I was one of 14 artists who recently participated in OPENLab 2018. OPENLab is a site-specific performance based workshop where selected artists are encouraged to collaborate. It is held bi-annually in the small town of Richmond in the Northern Cape part of the Karoo (South Africa), a rather remote and desolate semi-desert area.
Our individual artistic practices ranged from visual artists to dancers, choreographers, performance-based artists, protest-performance artists, a multi-disciplinary artist, a story teller, a sculptor and a poet. An interesting mix creating a mesmerizing soup of ideas and energy!
We were encouraged to create performance-based works almost on a daily basis thereby pushing us to continuously move and expand our ideas and concepts. Pushed out of the comfort zones known to ourselves we had to adapt and accept the process as it happened. I have certainly learned an enormous amount and feel that my practice has expanded considerably.
For the final piece, I started by inserting foil into the cracks of the tarred roads of Richmond. I was spontaneously joined by both adults and children of the community who, in effect, became collaborators. I then flattened the foil pieces through a small press to re-create a new language-of-line which I pieced together on site, which was on the steps of Richmond's town hall in the upstairs gallery. I chose to show the work at night, requesting that the audience were to use their individual cellular phones to light up the silver, reflecting lines.
Added to this was an immersive sound installation made by the vibrations of an in-situ wire that was suspended from the gallery box to the far side of the hall, creating incredibly deep, reverberating sounds. In response to this the artists Ella Ziegler (Germany) plucked the dissonant strings of an abandoned piano on the darkened stage on the opposite side of the hall.
In many ways the architecture of the hall became the architecture of the sound.
Photo credit: #SeretseSliqFeilpop