Archive: Issue No. 74, October 2003

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Matthew Hindley awarded Iziko Public Art Commission
by Paul Edmunds

Matthew Hindley, a recent MTN New Contemporaries finalist, has been awarded the main commission for the Iziko Public Art Commission. The adjudication panel awarded commissions to four of the six finalists in the competition, all of whose work was recently on view at the South African National Gallery.

Also nominated were Claire Gavronsky and Rose Shakinovsky (working together as Rosenclaire), and Mark O'Donovan. Curator and cultural activist Roger van Wyk has also been asked to design and realise brick paving in the area in front of the Gallery's Company Gardens entrance.

Hindley's entry represents a rather bold step on the part of the judges. The piece, entitled 'Speak naturally and continuously ...' was adapted from his piece originally conceived for the MTN New Contemporaries show. Hindley describes the work as a "real-time text-based reaction to the soundscape surrounding the South African National Gallery. It is a permanent installation wherein the presence of the viewer is an integral part of the work's 'activation''.

A text conversion engine will convert sound into text that will scroll across an LED display on the gallery's facade. Hindley has clearly broken the boundaries of what is regarded as public art in South Africa, and in this sense the piece is not limited to the physical area it will occupy.

In answering the part of the brief requiring entries to impart skills to others, Hindley proposed to work in collaboration with Vuyisa Nyamende (whose work was featured on 2001's 'Homeport' exhibition) and Lebohang Tlali.

Rosenclaire's work proposes the erection of two metal and glass sculpture stands outside the Gallery. These will apparently invite occupation for the purposes of "public debate´┐Ż silent protests and picketing, exhibiting works of art, performance, poetry readings and children's workshops".

Mark O'Donovan has proposed a more conventional but very ambitious project, which takes the form of a large moving sculpture, activated by an audience passing through turnstiles or pedalling. The mechanisms will be based on popular childrens' toys and O'Donovan will be working with Lawrence Manyakama and Ncebile Mabilokasi, as well as other artists and craftspeople.

Roger van Wyk proposes to replace the tarmac surfacing in front of the gallery with innovative designs in brick making reference to labyrinths and games.