28 Feb 2024 | By Rob Keith
ICA Surface Tension 2023
28 Feb 2024 | By Rob Keith

Surface Tension


surface tension was a showing of a new work by Jay Pather in collaboration with Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre.

In surface tension kinetic, visual and textual layers emerged from testimonies by South Africans about maintaining order in fields of chaos. Movement and spatial tension together with surfaces and palimpsests were all wrought through dance, video projections, a plethora of objects, and voice to nudge the public and intimate ways in which the body aches to speak and be re-felt. The performers invoked ultimately, the corporeal desire to surface, defying and confronting the absurdities, blind spots, savagery and brutality of contemporary politics.

Jay Pather is a choreographer, a curator and performance theorist. His artistic work deploys site-specific, interdisciplinary, and intercultural strategies to frame postcolonial imaginaries, decolonization and matters of social justice. Recent works include Qaphela Caesar, a deconstruction of Julius Caesar, at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and as director for two of Nadia Davids’ plays (What Remains, winning a Fleur du Cap for direction and Hold Still for which he was nominated for a Fleur Du Cap). Pather directs the Institute for Creative Arts at the University of Cape Town. He curates Infecting the City, ICA Live Art Festival and Afrovibes (in the Netherlands) and co-curates the Spier Light Art Festival. Recent publications include a book he co-edited, Acts of Transgressions: Contemporary Live Art in South Africa. In 2021, Ketu Katrak published a monograph of Pather’s work titled Jay Pather, Performance and Spatial Politics in South Africa.

Siwela Sonke Dance Theatre is a South African dance company based in Durban that emerged in 1996 from a training and development programme for Black dancers with no access to training opportunities. The Company has since travelled widely and is noted for their multimedia collaborations, using video, architecture, and site-specificity in their performances. surface tension features four generations of Siwela Sonke Dancers: Neliswa Rushualang (founding member since 1996), Sibusiso Gantsa (since 2006) Noxolo Rushualang and Mandisa Ndlovu (since 2015) and current trainees Lucky Shelembe and Sandile Mbhamali.

This production was made possible through the Villa Albertine Residency.

surface tension Album

15 July 2023 ~