Fak'ugesi Art Residency 2015

Text by: South African Cyborg

With the theme “Speculative & Futurist Visions of Johannesburg”, a team of four resident creative technologists will respond to Braamfontein as a youth culture hub and location for technology development.  From the UK, Kasia Molga, media artist, hackivist and creative coder, and Ling Tan, wearable technology artist, will collaborate with Kenyan digital artist, Jepchumba and South African creative technologist, Nathan Gates. Over the three weeks of the Festival the residents will occupy the basement gallery of the Wits Art Museum as an open “Fak’ugesi Lab” where their work will evolve through public, creative and technology engagements.

Jepchumba, a Kenyan digital artist and futurist interested in creative technologies in Africa, constructed a booth for residents of the Gauteng city-region to record messages to themselves from the future. These time travellers could choose how far into the future they wanted to journey, and were filmed against a green screen onto which one of two impressionistic science fiction backgrounds was later composited. Set before either a surreal natural landscape (which reminded me of a scene in Pumzi (2009) where the title character fantasises about a large tree in the desert), or an aerial view of the Johannesburg CBD, participants left messages that were occasionally serious, at times humorous, and often intimately personal. According to Jepchumba, the goal of her #futureselfie project was to encourage people to think about themselves through time and to leave themselves messages that would inspire their present realities.

The brief is to engage Braamfontien, its people and its streets as a location to explore creativity and technology. They will be asking questions like: What will Braamfontien look like in the future? and Are young creatives in Braamfontien part of what this future will look like?