The Audacity of Place

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    • Presentation speakers
      • Nkule Mabaso,, Zürich, Switzerland


    This paper reflects on the performance and commodification of blackness and the translation of ‘cultural identity’ into currency. I propose to speak about 10 works of emerging South African artists whose work is neither placeless nor place bound and explores the trans-national reach of globalization, yet facilitate the stereotypic of black bodies in the harsh laws of spacing that reduce their narrative into fixed and static identities. In recent years, South African artists have caught the world’s attention and are now being recognized as being amongst some of the most exciting and inventive artists at work. This group of artists offers a glimpse into the narrative of identity emerging from artists whose work ranging from drawing to photography as practice and medium, is unapologetic and forceful, their collective visual voice demand to be seen and contemplated. Issues of identity, displacement and dislocation are dealt this aptly and the power of the work lies in that it is a critical and profound representation that is decidedly local in content and yet subversively general in context.
    The selected artists are at varying levels of their emergence. Their work consist of very subjective interpretations of the South African context; being such a diverse society the work does not seek to represent any general explanation of place and identification with the ideas contained in the artwork. That explanation of place is left open to the audience to accept or reject the subjective proposal of self-representation and understanding. The key task of this presentation is not to simply parade more signs of difference but to introduce different ways of being in the world. At a time when the discourse of contemporary art attempts to avoid the discourse of place in favor of placeless-ness and universality, The Audacity of Place refers to the boldness with which these artists convey their understanding of a particular place in relation to the known past and the unforeseeable future. The expertness of manner in which their respective concepts are articulated reveals the compound social dynamics of neo-traditions based on transnational norms that rightly questions the validity of these practices.