Dean Henning) generated in a gallery space, that relies on interaction with the audience. The initial sound and quantity of light are determined by mathematical formulas based on the volume (length x breadth x height = cubic meters) and floor space ((length x breadth = square meters) respectively. It is these components, and the intervention of the audience, that allows the space to be in constant flux, as the initial state of the space changes and responds to the movement of the audience who continually alter the composition of the room.

Insert Body Here, by Bosnian born Sanjin Muftić, is an interactive experiment that explores the ways in which the human body can manipulate auditory landscapes and shape visual texture. Using gestures and movements, a pre-programmed set of coding and several Microsoft Kinect devices, this installation allows members of the public to create a new work made unique by the movement of their bodies. Drawing from a database of live performance samples, Insert Body Here integrates the digital and the human to create a space where technology and improvisation meet. Movement (live performance) + digital media (samples of live performance) = Insert Body Here (posthuman performance).

Eyes closed in small room is a solo improvisation performance, in which conceptual performer Thalia Laric navigates a small room, blind-folded, responding to stimulus from the radio, and those audiences members who may choose to engage with her.

In the words of presenting artist Christian Nerf, audiences can, at least, expect a series of examples of “mindful artistic experimentation, and proof that one needs neither deadlines nor a belief system to make and do things,” because “thinking is a good idea.”

GIPCA’s Live Art Festival runs from Friday 30 November to Tuesday 4 December 2012 at various venues in Cape Town. Performances will only be staged once and, as with most live art, viewing room is very limited so members of the public are urged to book early. Tickets are day passes, which will allow audience members entrance to between 3 and 7 works, depending on the programme. In line with GIPCA’s policy to make such work widely accessible, tickets are inexpensive: R40 (students) and R70 (adults) per day. These may be purchased online from Webtickets.co.za. A full detailed programme is available from www.gipca.uct.ac.za. For more information, please contact the GIPCA office on fin-gipca@uct.ac.za or 021 480 7156.