…If there were so much more of us now, and what of tomorrow…
Artistic expression the world over, is arguably rooted in the performative act. Performance is therefore the ultimate manifestation of artistry. After the initial thought of it, the next most salient component of the process would be the gesture. Even in certain cases, the gesture does precede its conception. Whether it be the gesture of the hand moving a tool to create an impression, a mark, a sign, or the gesturing with the entire body, there is a certain power, a generative impetus impregnated within the movement(s) of the body. This is how part of the Stellenbosch Triennale that focuses on performative practices emerges. Titled: “Em-Bodied,” this program expands the space of engagement into those interstices that materialize between the noticeably stratified social demographics that Stellenbosch as a site presents. In Being and Becoming, we are embodied beings. From the moment we are born, our bodies are essential to our learning, growth and relationships with others. Throughout our lives, our bodies and movements tend to communicate much more clearly than our words.
The exhibition: “Em-Bodied”, explores how to give body to spirit, to make concrete or imperceptible cogitations and experiences by giving some sort of physical form to abstract ideas. Here, the body is imagined as the first lived experience of the world before words… Memory as a tangible form of an idea or feeling… material memory traces through the body as a composition of time and space… Incarceration, manifestation, expression, realization, actualization. Through the demonstrative body … thoughts, feelings, behaviors grounded through bodily interaction with the environment…Sense experience through the body…Our movement and body makes visible all of who we are: our mood(s), personality(ies), history(ies), family(ies), and culture(s). The plurality(ies) are salient, for they capture the essence of the Triennale. We dance with gravity and breath …Our bodies organize our ‘felt politics’ in actions of social worlding’ (Shotwell 2011), which holds transformative potential. Our bodies, continually in a process of becoming, organize our knowing, feeling and being.
This power of the body as site of innumerable experiences, has always remained duly acknowledged in many non-western systems of thought and this is the spirit that “Em-Bodied 2020”, wields. A series of performances or performative instigations occupy unexpected locations, sites and interstices within the city and its antebellum sites. Sometimes, in conversation with works already installed or after having manifested, leaving aftermaths as residues and memorials of their occurrence. The performative component of the Stellenbosch Triennale is not intended to be a complementary gesture, but an integral constituent.
Curators: Khanyisile Mbongwa, Bernard Akoi-Jackson and Jay Pather
Various locations throughout Stellenbosch. Go to stellenboschtriennale.com for programme details.