plastic histories

Plastic Histories, 2014

A public art project for the Vryfestival July 15 - 20, 2014,

Bloemfontein, South Africa


Most 19th Century, and even contemporary monuments in post-colonial countries such as South Africa are typically a celebration of men's achievements in serving the empires or their nations. These monuments serve to shape collective memory in public spaces, and ensure against the failure of individual memory. Yet, we now know that our memory, far from being set in stone (or bronze), is plastic in the sense that it is constantly being shaped and moulded based on our new knowledge of the past. We also know that there are multiple histories in every era, and that often these alternative histories are not represented in public spaces. Plastic Histories is an attempt to visualise this by uncovering alternative histories, in particular acknowledging the contribution of women from all races, sexualities and genders in the grand narrative of a post-Apartheid South Africa.



plastic histories



Plastic Histories was a multifaceted project comprising of three main components. This included the physical shrink-wrapping of two monuments on the University of the Free State (UFS) main campus; the development of an Augmented Reality application for four monuments in the city of Bloemfontein; and an exhibition of digital prints, video and physically shrink-wrapped busts from the UFS permanent art collection, in the Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery.


Plastic Histories: Shrink-wrapped monuments

plastic histories























Plastic Histories: Augmented Reality Application for Smart Phones


phone app



Produced by Sydney artist Warren Armstrong, this free downloadable application allowed audiences to engage with a number of other monuments in the city of Bloemfontein. When viewed through a smart phone or tablet these monuments would appear in pink. In addition, the voices of South African poets Kagisho Kolwane (Xhosa), Charmaine Mrwebi (Sotho), Tessa Ndlovu (Afrikaans, English, Sotho) and Gisela Ullyatt (Afrikaans) are heard when viewing the application.



















English translations can be found in the 'Track info' section of each poet's soundcloud page. This can be accessed by clicking on the respective poet's image above.


Plastic Histories: Exhibition at Johannes Stegmann Gallery

panorama


Plastic Histories (President Steyn), 2014
Plastic Histories (President Steyn), 2014
Plastic Histories (President Steyn), 2014
Plastic Histories (CR Swart), 2014
Plastic Histories (CR Swart), 2014
Plastic Histories (CR Swart), 2014



Link to the Plastic Histories catalogue



Acknowledgements

Curators; Carli Leimbach, Ricardo Peach, Angela De Jesus, Production; Adri van Veijeren, Professor Nicky Morgan, Rosemary Miller, Kate Dezarnaulds, Lezanda du Plessis, Maritsa Barlow, Mandi-Anne Bezuidenhout, Contributors; Professor Jonathan J Jansen, Professor Andre Keet, Dr Liz Lange, Nadine Lake, Poets; Charmaine Mrwebi, Gisela Ullyatt, Kagiso Kolwane, Tessa Ndlovu, Augmented Reality; Warren Armstrong, Live Streaming; Gavin Coetzer, Publicity; Tiani Chillemi, Johannes Deetlefs, Production Crew; Robyn-Leigh Hudson, Mine Kleynhans, Isaai Thanbisa, Production Volunteers; Karla Benade, Chris Kleynhans, Jeannie Johnston, Louis Kruger, Preshton Swartz, Caronice Oss