Stream Umlilo’s site specific performance for ‘Umzabalazo’

Johannesburg is home to many iconic sites, be it sites of historical struggle or monuments to days gone by. In a multi-sited and interactive visual project, South Africa’s gender bending, genre blurring Kwaai Diva will be visiting many of these sites in an upcoming music video. The best part? You’re invited to watch it all go down.

Taken from Umlilo’s second EP Aluta, ‘Umzabalazo’ is a collaboration between director Odendaal Esterhuyse, ALV Corp, and Umlilo and will be as much a piece of performance art as it will a music video, seeing the artist walk various sites of struggle in their home town of Johannesburg.

The entire process will take place on Saturday 18 June and will be live streamed via Periscope, with the final video being released as an interactive 360 degree video that allows viewers to walk the mile, change course and also see the locations via Google Earth.

Taken by Dylan Beckerling hi res (1)

Conceptually, the piece focuses on the body, a site of struggle that is bound by society, oppressive colonial history, and modernity and sees Umlilo act out two characters. “One is your regular repressed BEE guy who is isolated by his wealth and the other is a projection of all his fears, aspirations and repression,” says Umlilo.

If you’ve ever seen Umlilo perform live or taken a look at their previous music videos, you’ll know that the artist is no stranger to performance art. For ‘Umzabalazo’, they wanted to experiment with the traditional format of a music video by filming the entire piece in one inimitable and entirely honest take.

“I love a traditional music video like anyone else (I’m from the MTV generation) but as an artist and performer, I think a performative journey is always way more interesting and reveals meaning so much more, because the audience gets to go through that with you and you can never really recreate the moment,” says Umlilo. “I like using styles that make it impossible to replicate. It’s so important for me to be in the moment and express myself honestly and if there’s a fuck up, you just carry on.”   

The final video will be featured on Between 10and5. Don’t forget to watch the video live by downloading the Periscope app and following @umzabalazo.

Fore more details, head over to Facebook.  


Photographs by Dylan Beckerling.

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