a workshopping discussion and collaborative project originated from
Johannesburg and Capetown, South Africa. The project has been developed
by the Trinity Session group: Kathryn Smith, Stephen Hobbs and Marcus
Neustetter and has been realized in collaboration with the Southern
African New Media Art Network (-sanman) and The I Premises.
A year and a half ago, on my visit to South Africa, Marcus has told
me about the emerging new media and digital culture scene, including
"sanman" plans. At that time, some activities and exhibitions
have already taken place, but it still looked like if pragmatic realization
of these interesting but seemingly far flung ideas would be further
ahead in the future. Surely, it is a sign of the rapidly developing
digital culture in South Africa that one could experience first hand
a fully operational workshop with nine participants at Unplugged.
"Four months ago -told me Marcus- we began to discuss with Gerfried
about the South African digital landscape. What does digital mean
in South Africa?" It means a wide range of things from the popular
music scene to web/print design all of which incorporate digital tools.
The discussions led to the invitation of Search. The aim of the project
is to chart the different resources, interesting participants as a
broad concept in South Africa. The nine member team, including Marcus
and Stephen came to Ars following a 3 months residency. Each team
member is a professional in his/her own right. Some of the team members
are more established, some are young and upcoming. Their expertise
ranges from corporate design, through journalism to online activism.
Stephen Hobbs is an urban investigator, Marcus is focused on the art
environment. The eclectic interest of the Team include pop music,
street culture, pop culture, videos, sound art and many other things.
The Ars Electronica residency started with a two day workshop by reacting
creatively to the differences and similarities between South Africa
Austrian Linz. Videos and stills were captured, sounds and texts recorded
the often complimentary, sometimes clashing results were all reworked
in the emerging collaborative website. In the last three days the
participants were busy to develop a platform to take home. Many issues
discussed, such as the points to be defined for a build-on digital
environment What type of communication approach should be used for
effective results? Considerations of a list of people to invite were
discussed. All these different factors were mapped out and brought
together. Surprisingly by the end of Ars, a rough business plan for
next 6 months emerged, including how to help communication and exchange
towards a sustainable future.
"There are many brilliant ideas for community building -told
me Marcus- but
people seldom follow through. In South Africa, most of us live and
separate communities, Search was an opportunity to operate within
context, and present a mix of elitist and pop culture. In addition
own workshop experience our aim was to tell people informally what
Africa is about. There might not have been enough feedback as it was
perhaps even alienating for the audience that they couldn't engage.
But it is
an ongoing process....."
Open Air - Radiotopia, and Search were linked in more than one way.
Tuesday, September 10, local Johannesburg sound artists contributed
Radiotopia broadcast. Beyond this active contribution there were many
informal connections - all in the nature of collaborative process
Nina Czeledy 10.02