Curator for SIRA 2020 is Meghan Judge
The theme for SIRA 2020 was RUST an activity that sits in relation to SIRA’s core working metaphor, salt, which is used as a tool to mound practice and knowledge together. The ways in which salt acts to find itself again once systems of water release it, is what this residency shapes itself on. It is the formation of the crystallisation of salt, those mounds that grow into and despite of all sorts of surfaces where salt lands, that is of interest here.
The SIRA artists initial release stemmed from their own intimate environments. This allowed their fellow artists to playfully engage with these sites of heightened intimacy and place despite the fact that they lived elsewhere. In this sense, the community that formed within the residency was one where the interface of the shared online studio housed difference in ways where it could meet, explore and mutate. The selection of artists from different disciplines resulted in exposure for all to different modes, moods, paces and provocations.
The artists explored rusting in different and interesting ways that draw on their intimate environments. Wezile Mgibe’s use of bodily performance seems to ask for a certain kind of rusting, one that rebuilds from perished sites bound up in the seen/unseen. In his work, the act of using the body while hiding identity is proposed as a surface for rusting into in ways that question identity and loss of identity. Playful clues as to how one might get to know this hidden person more are left in wait to be noticed by the observer and conversed with or explored. In a sonic form of rusting, Môta Soa’s artworks seem to explore voice and musical sound as a movement of mutation that can be found morphing through chunks of life, adjusting as it does: the voice trailing scenes sometimes breath-like, sometimes taking a clearer and more central vocal form. Voice and sound swap out, creating moods that act as an in-between space, refusing to be held down to one singular form. In a process of laboriously working into materials that encounter each other in affective ways, Duduetsang Lamola demonstrates rusting as a collective act. The layered imagery seems to corrode into notions of hidden and suppressed knowledge in an almost a reverse-effect of rusting, which allows the action of rusting to be seen as something coming forward instead of something being eaten into. Through digital video work, Hery Zo Ralaindimby sheds light on the emancipatory potentials of rusting in layered environments that burn the past into an alive, mutating present. A focus on traditional ways in a changing world demonstrates an old energy that is alive and well as it rusts into the new world, bringing with it riddles of human/animal relations and revealing truths about bondage.
Throughout the residency the artists proceeded to find and respond to each other's works, mounding as they did so. Here are some of the mounds I noticed emerging.