Ellipses [#2]  PREVIEW 2017

Ellipses […] is an online publication and peer reviewed platform for creative research realised in live, digital formats. For this second issue, Ellipses [#2] we made a call for creative work across a range of disciplines that responds to another call: open the gates.

Open the gates suggests an actual and metaphorical opening of new possibilities, new assemblages and relations within sites of knowledge production. The call asked for projects that re-imagine and re-think the manifestation of creative research within the framework of an online journal. Ellipses foregrounds questions of the creative act and the modes of representation necessary and possible in the spaces of contemporary knowledge production.  Tangential to this are questions of how creative research is measured within university contexts, and even how requirements for double blind peer review within the arts could possibly be reimagined. An opening of the institutional gates and the boundaries of disciplines opens possibilities for the emergence of new and multiple languages, and modes of representation.

This second edition of Ellipses has focused on the realisation of new creative research work within the digital platform, as well as the translation of existing work into digital formats. This has seen a rigorous development process between the original proposal concepts from a range of artistic practitioners to the final online forms taken by each project. The editorial process has involved an intensive conversation between makers and the editors. This has consisted of an ongoing editorial conversation across technical, theoretical and artistic languages in order to arrive at a unique structure for each project. For existing work, the digital realisation has meant much more than the documentation of an existing piece (be it performative, narrative or archival work) but a thinking that embeds the project’s form within the multiple logics of the digital platform.

Ellipses [#2] speaks to the potential to disrupt disciplinary boundaries within the arts, but also between arts and sciences. It attempts to explore and cross the divide between the physical, material space of artistic production, epistemological modes of knowledge production and digital modes of dissemination.


Submission Abstracts

The following are submission abstracts and interface explorations for Ellipses Issue [#2] 2017 / 2018.   Final and peer reviewed creative research to be published in full in February 2018.

60+: Queer, Old Joburg | Jonathan Cane

Jonathan Cane is the Wits City Institute Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, University of the Witwatersrand. He received his BA Hons degree in the Centre for African Studies at UCT and completed his PhD in Art History at Wits in 2017. His dissertation, ‘Civilising Grass: The Art of the Lawn on the South African Highveld’, is a queer postcolonial study the ‘domesticated’ landscape. He his currently working on building an archive of the Rand Mines Properties plan for Ormonde in the late 1960s for the City Institute’s NRF-funded project ‘The New “South”: The Rand Mine Properties Project’. He was awarded Edinburgh/Wits SeaM funding for his study of queer aged persons in Joburg for 2018. He is preparing a number of academic articles, on concrete, swimming pools, gardeners, and high-rise housing in the 1940s. Throughout his career he has mostly worked as a designer and design educator. His collaborator for the proposed project is an ex-student from Vega whose skills far exceed his own. Jonathan also writes for a range of publications on travel, restaurant criticism, architecture, design and food.

Jacaranda Time: Diagrams for Collaboration | Cameron Harris, Mwenya Kabwe & Tegan Bristow

Cameron Harris studied composition at the Universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and Pennsylvania during which time his teachers included Nigel Osborne, John Casken, Edward Harper, James Primosch and Jay Reise. He was a Thouron fellow at the University of Pennsylvania, and later the recipient of a Benjamin Franklin scholarship. He won the Network for New Music composition competition in Philadelphia and the David Halstead Music Prize for Composition at the University of Pennsylvania.  Originally from the UK, Cameron has been based in South Africa since 2006 where he lectures in music at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. He was the Chair of NewMusicSA, the South African section of the International Society for Contemporary Music, from 2007 – 2011 and has curated many festivals for the organization. His main interests are interactive electronic music composition and the history of electronic music.

Mwenya B. Kabwe is a Johannesburg based, Zambian theatre maker, lecturer and mother.  She is local in parts of Cape Town, New York, Boston and Lusaka.  Kabwe has a Masters in Theatre and Performance with a focus on theatre making, from the UCT where she was a lecturer in the Drama Department.  She currently teaches in the Theatre and Performance Division of the Wits School of Arts and her interests include contemporary African theatre and performance, migration, immersive and site specific performance and collaborative and interdisciplinary creative practices.

Tegan Bristow is an interactive media artist and Senior Lecturer in Interactive Digital Media at the Digital Arts Division of the University of Witwatersrand. Bristow is co-founder and 2016 – 2018 Director of the Fak’ugesi African Digital Arts Festival. Bristow has an MA from Wits University in Interactive Digital Media and she has recently completed her PhD titled Post African Futures with the Planetary Collegium at Plymouth University in the U. K. Bristow’s research explores Technology Arts and Culture Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on decolonising methodologies and actional criticism. As an artist Bristow has exhibited widely. Bristow promotes local technology arts development.

Palinopsia on-line | Jurgen Meekel

Jurgen Meekel is a cum-laude graduate from the Rietveld Academy of Fine-Arts in audio-visual art and sculpture in Amsterdam (1989). After his study he worked on contemporary art installation pieces, sculptures and video work. Some of his installation work was acquired by the Central Museum of Modern Art in Utrecht. From 1996 till present date he also worked on motion-graphic design, animation, camera and sound work, compositing, visual effects, editing and music scoring for video productions in the arts and adjacent fields. He took the position of Head of Department Special/Visual Effects at the AFDA from 2005-2009. Currently, he is undertaking his Masters in Fine Arts, lectures Post Production at the Wits School of the Arts in Film &TV and continues producing, collaborating and exhibiting work in the field of the Visual Arts.

Portal: The Letters | Felix Kawtizky & Marianne Thesen Law

Marianne Thesen Law is Cape Town-based writer and multidisciplinary artist, whose work engages with themes of language, sex, (in)visibility and spectrality both IRL and URL, whilst railing against saleability and commodity fetishism.
They graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art in 2016 with distinction in Theory and Practice of Art, and currently work at the university as a tutor as an attempt to radicalise the youth.

Felix Kawitzky is an artist and writer working in performative, relational and text-based formats. They graduated with their BAFA from the Michaelis School of Fine Art at UCT in 2012, and a Master’s degree in Theatre Making from UCT’s Drama Department in 2015 with distinction. They have written and run Live Action Role Plays and conversational games; and designed, run and facilitated writers’ workshops and other fictional exchanges as part of their practice. Their work experiments with language games and collective storytelling as a way of stimulating heightened, imaginative communication. Their work has strong ties to literary or otherwise narrative-based ways of thinking and making, as well as play-centric production models. Their research looks at how the relationships between science fiction, world-building, roleplaying and escapism can be combined to simulate alternative socio-political systems, utopias, atopias and dystopias. They currently work as a tutor and lecturer at the University of Cape Town.

Re-thinking Education as Conversation | Thulile Gamedze

Thulile Gamedze is an artist and writer currently based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is working towards a Masters in Philosophy, based largely on working through creative methodologies and ways to intervene with the pervasive colonial education project. With a focus on maintaining a transdisciplinary approach, Thuli’s output is varied in nature, including her membership in the collective iQhiya, part time lecturing and tutoring, disturbingly frequent participation in panel discussions, and textual explorations around art, art criticism, and storytelling. Thuli is interested in imagination and education as the central projects for liberation, has leanings towards Marxist conceptions of the constructed nature of space and time, and is interested in the radical potential of genuinely process-geared creative practices.

Songs At the Gate | Sumeya Gasa, Shameelah Khan & Dylan Valley

Sumeya Gasa is an award winning journalist and documentary filmmaker based in Johannesburg. After graduating from Wits School of Arts, Film and Television, Gasa went on to work as a multimedia journalist, first, with News24 and later joining Chronicle – the multimedia partner to the Daily Maverick. During her time at Chronicle, she won the CNN Africa Journalist Award: Ecobank Economics category, Vodacom Journalist of the Year Regional Online Award and 3rd Prize at the Taco Kuiper Awards.  Gasa is currently pursuing a Masters in Digital Arts at Wits. Her research is focused on technologically hybridising physical spaces to present audio-visual stories in an interactive and performative way.

Shameelah Khan is a writer, poet, lecturer and documentary filmmaker. She has a double Honours degree from the University of Witwatersrand where she has graduated in Film, Visual and Performing Arts and in Creative Writing. She also studied Roman History and Female studies in Cape Town through a private tertiary institution for one year. She made a documentary called Women in the Dark (2015) which was selected for the film festival Africa in Motion, in Scotland. In her free time, she co-directs the online magazine ODD, which she previously wrote and edited. She is a Production Course lecturer and administrator for AFDA (Africa, film, drama and arts) University in Johannesburg. Some of her work is published in the literary journal ITCH.

Dylan Vallley is an award-winning documentary filmmaker who views film as a liberatory tool. He is currently an Associate Lecturer in Film and Television at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. Dylan also spent a year as a commissioning editor at the SABC. When he is not teaching at Wits, he DJs and is on the editorial board of Africa is a Country.

[#2] Editorial Team

Ellipses [#2] is edited by Bettina Malcomess, Pervaiz Khan and Tegan Bristow (Digital Editor).  Bristow is assisted in the digital production by Alana Blignaut and Andrea Hayes, MA research candidates at the Wits School of Arts.

Bettina Malcomess is a writer, academic and artist. Her work exists in a diverse set of media and forms, ranging from long duration performance, to the staging of shorter interventions, and installation projects to the book as site of practice. She produces performances under the name Anne Historical. Malcomess’ writing traverses art, film, history, urbanism, as well as fiction. She co-authored the book Not No Place. Johannesburg, Fragments of Spaces and Times (Jacana, 2013). She was the visual editor of the book Routes and Rites to the City: Mobility, Diversity and Religious Space in Johannesburg (Palgrave, 2017). She has recently formed an interdisciplinary project called the joining rooma non|space for intermedial intimacies. Historical/Malcomess’ work has shown at various national and international exhibitions and spaces. She is a lecturer in Visual Arts at Wits School of Arts and is currently doing a PhD in Film Studies at Kings College, London.

Pervaiz Khan is a curator, writer, theatre maker, filmmaker and artist. In the 1980’s he established Vokani, Britain’s first exhibition circuit for Black & third world films. He was awarded the British Film Institute’s Award for innovation in film education. During seven years of running Third Cinema Focus (Birmingham International Film Festival) he screened over 300 films and brought together over 60 international and local filmmakers, writers and critics. For a decade he was a contributing editor of the magazine Sight & Sound’. He co-edited, with John Akomfrah, issue 36 of the radical film journal Framework – Third Scenario: Theory & Politics of Location. He is interested in the role photography, cinema, television and the web plays in constructing our understanding of race, class, migration and nationhood. He has an MA in screenwriting and teaches at undergraduate and postgraduate levels in WSOA Film & TV. He is working on a PhD on Barney Simon and the workshop method.

Tegan Bristow is an interactive media artist and Senior Lecturer in Interactive Digital Media at the Digital Arts Division of the University of Witwatersrand. Bristow is co-founder and 2016 – 2018 Director of the Fak’ugesi African Digital Arts Festival. Bristow has an MA from Wits University in Interactive Digital Media and she has recently completed her PhD titled Post African Futures with the Planetary Collegium at Plymouth University in the U. K. Bristow’s research explores Technology Arts and Culture Practice in Sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on decolonising methodologies and actional criticism. As an artist Bristow has exhibited widely. Bristow promotes local technology arts development.