The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) at UCT is hosting the ground-breaking Emerging Modernities event from 18 - 20 February.

"Emerging Modernities is a creative platform where academia and the arts meet in an interactive way to explore current conceptual issues surrounding the notions of redefining contemporary identities and art," says GIPCA Director Jay Pather.

"The event is structured in a unique way, in that it combines performances, installations and exhibitions with panel discussions. We want to give attendees an opportunity to observe some of South Africa's cutting edge artists in action, and then also reflect critically on the experience, with its conceptual implications, with a panel of experts," said Pather.

The weekend long Emerging Modernities opens with an address by the highly respected Simon Njami, art critic, novelist, essayist and curator, of Cameroonian decent and currently residing in France. Mwenya Kabwe, Peter van Heerden, Andrew Putter, Nandipha Mntambo, Magnet Theatre and Sello Pesa are some of the contributors who will be showcasing their work, combined with panel discussions facilitated around issues relating to performing and creative arts disciplines, as well panels that deal with language, the city, and notions of tradition and curriculum design.

Panelists include academics and cultural theorists Crain Soudien (Deputy Vice Chancellor, UCT), Neo Lekgotla laga Ramoupi (Africa Institute of South Africa, Pretoria, Deborah Posel (Director: Institute for Humanities in Africa), Neo Muyanga and Ntone Edjabe (Pan African Space Station), Bettina Malcomess, Rael Salley, Gabi Ngcobo, Gavin Younge, Mark Fleishman and composer Bongani Ndodana-Breen.

The topics addressed during the panel sessions will include "Emerging modernities and the contested curriculum in the post colony", "Re-presenting the other, artistic collaboration and identity construction as process in the visual arts", "Intercultural composition and Pan African re-emerging and merging in music", and "Performance and the African city: multiple tongues; hybrid formations and translocations".

In addition to the sessions that critically reflect on existing bodies of work, the event will also host the première of a work composed by Wits University's Jeanne Zaidel-Rudolph and UCT's Anri Herbst as part of a research project on indigenous knowledge systems, focussing on the preservation of Xhosa overtone singing. A concert will be held on Saturday evening featuring the Ngqoko Women's Ensemble, showcasing their unique music style.

The second half will comprise the Women's ensemble with 13 instrumentalists, conducted by Alexander Fokkens, performing originally composed music by Zaidel-Rudolph, Christo Jankowitz and Kerryn Tracey. The conference also hosts the première of Peter van Heerden and Anne Historical's installation work Monument, which will take place at the Castle of Good Hope. Another site specific performance will be In House by Ntsoana Contemporary Dance, featuring Sello Pesa and other performers.

Die Vreemdeling by Magnet Theatre, directed by Mark Fleishman, is also on the programme. The event includes an exhibition walkabout of In Context at the South African National Gallery, led by curator Liza Essers, director of the Goodman Gallery.

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