In 2008, I received a request from Iziko Museums, Cape Town to begin an exploratory process of how to activate Iziko’s museum spaces through performance strategies. These strategies were similar to those explained by Charles R. Garoian, who justifies his reasons for activating museum spaces with performance and performance art as a way to provide accessibility and attract an audience beyond traditional museum demographics, to rupture the privileged institutional structures inherent within the museum and to transform the museum space from a repository of objects to that of aesthetic contemplation and contestation (Performing pedagogy: towards an art of politics, Garoian 211-212: 1999). Four performance projects were specifically created for the museum. Each project occurred at specific museum sites related to their various museum displays and commemorative days and incorporated themes of identity, slavery and HIV/AIDS. These projects included Miss Nothing (2008), 1808 (2008), Implantation (2009) and Christine’s Room (2010). Each of these projects demands their own explication. And since undertaking a course of reflection surrounding these projects, this has occurred. For this presentation I would like to concentrate on one project as a case study 1808 (2008). The work of 1808 was intended to combine historical re-enactment of the 1808 slave rebellion in the Cape with themes around contemporary Cape identity and alternate notions around performance. It is an example of how a project’s histories, its making and its redisplay, can be considered as a demonstration of the performing museum.
|Keywords:||Performance, Theatre, Art, Historical Re-enactment, Slavery|
Post Doctoral Research Fellow, Research Centre for Visual Identity and Design, University of Johannesburg, Johannesburg, Gauteng, South Africa
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