The Gordon Institute of Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) brings the year to a close with the Beautiful Project, to be held at the Cape Town City Hall and on the Hiddingh Campus on 9-10 December.
The Institute continues to push creative and intellectual boundaries through its various interdisciplinary negotiations, with this year-end celebration calling into question our definitions of beauty and ugliness, with specific reference to the African continent. Leading cultural commentator and critic, Sarah Nutall; co-editor of the prize-winning book Ugly/Beautiful: African and Diaspora Aesthetics; will give the keynote address from which the event takes its thematic inspiration.
Nutall is recognised locally and internationally as a prominent voice in the ongoing debates on cultural theory, and particularly for her fresh perspective on the contemporary South African context. Here, she takes a closer look at exoticism in the context of women and race, particularly through the work of Harlem Renaissance performer Josephine Baker, and Johannesburg-based artist Mary Sibande.
Further explorations of notions of ‘aesthetic’ will take place in various forms over the two days. These include performances by dancer-choreographer Nelisiwe Xaba; acclaimed musician Neo Muyanga; fashion, visual and performance artist Athi-Patra Ruga; physical comedian Gaetan Schmid and the UCT Choir.
Theatre director and chef Peter Hayes will be cooking up “The Beautiful Feast” – an eight-course Processional Dinner through the reception rooms of Cape Town’s magnificent City Hall. In putting together what may just be Cape Town’s most talked about event this December, this previous creative director of the Mother City Queer Project predicts “it will be the kind of night you dream about… beyond your wildest dreams…”. This ‘rare’ experience promises a menu of whimsy and surprise, fun and laughter, levity and weight; a night when food, art, dance and theatre entwine and reflect each other’s eccentricities. So count on being led to a room for the main courses, with an expert on architecture sitting at your table and talking about the ‘beautiful building’ or for dessert being led into one of the rooms blindfolded and fed some dreamy sensation while a choir sings softly into one’s ear and so on.
References to Capote’s (in)famous ‘Black and White Ball’ not unfounded, it is suggested that guests dress in a manner befitting the occasion, as Hayes assures that “from canapés to cocktails, dessert to dancing, it’ll be a night to remember!”
The Beautiful Project takes place at the Cape Town City Hall and UCT’s Hiddingh Campus, on 9-10 December 2011. For more information on GIPCA, see the website www.gipca.uct.ac.za, phone the GIPCA office on 021 480 7156, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets will be available through Computicket.
Author: Fiona Gordon