Alternate Voices is a discursive programme that runs in conjunction with the exhibition of Publishing Against the Grain at Zeitz MOCAA (18 November 2017 – 29 January 2018). This programme includes a series of sessions throughout the day for visitors to read and discuss the content on exhibition, followed by a public panel discussion that focuses on one of the international publications included.
Alternate Voices: Our Literal Speed will begin with a discursive reading session within the exhibition space (Centre for Art Education, Level -1), followed by a public panel discussion at 4 PM with Our Literal Speed founders Matthew Jesse Jackson and John Spelman (via Skype), and local artists Emily Robertson and Mitchell Messina (adjective). This discussion will be moderated by Sven Christian, Adriane Iann Assistant Curator of Books and Works on Paper at Zeitz MOCAA, and can accommodate a maximum of 120 people (please find rsvp details below).
The programme is aimed to provide visitors a first-hand account into the origins, thought processes, and concerns behind some of the key contributions, providing a platform for these ideas to be expanded upon within the context of artistic and critical production in South Africa.
This event is free with museum admission. Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Literal Speed
A few would-be academics and would-be artists came up with an idea called Our Literal Speed (OLS). Mainly, OLS was a burgeoning sense among a handful of untenured, underemployed workers in the felds of visual art and higher education that mandatory artfulness and mandatory inventiveness were about to enter mainstream academia in a major way. It seemed as if a technological revolution were breaking out all around us but even though the way you communicated, the way you bought stuff, the way you travelled, were all transforming explosively, the way you’d work as an academic was still being imagined as remaining more or less the same as it was during the Ford administration. To us, this was wrong and short-sighted.
So, we began producing slightly non-standard, mildly unexpected experiences within “straight” academic contexts – and, conversely, we began producing pedagogical scenarios within that netherworld of freeze-dried political “art-ivism”, hedge fund after-after parties and rampant economic/artistic nepotism known as the art industry-scape.
We also anticipated that our distressed “Kulturbolschewismus” from the Deep South might leave a few folks perplexed along the way but that was one of the basic ideas from the beginning: we wanted OLS to make OLS. We wanted any description or synopsis of the project to come up short. We wanted something that could not be explained in a press release, advertised with a blurb or accounted for in a CV line.
Emily Harriet Bulbring Robertson (b. 1992) is a visual artist, gender equality enthusiast and avid consumer of popular culture. Robertson uses humour and satire to highlight and subvert outdated stereotypical gender norms as well as communicate her fears of inadvertently enacting them. By making use of the visual language of popular culture and mass media to articulate her subject, Robertson makes work that is familiar to the viewer and yet firmly critical of the systems within popular culture which propagate these harmful stereotypes.
Mitchell Gilbert Messina (b. 1991) works as an artist and art director of adjective. His interests are (in alphabetical order) antics, bloopers, capers, double-takes, entendres, foolin’, gags, hilarity, in-, jokes, kidding, laughing-stocks, mischief, nothing, outtakes, producing print publications as potential project spaces, quips, repartee, slapstick, tomfoolery, upmanship, vagaries, wit, xyresic, yarns, and zest. His work has been included in many group and solo exhibitions internationally, and is held by various private collections.