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The Names We Give


The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) is proud to present ‘the names we give’, a weekend long event of performances, jazz, film, public interventions and a groupthink called ‘Delicious Sensations’. Facilitated by Donald Gordon…

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The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) is proud to present ‘the names we give’, a weekend long event of performances, jazz, film, public interventions and a groupthink called ‘Delicious Sensations’. Facilitated by Donald Gordon Creative Arts Award Winner, Raél Jero Salley,the event runs from Friday 13 to Sunday 15 May at the UCT’s Hiddingh Campus.

The event opens at the Hiddingh Hall on Friday 13 May with an evening resembling a musical feast, with a Jazz Quartet under the direction of Mike Rossi and a 30 strong UCT choir in a moving acapella rendition of “Weeping”. After this, delegates will be bussed to the Baxter Theatre for Phillip MillersREwind: A Cantata for Voice, Tape and Testimony, which the New York Times called “Ambitious … provocative” and The Star describes as "An enduring masterpiece of diverse choral musical, cultural and oral traditions”.

The work features the legendary Sibongile Khumalo joined by soloists Otto Maidi, Stéfan Louw and Nozuko Teto, alongside the Cape Town Opera Voice of the Nation chorus and the Heavenly Voices Chorus, as well as a string octet led by Marian Lewin. Composer Philip Miller has endeavored to express in music the South African spirit as it manifested itself during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings.

The songs in REwind, which mixes operatic and traditional South African styles, are built around actual testimonies and weave recorded audio samples from the hearings into the music. The physical environment, designed by Gerhard Marx (who also directs), creates a visual context that illuminates the full power of the cantata. Through the use of ingeniously animated projections of photographs and text the testimonies literally take form, enveloping the chorus on stage. The work is presented by The Office performing arts + film (New York/London), Cape Town Opera and the Baxter Theatre Centre.

The programme for the rest of the ‘the names we give’ weekend includes speakers that have been drawn from a range of different institutions and contexts: Thembiknosi Goniwe and Zen Marie (Wits University), Ruth Simbao and Nomusa Makhubu (Rhodes University), Leora Farber (University of Johannesburg), Crain Soudien, Carolyn Hamilton and Imraan Coovadia (University of Cape Town), Kathryn Smith (Stellenbosch University), Lerato Bereng (curator at Brodie Stevenson Gallery in Johannesburg), Creative Cape Town’s Zayd Minty, Ntone Edjabe (founding editor of Chimurenga Magazine) and writer, Alex Dodd.

Performances over the weekend include readings of evocative and provocative texts such as Paper Flowers, Dutchman and Coloured Son X, under the direction of Sara Machett, Amy Jephta and Fleur du Cap Award Winners, Mwenya Kabwe and Lara Bye. On Saturday evening an Art Attack party features the music of Ntone Edjabe and Sannie Fox as well as performance installations by Liza Grobler, Sanjin Muftic, and iKapa Dance Theatre’s Theo Ndindwa. Premiering their work, Fractography, will be Donald Gordon Creative Arts Award winners, Jamila Rodrigues, Steven van Wyk and Kristina Johnstone.

“The names we give to concepts, things and people put them in a specific headspace,” said Jay Pather, GIPCA Director. “This in turn influences our interactions with them, and sows the seeds for selective sometimes myopic, viewing. The weekend event will be a large, malleable space for creative conversations about these ‘names we give’ in an interactive, informal, social environment,” he added.

The Sunday evening will close with a musical tribute to legendary jazz composer, bassist, bandleader and civil rights activist Charles Mingus, directed by Mike Rossi. Film screenings curated by Lesedi Mogoatlhe, including Djibril Diop Mambety’s Hyenas and Khalo Matabane’s My Beautiful Country, will bring fresh perspectives in compelling image and sound. Food in the form of an opening breyani and a Sunday brunch is all part and parcel of the aim of this event to develop these creative, provocative conversations in an atmosphere of warmth and social interaction.

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