Book Section2022-01-04
A sense of repetition pervades contemporary South African political and cultural debate. Several recent studies have drawn attention to the fact that the renewed student protests since March 2015 parallel several features of the resistance and liberation movements of the 1970s and 1980s. At a pivotal position between the two moments of political struggle stands the ‘miracle’ of the peaceful transition in 1994. Within this set of circumstances a group of curators, artists, and writers, Gabi Ngcobo and Kemang Wa Lehulere, amongst others, formed a collective under the name CHR (Center for Historical Reenactments) in Johannesburg in 2010. The CHR has pursued several questions that interrogate the complexity of a shared memory bridging segregated Apartheid legacy: how do readings of the past inform contemporary urgencies, and what are the political potentials of artistic interpretations of histories? How do they participate in the formation of new subjectivities?
Keywords: Center for Historical Reenactments; Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Title
‘Interrupting the Present’
Subtitle
Political and Artistic Forms of Reenactments in South Africa
Author(s)
Katja Gentric
Identifier
Description
A sense of repetition pervades contemporary South African political and cultural debate. Several recent studies have drawn attention to the fact that the renewed student protests since March 2015 parallel several features of the resistance and liberation movements of the 1970s and 1980s. At a pivotal position between the two moments of political struggle stands the ‘miracle’ of the peaceful transition in 1994. Within this set of circumstances a group of curators, artists, and writers, Gabi Ngcobo and Kemang Wa Lehulere, amongst others, formed a collective under the name CHR (Center for Historical Reenactments) in Johannesburg in 2010. The CHR has pursued several questions that interrogate the complexity of a shared memory bridging segregated Apartheid legacy: how do readings of the past inform contemporary urgencies, and what are the political potentials of artistic interpretations of histories? How do they participate in the formation of new subjectivities?
Is Part Of
Place
Berlin
Publisher
ICI Berlin Press
Date
4 January 2022
Subject
Center for Historical Reenactments
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Rights
© by the author(s)
Except for images or otherwise noted, this publication is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Language
en-GB
page start
57
page end
67
Source
Over and Over and Over Again: Reenactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory, ed. by Cristina Baldacci, Clio Nicastro, and Arianna Sforzini, Cultural Inquiry, 21 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2022), pp. 57–67

References

  • Antoine, Jean–Philippe, Farces et Attrapes. Inventer les images (Genève: MAMCO; Dijon: Les presses du réel, 2017)
  • Benjamin, Walter, ‘Ausgraben und Erinnern’, in Benjamin, Gesammelte Schriften, ed. by Rolf Tiedemann and Hermann Schweppenhäuser, 7 vols (Frankfurt a.M.: Suhrkamp, 1972–91), IV.1: Kleine Prosa, Baudelaire-Übertragungen (1972), pp. 400–01
  • Bester, Rory, ‘Trauma and Truth’, in Experiments with Truth: Transitional Justice and the Processes of Truth and Reconciliation: Documenta 11_Platform 2, ed. by Okwui Enwezor (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2002), pp. 155–73
  • Bester, Rory, and Okwui Enwezor, eds, Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life (Munich: Prestel, 2013)
  • Caillet, Aline, ‘Le Re-enactment: Refaire, rejouer ou répéter l’histoire?’, Marges. Revue d’art contemporain, 17 (2013), special issue Remake, reprise, répétition, pp. 66–73 <https://doi.org/10.4000/marges.153>
  • Center for Historical Reenactments and the Johannesburg Workshop for Theory and Criticism, eds, PASS–AGES, References & Footnotes (Johannesburg: Center for Historical Reenactments, 2010)
  • Davila, Thierry, ‘Endurance de la répétition, surgissement de l’invention: Le Remake et la fabrique de l’histoire’, in Remakes (Bordeaux: CAPC-Musée d’art contemporain, 2003), pp. 26–46
  • Deutsche Bank AG, Art, Culture & Sports, Thorsten Strauß, and Franziska Kunz, eds, Kemang Wa Lehulere, Bird Song (Berlin: Hatje Cantz, 2017)
  • Fanon, Frantz, Peau noire, masques blancs, in Fanon, Œuvres (Paris: La Découverte, 2011), pp. 45–257 <https://doi.org/10.1522/030294726>
  • Gule, Khwezi, ‘Center for Historical Reenactments: Is the Tale Chasing its Own Tail?’, Afterall: A Journal of Art, Context and Enquiry, 39 (2015), pp. 88–100 <https://doi.org/10.1086/682839>
  • Historical Papers (The Library, University of the Witwatersrand) and South African History Archive, Traces of Truth: Documents Relating to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission <http://truth.wwl.wits.ac.za/about.php> [accessed 6 April 2018]
  • Historical Papers (The Library, University of the Witwatersrand) and South African History Archive, ‘Traces of Truth: Select Bibliography of the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’, Traces of Truth, 2006 <http://truth.wwl.wits.ac.za/TRCBIB.pdf> [accessed 9 April 2021]
  • Kesting, Marietta, Affective Images: Post- Apartheid Documentary Perspectives (New York: State University of New York Press, 2017)
  • Khoza, Mbali, ‘What Difference Does It Make Who Is Speaking?’ (unpublished master’s thesis in Fine Art, University of the Witwatersrand, Faculty of Humanities, School of Art, 2016)
  • Leeb, Susanne, ‘Flucht nach nicht ganz vorn, Geschichte in der Kunst der Gegenwart’, Texte zur Kunst, 76 (December 2009), pp. 28–45
  • Mbembe, Achille, Politiques de l’inimitié (Paris: La Découverte, 2016)
  • Ngcobo, Gabi, ‘Does This Window Have a Memory?’, Other Possible Worlds <http://www.otherpossibleworlds.net/?page_id=453> [accessed 6 April 2018]
  • Ngcobo, Gabi, ‘Phantom(pain)’, Glossary of Common Knowledge, May 2014 <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqgLd_BdNmI> [accessed 6 April 2018]
  • Ngcobo, Gabi, ‘Endnotes. Was It a Question of Power?’, in Condition Report: Symposium on Building Art Institutions in Africa, ed. by Koyo Kouoh (Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz, 2013), pp. 65–67 <http://historicalreenactments.org/documents/condition%20report/condition.pdf> [accessed 31 March 2019]
  • Ngcobo, Gabi, ‘Art in Context Africa, Part I: Sabelo Mlangeni’s No Problem, and a Visit to the Site of Michelle Monareng’s Removal to Radium’, Art Review, 66.7 (October 2014) <https://artreview.com/features/october_2014_feature_art_in_context_i_gabi_ngcobo/ > [accessed 6 April 2018]
  • Ngcobo, Gabi, and Kemang Wa Lehulere, ‘Unearthing Skeletons in History’s Shallow Graves’, in PASS–AGES, References & Footnotes, ed. by the Center for Historical Reenactments and the Johannesburg Workshop for Theory and Criticism (Johannesburg: Center for Historical Reenactments, 2010), p. 10
  • Thomas, Kylie, ‘Decolonisation Is Now: Photography and Student-Social Movements in South Africa’, Visual Studies, 33.1 (2018), pp. 98–110 <https://doi.org/10.1080/1472586X.2018.1426251>
  • Thomas, Kylie, ‘Exhuming Apartheid: Photography, Disappearance and Return’, Cahiers d’études africaines, 230 (2018), pp. 429–54 <https://doi.org/10.4000/etudesafricaines.22209>
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission, The TRC Report <https://www.justice.gov.za/trc/report/index.htm> [accessed 6 April 2018]
  • Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa Report, 5 vols (London: Macmillan, 1999)

Cite as: Katja Gentric, ‘“Interrupting the Present”: Political and Artistic Forms of Reenactments in South Africa’, in Over and Over and Over Again: Reenactment Strategies in Contemporary Arts and Theory, ed. by Cristina Baldacci, Clio Nicastro, and Arianna Sforzini, Cultural Inquiry, 21 (Berlin: ICI Berlin Press, 2022), pp. 57-67 <https://doi.org/10.37050/ci-21_07>