Digital art ‘orphan’ finds a new home at Grahamstown festival
● Some of South Africa’s top and up-ancoming digital artists will be taking part in a new digital programme to be launched at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown this week.
The programme, which took a year to put together, will include workshops, installations, talks and performances on topics such as artificial intelligence in the art space, animating futurist cartoon characters and exploring algorithms in performance art.
Among those taking part are Yoav
Dagan, a TV and film producer who works with artist William Kentridge on his videos; Bradley Kirshenbaum, the graphic designer behind the Love Jozi range of Tshirts; and photographer and filmmaker Daron Chatz, who has designed virtual art apps.
International speaker and digital media guru Monika Bielskyte, who has worked on various Ridley Scott movies, will be discussing virtual reality and designing sci-fi worlds for the entertainment industry.
The Creativate Digital Arts Festival will run alongside the popular arts festival, which takes place from next Thursday to July 1. It is aimed at exploring the space where creativity, innovation and technology meet.
The brainchild of National Arts Festival CEO Tony Lankester, the digital programme was curated by Lankester, executive producer Ashraf Johaardien and IT journalist Toby Shapshak.
Referring to digital art as the “orphan child” in the traditional art world, Shapshak said this was slowly changing.
“So many other, more established art forms are seen as ‘pure art’, including theatre, dance, and music. Digital art, like all new art forms, is still finding its way and establishing itself. But I think we’re living in an age where visual literacy and artistic appreciation are becoming mainstream,” Shapshak said.
Lankester said although digital arts had been around for a while, more artists were beginning to explore technology and the different ways it could enhance their work. In so doing, artists were able to explore new ways to reach audiences and push the boundaries of their creativity.
Lankester said the aim was to “make technology accessible and less scary, to embrace its possibilities”, and he hoped the Creativate Digital Art Festival would appeal to everyone — not just artists.
A woman in a virtual-reality headset experiences the ‘Source Fold Compositor’ interactive installation at the National Arts Festival.