disquieting domesticities/vestiges of violence
Second iteration of Leora Farber’s installation opens at the Iziko South African National Gallery.
disquieting domesticities/vestiges of violence (regenerations), forms the second iteration of the disquieting domesticities/vestiges of violence installation. Following from the first iteration, subtitled (the ghost in the house), which was staged at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town from May to September 2021, the impressions of domestic objects that inhabited the space have transformed from material matter into the filmic realm.
While in their physical states, the impressions already embodied an ever-changing, liminal space of becoming, slipping in-between corporeality and ephemerality, tactility and translucency, reality and imagination. This sense of liminality is heightened as the impressions are transposed into film – a medium in which the transientness of light, time and space is foregrounded. In their filmic reiterations, the impressions appear and disappear across the screen as ephemeral, ethereal, transient forms (which often dissolve into formlessness); they become fleeting semblances of presence which simultaneously unfold into absence. Through these precarious ‘things’
that are barely things, one is invited to try and grasp the ungraspable – fugitive, fragmented remembrances of familiarity, strangeness, comfort, dis-ease, intimacy, distance, vulnerability, trauma, complicity and loss.
In their reference to the troubled history of West-East cross-cultural and economic exchange, the filmic impressions, like their material counterparts, become spectral traces of the violent colonial legacies that haunt post-colonial domestic interiors. As hauntologies of British and Dutch Imperialism and colonialism – the very mechanisms that drove the enculturation of capital, set against an historical backdrop of dispossession, exploitation, genocide, displacement and precarity – the impressions evoke uncanny spectres of disquietude that reside in the present and through endless processes of regeneration, will return to haunt the future.
The impressions of domestic objects that feature in the first and second iterations of this installation are made through an experimental combination of artmaking and scientific practices, using microbes, life processes and biomaterials as media. These practices are often located under the umbrella term ‘bioart’.
In the films ghosted matter (2018-2021), chimera (2021), animacies (2021) and dark matter(s) (2021), the impressions featured are made from a cellulose-fibre produced by the symbiotic action of the bacteria Gluconacetobacter xylinus and yeast. As it feeds off a mixture of tea and sugar, this culture grows to form a cellulose fibre that when dehydrated, bears uncanny resemblance to traces of human skin – sloughed off, shed, discarded. In phantom hurt (2019-2021), the impressions are made from a solidified mixture of agar and nutrient, onto which live, naturally pigmented, pathogenic bacteria have been painted. Inscribed into, imprinted onto, or infused with the translucent jelly-like substrate, the bacteria grow unpredictably and uncontrollably in response to the patterns or surface applications that the artist attempts to create for them. In both instances, rather than being the product of her creative efforts alone, the work is made through collaboration between the micro-organisms and the artist; they happen ‘with’ the agencies of the microbes in a dynamic process of organic exchange.
Other exhibitions currently on exhibition at the ISANG include Coral Bijoux’s Dreams as R-evolution, Iziko Curator Tšhegofatšo Mabaso’s Territories Between Us, and Framing Landscape: ‘The Picturesque’ and ‘The Sublime’ curated by Hayden Proud, Iziko’s former Curator of Historical Paintings.
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About Iziko Museums of South Africa (Iziko)
Iziko Museums operate 11 national museums, the Planetarium and Digital Dome, the Social History Centre and three collection-specific libraries in Cape Town. The museums that make up Iziko Museums have their own history and character, presenting extensive art, social and natural history collections that reflect our diverse African heritage. Iziko Museums bring together these museums under a single governance and leadership structure, as a public entity and public benefit organisation. The organisation allows *free access to all individuals on commemorative days, (*excluding the Castle of Good Hope, Groot Constantia and Planetarium and Digital Dome). Visit our webpage at www.iziko.org.za, join our online community on Facebook (www.facebook.com/IzikoMuseums), Instagram (@izikomuseumssa) or follow us on Twitter (@Iziko_Museums) for regular updates on events, news and new exhibitions.
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