In what is probably the largest ever issue of ArtThrob, guest editor James Webb taps into resources far and wide to give a multi-layered look - and listen - to this often neglected medium. And of course all the regular features are here as well. Next month, ArtThrob's new editor Andrew Lamprecht will take over the hot seat.
In the simplest of terms, sound art is work created in an art context with sound as its primary medium of expression. This can lead to many forms of realisation and areas of exploration, as hopefully the contributors and work being reviewed in this edition will show. In South Africa, we stand at a time where this medium is coming to prominence more than ever before: radio is still the largest information and entertainment source in Africa, our music industry is booming, and on the fine art side of things - students are learning about sound's history and plotting its future as the number of artists experimenting with audio as a viable and powerful tool grows day by day.
It is important to remember that Sound Art is a medium as opposed to a tradition. There are many traditions, offshoots and variations on this medium and this adds to its energetic and slightly unorthodox image. Sound Art is open to everyone, but its practitioners and participants should not be seen to be restricted to the limitations of its image.
In a visually obsessed society with a local art scene where sound has often been denigrated to being an attendant to visual works, it is important to foster more Sound Art that can allow people to engage with the new global audio awareness being experienced and enjoyed.
James Webb, Guest Editor
Next update: September 3
Once again Michael Stevenson Contemporary hosts three painters, this time Deborah Poynton, Diane Victor and Tracey Payne. Matthew Hindley, known best for his new media environments, flaunts his diversity with a show featuring painting and sculpture at the Bell-Roberts. Winner of several awards, and following a recent show at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, Paul Emmanuel presents 'After-image' at the US Gallery. Finally, if you haven't yet had the chance to see Minnette Vári's Chimera (black version), be sure to visit the SANG's 'Decade of Democracy' where it has joined the exhibition.
Terry Kurgan and Jo Ractliffe at present 'Johannesburg Circa Now' at JAG, bringing their joint focus onto Jo'burg's transforming inner city environment as seen, interpreted, mediated and constructed through photography. Similarly concerned with the inner city, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt's 'Painting in Public' is series of interventions in the city by the artist and a collection of signwriters from a range of African countries. Kreutzfeldt is conducting tours of the sites. On an historical note, the JAG is host to 'Rorke's Drift: Empowering Prints 1962-1982', an exhibition curated by Elizabeth Rankin and Philippa Hobbs featuring formative work by Pat Mautloa, Bongi Dhlomo, Sam Nhlengethwa, Vincent Baloyi and Charles Nkosi amongst others. Peter Schütz's 'Extraordinary People' opens at the Goodman.
Paul Weinberg's 'Travelling Light' at the NSA reflects his diverse career as a photographer over the last 25 years. Also at the NSA, a group of young artists, whose works were recently rejected from a major SA competition (no prizes for guessing which) have produced their own salon refuse which goes by it's Zulu name 'Abangafuneki'. ArtThrob's KZN editor Gabi Ngcobo shows a selection of paintings, hair pieces and a video performance at artSpace.
In a relatively quiet month for South Africans overseas, the Museum Kunst Palast in Düsseldorf hosts 'Afrika Remix' which includes work by William Kentridge, sculptors Jane Alexander and Andries Botha, and photographers Zwelethu Mthethwa and Tracey Derrick. In yet another celebration of SA's 10 years of Democracy, and also in Germany, 'New Identities' opens. The show includes work that reflects on identity, urbanisation and multiculturalism as well as the pressing topic of AIDS. Jane Alexander, Kay Hassan, Zwelethu Mthethwa, William Kentridge and Santu Mokofeng amongst others, show.
Elan Gamaker braves the seaside hamlet Bredene to review 'grasduinen 1', in which Capetonian Ed Young took part. Kim Gurney takes a circuitous trip around Julia Rosa Clark's 'A Million Billion Gazillion' which is part commentary on information systems, part schoolroom, part party venue and has certainly garnered a lot of attention here. Kim Gurney also fills us in on the rich and varied visual arts programme at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival last month. Gabi Ngcobo examines curator Zayd Minty's much anticipated 'A Place Called Home' at Durban's NSA which features work by artists from the South Asian and Indian diaspora.
News is a little shorter this month because of the guest editorial, but Kresta Tyler reports on Kathryn Smith's departure from the Trinity Session, a move which the organisation is determined to take in its stride. She also reports on 'Artiade', a visual art component to the Olympic Games. Colin Richards mourns the recent death of Mamatlakeng Maggie Makhoana, whom he remembers with great fondness and respect as a friend, artist, teacher, community worker and art therapist. Also, Conrad Botes is awarded first prize in the ABSA L'Atelier competition, adding his name to the list of Capetonians who have recently received prestigious awards.
Warrick Sony, pioneer of South African electronica and founder of the legendary Kalahari Surfers, reminisces about his early influences and studio techniques. Avant-garde filmmaker and noise music maestro, Aryan Kaganof meditates on the culture of Noise, both in Japan and the rest of the world. DJ and writer Julian Jonker gets his tongue around the Spoken Word scene in South Africa. Multimedia conceptualist, James Sey dissects and explores Sound and Radio Art. James Webb considers the beauty and African influence in Durban-born Mira Calix's electronic music.
In a series of short notes, three South African artists living abroad and working predominantly with sound, share some of their techniques and experiences by discussing their current sound art projects. James Beckett plays the streets of Istanbul; Frances Goodman prepares dinner for three in Antwerp, and Mark Schreiber muses on the relationship of audio and architecture in London.
Ross Campbell is hypnotised by the madcap folly of sound sculptors the Odd Enjinears' Ten Two One performance at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival. James Sey considers the relationship of sound, space, text and pop music in Frances Goodman's David installation at the Gallery in the Round, also at the Grahamstown Festival. Carine Zaayman tunes into the eerie sounds and hidden codes of James Sey and James Webb's 'A Compendium of Imaginary Wavelengths'.
What motivates curators and art buyers to purchase artworks? This simple question is the premise for Gallery Choice, a monthly feature that aims to reveal who (public museums/corporate collections) is buying what (artist), and why.
Gordon Froud recently took over the Thompson Gallery, in the Johannesburg suburb of Melville. He discusses Guy du Toit's sculpture, They all look the same to me, hey.
Sue Williamson's diary notes offer an indispensable insider's view of the art community.
Guest editor James Webb, known for his complex, lush and sometimes witty sound installations and recordings, as well as a host of collaborations and numerous projects in other media, is the subject of this month's Artbio. By Carine Zaayman.
The Amsterdam-based Doors of Perception call themselves an 'international conference and knowledge network which sets new agendas for design - in particular, the design agenda for information and communication technologies'.
Petit Sono seeks submissions of field recordings dealing with the way in which architecture influences the experience of sound. In his '365 days project', curator and sound archivist Otis F. Odder, presents rare and cult recordings, many of which never made it onto vinyl or CD.
In Exchange this month we feature CowParade South Africa and just how you can design your own bovine participant in this event that has taken place in more than 20 cities worldwide.
Nothing new or noteworthy this month I'm afraid.
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Penny Siopis is the latest artist to join our Editions for ArtThrob programme. Her work 'Cultivate Love' was produced in collaboration with Randy Hemminghaus, master printer from New York's Galamander Press, and is a distillation of her most recent work, from her Shame series.
Available now: outstanding prints by William Kentridge, Robert Hodgins, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Hentie van der Merwe, and Tracey Rose.
Browse through past editions of ArtThrob.
Who writes for ArtThrob and other bits of relevant information.
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