On Wednesday, 16 April we were thrilled to be able to host our first ‘Show & Tell’ evening of creative talks. We’d like to thank everyone who came through and, for those who weren’t able to, here is a little taste of what each of our speakers delivered.
Kicking things off for the evening, creative technologist and digital artist Nathan Gates gave us insight into his practice by taking us through a variety of personal projects. For his recent exhibition, Fingers In The Outlet, Nathan focused on reworking existing objects to create new functions and experiences. According to Nathan the exhibition itself was weird and unresolved, as it had no clear beginning and no conclusive end.
The works shown here included A Very Complicated Wrong Answer – Nathan’s attempt to replicate the technical workings of video with a slide projector – as well as Drop and Throw: A Presentation of My Findings which is based around a broken Sony Video Camera, that Nathan was able to convert into an oscilloscope of sorts to visualise the waveforms created when various objects were dropped or thrown in front of it.
Hereafter Nathan told us about Office Excercises, a series of projects he began after he finished his Masters Degree in the Interactive Digital Arts Program at WITS and started working at Hellocomputer. “While their value is essentially gimmick,” says Nathan, “these projects are a way for me to bring creative practice into the everyday.”
One such example is Mouse Portraits, for which Nathan modified the low resolution camera in his computer mouse to take photographs by left clicking. Another project, Is That A Face?, is an application which is designed to do one thing: to tell you whether or not something is a face. Lastly, an app called IRL was created in response to Nathan’s frustration with online text based communications, specifically when the person on the other end is difficult to deal with. By picking up your laptop and shaking it, the app is programmed to respond by typing a sting of obscenities – relieving your frustration in the process.
Find more of Nathan’s work here: assemblagebricolagecollage.weebly.com
Jana + Koos:
Following on from this our next speakers were Jana + Koos: a concept design duo who specialize in building brands and creating experiences. Their presentation was centered on the work they did for millinery brand Simon and Mary, which happens to be the first brand that the pair have built from scratch after 3 years of working together. While Dean Pozniak originally came to the duo asking for a simple logo design for Simon and Mary, after hearing the incredible story behind the brand, things soon escalated when Jana + Koos decided that a logo in itself would be insufficient.
Emphasising the great product as well as its history and heritage, Jana + Koos also managed to capitalize on the timing with the launch – as hats happened to be in fashion at that stage and Johannesburg was also receiving a great deal of international attention. The heritage of the company is reflected in many aspects of the branding like the inclusion of “1935 /2014” on the logo, and the tags which are based on old school work tickets. Combining history with a contemporary feel, the lookbook was shot exclusively in Johannesburg (as this is where the hats are made) and features people from around the city who are genuine hat wearers as the models.
What is remarkable about the Simon and Mary story, say Jana + Koos, is that the brand essentially spread itself. Without having to send out numerous press releases, Simon and Mary received so much local and international coverage that it became difficult to keep up with the demand – always a good problem to have, of course. After showing at STR. CRD, Simon and Mary was invited to have a showstand at the Bread and Butter festival in Berlin and this is how it came to be launched internationally even before its official launch in SA.
Finding the place where strategy meets creative intuition, Jana + Koos believe in leaving enough room for error and cultivating a space in happy accidents can occur. They have also come to realize that they don’t just design logos – because a brand is so much more.
See the full Simon and Mary lookbook and read our interview with Dean Pozniak, here.
For more from Jana + Koos visit their website: janaandkoos.com
Our final speaker for the evening was Mack Magagane, who took us through the body of work he created during his residency at the Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France (CPIF) in Paris. The intensive, three month long residency program resulted in Somewhere Between Here – his fourth complete body of work since studying at the Market Photo Workshop.
The series records a photographic journey as well as a physical journey to another space. Paris itself was vastly different to the way Mack had always perceived it – and the works he created here speak of this. The photographs capture temporal relationships, spaces and moments found by Mack in a somewhat foreign city, and the cinematic imagery starts to enter the realm of film.
In Somewhere Between Here, Mack explored the way meaning has the ability to shift within a still image. The series of photographs features individuals with whom Mack formed personal relationships during his stay in Paris, and the identity of ‘place’ comes into play as he draws on the sense of nostalgia that comes with being in a foreign space, all the while longing for and making reference to his home in Johannesburg.
See more of Mack’s work here: mackmagagane.com
Stay tuned for updates on our next Show & Tell!