The Jurisprudence Of Sonic Warfare

On the Australian Gertrude Contemporary gallery mailing list (still subscribed from visiting Australia in 2006 for my piece Sideshow) there’s mention of an interesting-sounding academic, Dr James Parker, who lectures in law with a special interest in sound – he also has a radio show and writes on music.

www.artshub.com.au/whats-on/victoria/panels-lectures-ideas/dr-james-parker-the-jurisprudence-of-sonic-warfare-173993

Shades of Steve Goodman, aka Kode 9, a London-based music producer, DJ and lecturer with a PhD in Philosophy, who wrote the book Sonic Warfare

Connection to my art-design piece Handy Ears through pre-radar military acoustic devices such as these below (from www.retronaut.co/2011/07/listening-before-radar).

Preradar acoustic device

Preradar acoustic device

 

City walk

Today I led a group of students on a walking tour taking in examples of public art and design, and other sites of interest in Cape Town. We started the walk with a psychogeographic quote by Michel de Certeau from ‘Writing the City’ in ‘The Practice of Everyday Life’ (1984):

The act of walking is to the urban system what the speech act is to language or to the statements uttered.

The course the students were on is SIT’s IHP Cities in the 21st Century: People, Planning, and Politics, which “examines the intentional and natural forces that guide the development of the world’s cities. It combines an innovative urban studies academic curriculum with fieldwork involving public agencies, planners, elected officials, NGOs, and grassroots groups in important world cities where exciting changes are taking place”.

This is a rough map of the course we took (still struggling with Google’s interface).

And these are some of the sites we visited:

Brett Murray's 'Africa' 2000

Brett Murray’s ‘Africa’ 2000

Cape Craft and Design Institute

Cape Craft and Design Institute curated artworks from the 2010 World Cup

Egon Tania

Egon Tania’s sculptures on Pier Place

Greenpoint Park

Greenpoint Park

John Skotnes

John Skotnes’s sculpture Mythological Landscape (1994) on Thibault Square

The Prestwich Memorial

The Prestwich Memorial

Ox Wagon

The iconic children’s jungle gym in the form of a Voortrekker Wagon, Sea Point

The SA National Gallery

The SA National Gallery

Maze

It’s really not that big!

Manenberg

Mark O’Donovan’s ‘Manenberg’ interactive street sculpture

 

PlayScapes

I’ve been working with the Princess Vlei Forum as part of my postdoc and wider work. The PVF is running a campaign to save a lake and wetland in the Cape Flats from a shopping mall development – they want to keep it public land, and develop it as a ‘people’s park’. As one of the strings to their bow in their campaign to save the Princess, the PVF entered their plans for alternative development on the site to World Design Capital 2014 for recognition – you can download their WDC2014 submission, which has been shortlisted.

As a contribution to imagining what shape some of the elements of the park could take, I worked with design company ThingKing on an entry to the competition PlayScapes in August 2013, commissioned by the Princess Vlei Forum. We developed the idea of four interrelated installations on the site, playing on the idea of the archetypal ‘4 elements’ (air, water, earth, fire). For fire we designed a communal story-telling fire site; for earth a playground incorporating planting; for air a wind-activated sound sculpture and climbing frame; and for water we suggested options from a floating bird habitat island to baptism facilities (church groups use the lake for ceremonies).

WindScape

WindScape – the element of air

You can download a low res version of our competition entry (11 MB).

And you could like our entry on the PlayScapes Facebook page.

Thinking the City

Thinking the City

Oddveig Nicole Sarmiento and Rike Sitas, Jenny Fatou-Mbaye (chairing) during their presentation at ‘Thinking the City’

Last week, from Tues 12 – Fri 15 March, the Public Culture City Lab at ACC, of which I am a part, staged a series of panel discussions around notions of art and culture in public space, and the ‘creative city’. The series, ‘Thinking the City’, was intended to complement the annual event series ‘Infecting the City‘, which hosts creative projects in public space in Cape Town over a week.

Cape Town has a long history of public art and culture, and has more recently embraced the notion of a ‘creative city’. This is an exciting prospect for creative practitioners, yet the question of ‘creative city for whom?’ keeps bubbling to the surface of public debate, as different interest groups lay claim to the creative expression in, and of, public space. Thinking the City will contribute to the Infecting the City programme by unpacking a series of examples and contested territories related to cultural practice in the city, in order to foster a more critical dialogue about creative practice in public space. It will comprise four presentation and discussion sessions.

www.gipca.uct.ac.za/creative-practice-in-public-space-explored-at-thinking-the-city

The panel I contributed to, alongside Jenny Fatou-Mbaye, with Ismail Farouk chairing, was titled ‘Design and the Creative City: the creative city for whom?’. I looked at a number of creative art/design interventions in Cape Town, asking who they catered to, and raised the idea that the terms ‘public’ and ‘community’ can sometimes be in tension with each other in such projects.

GIPCA has uploaded video documentation of the panel, below. Unfortunately my presentation slides are not included in the video, but you could download my presentation as a pdf and view the images along with the video – design and the creative city.pdf

Thinking the City 2013 – Design and the creative city: the creative city for whom? – 13 March 2013 from GIPCA@UCT on Vimeo.

Olafur Eliasson’s solar-powered lamp

The artist Olafur Eliasson, known for his large scale installations, has produced a solar-powered lamp for use in the developing world. Titled Little Sun, Eliasson produced the lamp in collaboration with engineer Frederik Ottesen. It is an example of work by artists, such as Marjetica Potrc, related to design for the developing world – though Eliasson might be fairly unique here in designing an actual mass-produced product for real use.

Little Sun

Little Sun

The project has a high-level art world presence – it will, the Guardian tells us, be used in the surrealism rooms of the Tate Modern in 2012, ‘which will be plunged into darkness after normal opening hours, and visitors invited to visit them by the light of Little Sun lamps’. They will also be for sale in the Tate store.

Explaining why he had developed a social project, the Berlin-based Danish artist said: “Art is always interested in society in all kinds of abstract ways, though this has a very explicit social component. The art world sometimes lives in a closed-off world of art institutions, but I still think there’s a lot of work to show that art can deal with social issues very directly.”

The fact that the lamp – with its cheery petalled face – had been designed by an artist was important, he said. “People want beautiful things in their lives; they want something that they can use with pride … everyone wants something that’s not just about functionality but also spirituality.”

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/jul/12/olafur-eliasson-cheap-solar-lamp

Interested too in the mention of Eliasson’s cancelled Olympic project in the same article:

Little Sun, as the lamp is called, has risen out of the ashes of Eliasson’s Cultural Olympiad project, Take a Deep Breath, which the Olympic Lottery Distributor (OLD) declined to fund after details of the proposal were leaked to a newspaper. The project would have asked participants to inhale and exhale on behalf of a cause or idea, and then capture the thought on a “breath bubble” on a website. The “negative publicity” showed that the work was “contentious”, found the OLD’s board, according to its March 2012 minutes, and they “struggled to justify the £1m sought”.