OPENlab (2018) took place between 11 July – 22 at the University of the Free State in Bloemfontein, alongside the Vrystaat Arts Festival. It also involved an intense studio at Modern Art Projects (MAPSA) in Richmond, Northern Cape. OPENLab is presented through The Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD).
There is really no way I can successfully describe the experience of OPENLab, other than noting it as the most life-altering / art-altering experience of my entire career. Everything prior to the OPENLab experience seems null and void. Or inappropriate. Or irrelevant.
I was one of 14 artists chosen to participate alongside performers, activist performers and the like, and it did not take long before our collective energies were heightened; even explosive.
“As a unique opportunity for practitioners working in dance, visual arts, performance art, architecture, fashion, new media, sound art and design to explore new opportunities to site-based practices across different communities, disciplines and geographical contexts’ (Angela de Jesus, Co-director of PIAD).
OPENLab blew me open. Blew me out of myself, and created a new creative out of me. I was challenged, shocked, immersed in conflicting and often harsh political / racial slurring which left me fragmented. At times broken.
It changed me.
I am not the same person since.