A Wits School of the Arts and Nirox Exchange
HIV/AIDS: in it together began in March 2011 with the intention of beginning a series of projects that would foster educational exchange between the artists which reside at the Nirox Residency Foundation and Wits School of the Arts (WSOA) students and graduates. Anthea Moys, WSOA lecturer and active performance artist, was appointed as the co-ordinator of these projects. Artist and activist Geoffrey Hendricks and his partner, curator and archivist, Sur Rodney came to stay at Nirox for the month of March. During Hendricks’ stay here he helped Moys facilitate three Saturdays of the six weekend workshops prior to the performances.
In line with WSOA’s interest in interdisciplinary collaboration, Moys invited 4th year and graduate students from the Music, Visual Art and Drama for Life departments. Two participants who are part of Tomorrow Trust (see www.tomorrow.org.za), one from WSOA Drama department and one from AFDA, also joined. The challenge to collaborate on an interdisciplinary level was very important to this project in that it challenged the artists to work beyond their ‘comfort zones’. There were ten workshops in total, which produced 7 site-specific performance pieces in 7 sites in Braamfontein. These performances were held over 3 consecutive days in April.
Dealing with the theme of the stigma that still surrounds HIV/AIDS, the workshops were all at once painful and joyful, overwhelming and uplifting. In South Africa, HIV/AIDS performances, quite understandably, have a history of pain, victimhood and heaviness attached to them. One of the challenges, which arose out of the workshops, was: how do we create exciting, energising and passionate performances, which deal with quite a tired and heavy subject?
The project speaks to the following issues:
- Challenging the heavy stereotypes attached to loaded issues through fun, exciting and engaging practice.
- Interdisciplinary Collaboration
- Public Space
- Performance art and Social Activism: the Role of the Artist
Trolleywood Films has been with us every step of the way and we will soon have a documentary of the entire project, which will be screened at the Bioscope at main Street Life and Wits School of the Arts as part of the WALE (Wits Arts and Literature Exchange) festival.
You can see the trailer for the film here:
In It Together (Trailer) from Trolleywood Productions on Vimeo.