Speeches From A White Cube – sidewalk installation

Installation site – Juta street between galleries – Kalashnikovv, Room and Stevenson.
BRAAMFONTEIN, JOHANNESBURG

installation-speeches-1installation-speeches-3installation-speeches-2ANA PATHER SOUND EXCERPTS
Total length of work: 52 mins 37 secs

MATERIALS

PLINTH
printer paper, printed manuscripts

MANUSCRIPT
printed poems inspired by each interviewee:
Raimi Gbadamosi
Shayna Goncalves
Marion Dixon
Usha Seejarim
Jessica Webster
Ana Pather
Laura DeBecker
Jeremy Wafer
Thato Mogotsi
Thenjiwe Nkosi

SOUND-SCAPES
‘narrative’ sound works built around some of the research interviews
Raimi Gbadamosi          26 mins 40 secs
Usha Seejarim                54 mins 19 secs
Jessica Webster             54 mins 52 secs
Ana Pather                      52 mins 37 secs
Laura DeBecker             23 mins 26 secs
Jeremy Wafer                 54 mins 52 secs
Thenjiwe Nkosi              1 hour 5 mins 46 secs

LISTENING FUNNEL
Cardboard
Paper mache
Spray paint

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Speeches From A White Cube – Thato

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THATO

Give me these white walls to consider
to sit
a milky wash that barely registers its texture
but then speak
because it is your process that matters most
the chalk that sticks between fingernail and thumb
this is what I revel in
the good nature of your material
allowing me to see something beyond its technique
some white walls will isolate each fragment of this story to promote its capital gain
so that every descriptive sliver should meander with an imagined mass
money will tell you your other story
and so it is
the power of speech can nullify this capital story
and I will be motivated by the magic of those hands
in concert with your conceptual narrative
one that is slow and measured
unveiling itself
like a cocoon peeling out and away
its feathered layers in a circular trance
reminds me over and over again
of the diversity that is process
process pushes these walls out of focus
and allows me to walk around you in figure eights
around and through art
each shift in these feet
draws another line into this concrete floor
and all visitors of your work draw lines around each other
we hold in suspension
the administrative desk that counts the costs

levels out a budget
and measures for your gain
for a moment
we hold in suspension
your worth
we hold in suspension
the desk
solid in its frame and known
for its counting and care for these holy walls
and then we sink back into life
with a roughly laid imprint
of art made from your dust patterned hands
light in air
and staged through the dance of your speech

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Speeches From A White Cube – Marion

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MARION
I would ask you to pry open this space
and talk of everything
all moments of life can speak through this magic
I will read the words of the artist
like tripped up thread
scarred through the length of its tracking
torn by its needle along its way to expression
this too is beauty
and the lilting and meandering words of children
make art into the most unexpected of meanings
I like to walk into the home of the artist
where wine wanders into a glass without asking
with one hand on the artists arm I walk close enough to touch his work
the work that he says has made him vulnerable
foam corners fill an adjacent room
ready to hug
what has been claimed as glory
flown far
to fall onto the walls of another white cube
where I imagine new feet crossing over each other
faces come close enough for touching
on the gray floor I can almost hear heels tap
and the echo that measures out this space
like water filling out its wave
art must be placed by a system
all seems sewn under and hidden
one history falls open
to reach into the next
I pull the children through the gallery
when they learn from beauty
none of us can stop staring

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Conversation From A White Cube – Thembi

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Speeches From A White Cube – Usha

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USHA
I have counted the days through each action
I have carved out a shape
that will tell me of my pattern
and in another light its edges appear as steps printed in sand
declaring an expanse of water
I still look in wonder for my fall
this is my obsession

the grace of everyday gesture
must be marked by the glory of a hanging broom
or the will of two irons to rest into art
to flatten down seems

sometimes I am spiritually bereft
but most often I am found
you, my audience have complicated this story
have made it a bigger mountain to climb
with snow shaped from life’s evidence
and an academic tongue
the critics said you couldn’t learn this
“art”
they said you wouldn’t know “art”
because your age and position is beyond it education
I know better
I will navigate the grass worn path
that all minds can step into
I will find you there
and you will teach me what I didn’t know before
you will smooth down my doubt
and show me why art is worth this

in open air I will make my next sculpture
it will be a domestic story
not so constitutional
but epic in its proportion and value
ink will stain its contours
polish will allow it to gleen
and soap will keep it clean

another monument to return to
I will have to visit it often
come back to this obsession
like a moth in prayer
to declare it resonant
if dust builds up a wall
your fingers will walk through it
rubbing to its bone
to find a reflection

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Conversation From A White Cube – Tshidiso

Excerpt from my interview with Wits Art Museum visitor, Tshidiso.

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Speeches From A White Cube – Shayna

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SHAYNA

I am here to learn
what you have torn into pieces under your tongue is unnecessary
speak to me through your languid location
I wish to feel invited
not to learn about one obsession
I want to hear all of it
I want it peeled off its walls and stretched out on this floor
meticulously
your fingers should wrap warm
over every page
while they remember
the dance you once did
cracking bone glides paint to meet with pen
and this is how you once did it
now I can imagine
when my body can bend towards yours
like eyes that gaze into fire
then
I can imagine

I have no time for your lucid free-written thought
save it for your lover
who may have more appropriate ways
to ask for a translation
this day is on offer to your audience
our power is subtle
but we will influence you
so speak in conversation
and not in circles woven through steel

an artist can be kind
it is possible
I have seen it
they can make you move with them

there is no charity in allowing laughter in front of art
it is the most serious thing
when walls are cracked open
and my ignorance can change into story

I will ask the question that nobody would dare to
these walls are no holier than my speech
and your ears now depend on these voices
that sway towards art
like sailboats through a narrow canal
we are weak magnets together
holding on with the ends of fingertips
hoping for our stories
to have recognition in all that is foreign
I wish for you to answer my question
in speech that is honest
art is made for this

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