Refiguring Space

The Mixed Reality Workshop

What are the definitions of space? Who does it belong to and who can we reclaim it? Can space be empty or must it be occupied? Who can and can’t occupy space; what can and can’t occupy space? Is there volume to space and can we feel it? 

Experience artworks as digital objects in virtual space. An expanded conversation about space as a concept, a landscape and an emancipator. The works share a relationship between digital and material forms, taking up space as an urgent liberation of the body or a letting go of space in direct contrast to ideas of the self and the other. Peering into the spatial voids and spaces that are often depersonalised, hostile, infinite and yet also uncanny and transcendental, informative and undiscovered. As we encounter these spaces, our psychological, aesthetic and physical relations shift, whilst simultaneously allowing us to imagine ourselves within a space that is part reality and part fiction. 

Using the possibilities of the virtual space as a room for storytelling, the works featured reflect and speculate on definitions, ownership, and right to space. This open discourse is transferred into the virtual space, gesturing the viewer to immerse into.

Works by
Tiger Maremela
Lunga Ntila
PR$DNT HONEY
Niyi Okeowo
Phila Hillie
Natalie Paneng
Grace Mokalapa

 

Presented as part of Creativate Digital Arts Festival.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS

Tshiamo Tiger Maremela, b. 1993, Carletonville, South Africa and also known as A VERY COOL TIME, is a non-binary Johannesburg-based artist and strategist using the internet and new media to make sense of the world. Maremela’s multi-disciplinary practice includes music production and DJing, collage-making, writing, photography, and video art. The artist is interested in exploring digital behaviour in post-colonial urban territories, the parallels and intersections of offline and online spaces, socio-political disruption through screen- and internet-based organising, the effects of digitality on identity, and the aesthetics and contextual landscape of African digital art. Maremela’s work interrogates the merits of visibility, representation and justice in a post-colonial republic, and seeks to center and amplify the experiences of black, queer and trans people in South African media. 

PR$DNT HONEY: “I love black people. That will always be the source of my making. The world doesn’t see/hear enough of positive representations of black people. That is one part of the legacy and archiving I want to contribute to. I don’t like to explain myself too much, but I will speak for my people where it’s most necessary. Especially in the spaces where our voices are suppressed. We’re such a dope people, and everyone should see that.” 

Niyi Okeowo is a Multidisciplinary artist and photographer based in Lagos, Nigeria. His work is an ongoing expression and collection of visuals exploring themes of futurism, Afrofuturism, isolation, anxiety, exploration, and geometric structures. 

Phila Hillie is an architecture graduate, artist and illustrator from South Africa. She comes from a family that has been involved in politics and this has influenced her interest in space and history within the African context. This collection of work  is called “Qaba” ukuqaba is to smear or apply a substance (i.e. lotion) on a surface like skin. The work tackles the balance between control/agency and the image and pressures that society “smears” on to women. Hillie’s artwork is an exploration of women, culture/tradition and space through the use of form and colour. Her aim is to portray women, their stories and how all these stories are not monolithic. 

Natalie Paneng is awkward, complex, and has a quirk to her expression. Residing in Johannesburg and in the cyber village called the Internet. Natalie Paneng is a digital artist who completed a BADA(Hons) from the University of Witwatersrand in 2018. Majoring in Production Design (Set and Costume design) as well as Art Management. Photography and videography are her main mediums, the use of these mediums led to the development of her YouTube channel Hello Nice where she uses her skills in theatre and performance to connect to an online audience. In her work she explores what it means to have an online presence, the persona’s we develop online and how the internet and its algorithms control and influence us. Her videos and art become a way for her to interrogate as well as share how she manifests and navigates the world she lives in and creates for herself. The internet is MTV and she welcomes you to her crib. 

Grace Mokalapa’s work is focused on the subjective experience(s) of spaces. Her interests lie in spatial voids and spaces that are often depersonalized, hostile, infinite and yet also uncanny and transcendental. Mokalapa’s work draws from an interest in how our psyche and ideas of “self” are transformed through an encounter with an external stimulus. She believes that transcendental space, have the ability to affect our perception and understanding of our bodies within them. As we encounter these spaces, our psychological, aesthetic and physical relations shift, whilst simultaneously allowing us to imagine ourselves within a space that is part reality and part fiction. Mokalapa explores this relationship with space through a series of drawings, paintings, sculptures and installation works. Her intention is to create an environment in which the viewer is transported away from the outside world. Her works are suggestive of imaginary or otherworldly spaces that evoke emotions of anticipation which evoke mind-body and space encounters with the void.