Work from The Centre for the Less Good Idea

Defence of the Less Good Idea / Blind Mass Orchestra / Requiem Request

William Kentridge, João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga, Gregory Maqoma, Nhlanhla Mahlangu

As an introduction, Kentridge himself is on stage with his lecture-performance Defence of the Less Good Idea, an ode to daring to deviate from an initial idea and embracing the moment. This lecture is followed by Blind Mass Orchestra. Accompanied by South African and Dutch musicians, they play a composition by João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga. It consists of freely interpretable instructions for both the players and audience. The programme ends with Gregory Maqoma and Nhlanhla Mahlangu’s Requiem Request, which combines the South African isicathamiya choir Phuphuma Love Minus with dancers Thulani Chauke and Xolisile Bongwana in a music and dance performance based on Ravel’s Bolero.

background information

Frascati programme associate artists

For two weeks Frascati theatre will be the home of associate artists William Kentridge and Faustin Linyekula. Alongside performances by themselves and artists who inspire them, there will be a lot of work from their studios.

These presentations show the importance of Kentridges The Centre for the Less Good Idea and Linyekula’s Studios Kabako, and how they function. There will be a unique and exciting programme in which the boundaries between various artforms disappear. Also, we will be organising a series of debates, called The Welcome Table, in which themes from the presentations (that are also topical in the Netherlands) are discussed.

Kentridge and Linyekula use The Centre For The Less Good Idea and Studios Kabako to give both young and more experienced (performing) artists the space, opportunities and inspiration to work on their oeuvre. For Amsterdam they selected work using different criteria: Linyekula is giving two young artists the opportunity to test new work on Dutch audiences as works-in-progress; Kentridge selected presentations from all the seasons thus far been organised at The Centre.

Choose one or more parts of the programme and be surprised by performances that not only add a new perspective to Kentridge and Linyekula’s artistry, but also tell new stories – from intensely political reflections, exceptional childhood memories and attempts to create new myths for a new era.

 

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biographies

William Kentridge (South Africa, 1955) is internationally acclaimed for his drawings, films, theatre and opera productions. His practice is born out of a cross-fertilisation between mediums and genres. His 

work responds to the legacies of colonialism and apartheid, within the context of South Africa's socio-political landscape. His aesthetics are drawn from the medium of film’s own history, from stop-motion animation to early special effects. Kentridge’s drawing, specifically the dynamism of an erased and redrawn mark, is an integral part of his expanded animation and filmmaking practice, in which the meanings of his films are developed during the process of their making. His practice also incorporates his theatre training. Kentridge’s work has been seen in museums and galleries around the world since the 1990s, including Documenta in Kassel, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Albertina Museum in Vienna, Musée du Louvre in Paris, Whitechapel Gallery in London, Louisiana Museum in Copenhagen and the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid.

Opera productions include Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Shostakovich’s The Nose, and Alban Berg’s Lulu, and have been seen at opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera  (New York), La Scala  (Milan), English National Opera  (London), Opera de Lyon, De Nationale Opera (Amsterdam), and others. Summer 2017 saw the premiere of Kentridge’s production of Berg’s Wozzeck for the Salzburg Festival. The 5-channel video and sound installation The Refusal of Time was made for Documenta (13) in 2012; since then it has been seen in cities around the world.  More Sweetly Play the Dance, an 8-channel video projection shown first in Eye Amsterdam in April 2015, and Notes Toward a Model Opera, a three-screen projection looking at the Chinese Cultural Revolution, made for an exhibition in Beijing in 2015; both have been presented in many other cities since. Kentridge’s ambitious yet ephemeral public art project for Rome Triumphs & Laments (a 500 m frieze of figure power-washed from pollution and bacterial growth on the walls of the Tiber River) opened in April 2016 with a performance of live music composed by Philip Miller and a procession of shadow figures. William Kentridge featured at the Holland Festival in 2010 with Telegrams from the Nose, in 2012 with Refuse the Hour and in 2014 with Winterreise. In 2015, he staged Alban Berg's Lulu with De Nationale Opera (Amsterdam). Kentridge is one of the Holland Festival’s two associate artists this year.

 

João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga is a Peruvian Italian Brooklyn-born Johannesburg based artist, composer and maker of physical and virtual ‘things’ that play with reality by deconstructing it, shifting expectations of standard uses or purposes of objects and processes. Through experimentation and improvisation Orecchia explores sound’s connective capacities through both its physical properties and material preconscious properties, seeking a balance between computer technology, hand-made electronics and real world sounds like the human voice, field recordings and traditional musical instruments. Orecchia’s background as a self-taught musician is in improvised performance and composition for video art, film and theatre. His practice extends to public performance and intervention and his recently completed master’s degree in Digital Arts brought a shift towards a more spatial and physical approach to composition, where sound, vibration, space, music and audience become connected in experience. Orecchia has released several recordings, has received a South African Film & Television Award for sound design and has published in the Leonardo Music Journal and the Oxford Handbook of Sound Studies

 

South African dancer, choreographer and teacher Gregory Vuyani Maqoma (1973) is regarded as one of the most talented creative artists of his generation. He grew up in Soweto, and first started dancing in the late 1980s, as a way of escaping the growing political tensions of his birth-place. He started his formal dance training in 1990, with Moving into Dance Mophatong, and in 1994 won the FNM Vita Pick of the Fringe prize for his first choreographic creation for this company. In 1999 he was awarded a scholarship for further studies at P.A.R.T.S. with Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker. In the same year he also founded his own dance company, the Vuyani Dance Theatre. His career really took off after this and many prizes and awards followed, including in 1999, 2001 and 2002 the FNB Vita Choreographer of the Year award, and in 2006 and 2007 the Gauteng MEC Award for Beautiful Us and Beautiful Me. In 2012 he received the Tunkie Award for Leadership in Dance and in 2014 the New York City Bessie Award for Dance. In 2017 he was the recipient of the prestigious French title of Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. Maqoma enjoys collaborating with other artists, and has frequently done so, for example with Akram Khan and the London Sinfonietta, singer-songwriter Simphiwe Dana, and the theatrical creator Brett Bailey. Maqoma was an associate artistic director of Moving Into Dance Mophatong and the Dance Umbrella festival, and from 2004 to 2010 was responsible for the Dutch Afrovibes festival. Gregory Maqoma is performing at the Holland Festival 2019 in his own choreographic pieces Beautiful Me, Requiem Request and Cion: A Requiem of Ravel’s Bolero. He is also the choreographer of this year’s opening show, The Head & The Load.

 

Exceptional vocalist, composer, theater maker, gravity defying dancer and educator Nhlanhla Mahlangu is a graduate in the theory and practice of Dance teaching at Moving into Dance, Mophatong. Recently Mahlangu has turned his attention to translating his prolific local and international career on stage in to an Master of Arts by Creative Research at the University of Witwatersrand. Mahlangu can only be described as a generous interdisciplinary collaborator who excels at conjuring original, complex and contemporary work rooted in traditional forms.

Born in Pholapark Squatter Camp in Apartheid South Africa in the late 1970s, Mahlangu started school during the national state of emergency in the1980s. Mahlangu witnessed first hand the conflicts between the African National Congress, Inkatha Freedom Party and The ‘Third Force’ of the 1990s. His seminal body of work, Chant is shaped and inspired by these experiences.

In addition to his contemporary dance and musical ingenuity Mahlangu is celebrated for his embodiment of Isicathamiya, a cappella-type musical form combining vocals and movement, Mahlangu uses this practice as a way to process the history of South Africa, particularly the plight of migrant workers, these performances look to build social cohesion, heal the wounds of the past and encourage resilience in the new Democratic South Africa.

 Nhlanhla Mahlangu’s prolific practice is one of interrogation, articulation, development and research. He has gained exceptional ground through his pivotal  collaborations with luminaries the calibre of William Kentridge, Robyn Orlin, Richard Cock, Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, Sylvia Glasser, Vincent Mantsoe, Jay Pather, James Ngcobo, Victor Ntoni, Hugh Masekela, as well as his choral music and music making approaches with his Hlabelela Ensemble and Song and Dance Works. Mahlangu was a Naledi award winner for Best Choreographer in 2017.

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Credits

Defence of the Less Good Idea
performed by
William Kentridge
video editing
Zana Marović
light
Wesley France
Blind Mass Orchestra
direction, composition, Chole Kulcha Harp, analogue synthesizer, electronics
João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga
performers
João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga (electronics, director), Shane Cooper (double bass), Wiek Hijmans (electric guitar), Morris Kliphuis (French horn), Diamanda La Berge Dramm (violin), Tlale Makhene (percussion), Ann Masina (voice), Rogier Smal (drums)
video artworks
João Renato Orecchia Zúñiga, William Kentridge, Janus Fouché, Zana Marović
light
Wesley France
Requiem Request
direction
Gregory Maqoma, Nhlanhla Mahlangu
performed by
Thulani Chauke (dance), Xolisile Bongwana (dance), Phuphuma Love Minus: Nhlanhla Mahlangu (direction), Mhlakazeni Myeza, Patrick Majozi, Mqapheleni Ngidi , Siyabonga Majozi , Siphesihle Ngidi, Mbongeleni Mafutha Ngidi, Lucky Inunuyamanzi Khumalo, Wiseman Nkusheshe Mthembu, Jabulani Tshitshelimithi Mchunu, Celimpilo Mkaba Ngudi
light
Wesley France

This performance was made possible with support by