Archive: Issue No. 85, September 2004

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Feedback is an open forum for readers to share any comments and insights relevant to art practice in South Africa. We reserve the right to edit all submissions.

From: Jeanette Gilks
Subject: Hot Topic Q&A Session
Date received: June 15

Dear Andrew Lamprecht,

I read your long letter on ArtThrob and am pleased that you enjoyed your Durban stay. I'm sorry you didn't like my questions at the Hot Topic Q&A session at the NSA gallery. Annoying to be sure, considering your otherwise arcadian Durban visit.

And then a small, insignificant blight in Paradise:

"...a very irritating person who asked endlessly irritating questions..."

Yes, I'm the worm; fun-spoiling and critical. Critical of the Critical.

But it was, after all, a "Hot Topic Q&A the gallery." Consequently I DID imagine that there would be Questions! And Answers! possibly Answers-Framed-As-Questions!

Verbal exchange/ interaction with the audience was, however, mostly avoided. Dialogue was replaced by long interruptions of loud music and on one occasion there was a tape recording of some fellow swearing loudly in Afrikaans. And I mean LOUD! I was not provoked by this, I just found it irritating like the relentless ads on TV where I can, fortunately, zap the mute button. Was this an intended response, perhaps? ( Another endlessly irritating question, no doubt.). Since I found this antic silly, I was not tempted to giggle as some people did. Not even once. Not my sense of humour. Sorry. But then I called you Red Cap and Ed Young White Cap and I thought THIS quite amusing (considering that both of you were wearing caps- one Red One and One White One,) but you got a bit cross, I think. Not YOUR sense of humour!

Seriously though, I had imagined SOME kind of discourse. Something entertaining, and tongue-and-cheek certainly, but nevertheless mentally stimulating and provoking sharp and whitty responses and repartee, given the nature of the Puta event and your clear enjoyment of piss-take and puns. ABSOLUTELY my sense of humour! That's why I came.

I expected more of a storm from the " ... highly regarded curatorial team of head honchos." I had expected a more ironic, possibly sardonic look at the Puta performance in the "... trendy, hot and relevant space for Contemporary art." Instead we got, on the whole, fairly immature and on occasions quite petulant responses to the questions asked by the audience. The development of the evening put me off attending the walkabouts by Carol Brown, Peter Machen and Andrew Verster.

I must confess that I had hoped for a dialogue that reflected, even fleetingly, some community standards of rational debate.