miss/seen = an experimental performance taking place between a poet, a singer and a visual artist. Integrating their collaborative exploration into an immersive installation with live drawing and movement, the artists weave their way through silver threads both on a physical and metaphorical level. miss/seen is an intimate experimental performance exploring intersections of spiritual commonality within a diverse and multi-cultural South Africa.
OPENLab2018 as part of The Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD) was an experience that really expanded me. It was no easy experience; certainly no easy residency. In fact, it was filled with un-ease ... the ingredient that creates change and action. The personal outcome of OPENLab is that I became brave. The collaborative outcome is Miss/Seen which was very recently performed at the 2019 Vrystaat Arts Festival alongside two other powerful artists namely Nosipho Mtabani (a poet) and Kagiso Kekana (a singer/songwriter).
The interstitial space between us was one of heightened connectivity as we listened, recalled and remembered each other's understanding of spirituality. From me personally, the months prior to the experimental performance was incredibly meaningful as we would often - mostly in short, intense spurts - figure out how each one understood or interpreted spirituality, both personally as well from within our lived-experience of culture. We wove meaning with singular words which, over time, became short, cryptic sentences to eventually unfold into respectful understandings and differences. Our differences were as fundamental to the performance as was our similarities.
My central contribution to Miss/Seen was the concept around the installation wherein the performance took place, as well as doing a live drawing performance. Although there were some initial hick-ups around the allocated space, the UOFS staff were incredibly helpful in making it happen for us as they physically removed thousands of desks and chairs for us to be able to create the imagined installation! What would normally have taken around a good week to create this large-scale installation of 12m x 2m consisting of 2800 silver strings hanging from the ceiling space, needed to happen in two days. Fortunately my tech team was super-competent at handling this type of pressure and to be sure, I would not have been able to install it without them!
During the four performances we moved in and out of the strings, creating sounds, song and dance. The fluidity of not only the performances but also between ourselves is something that will always stay with me. The possibility that connections of this kind is a reality within a South Africa of difference, is truly empowering.
Miss/Seen was funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation which without Miss/Seen would not have materialised.
Miss/Seen has also been nominated for a Blinker ... the awards will take place 7 August 2019.
photo credit: @iflairphotography