The Re-Future Project
'Re-Future’ seeks to ‘embed' contemporary artists within international development scenarios, in order to understand how their creative capacities can best contribute towards positive social and ecological development outcomes. The project will develop a mobile art experience that helps build networks of 're-futuring’ throughout some of the poorest informal settlements in the Free State of South Africa. It is a research collaboration between the University of the Free State's Centre For Development Studies, Qala Phelang Tala (QPT/Start Living Green!), The Program for Innovation in Artform Development and a team of South African 'change agents’, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Flanders Foundations.
Re-Future initiates a series of interdisciplinary, intercultural works designed for, and situated within, the townships of Bloemfontein/Manguang, South Africa, focused at the intersection of sustainability, community development and creative action. Working in collaboration with University of the Free State's Centre For Development Studies, Anita Venter's NGO Qala Phelang Tala (QPT/Start Living Green!) and with South African 'change agents', the project seeks to both re-image and also bring additional perspectives to QPT's significant community-empowering, grassroots 'post-natural' building processes. It will achieve this through a mobile art experience that helps build new networks of 're-futuring’ throughout some of the poorest informal settlements in the Free State.
The Re-Future project therefore necessarily strays far away from the traditions of conventional art practices, seeking instead to become a platform that encourages others to participate in grass roots ‘re-futuring’ (giving time back to the future). More too than simply a tactic for help spreading the good word (even though assists that need), the project becomes an artist-initiated, yet community-controlled process, designed to travel far beyond traditional art world sites. Moving like a travelling fair on a small truck - from post-natural building site to site - local audiences are then invited to both experience the innovation of each site, get involved in practical talks and workshops and experience moving image artworks and experiences, that stress empowerment, criticality and future sustainability
Interdisciplinary, experimental creative actions such as these, when carefully construed, have proven to be viable ‘break-through’ methods with which to test new paradigms, ideas & options. Building on years of work in this area this project gives us unparalleled opportunities to both contribute to & learn from other cultures whose practices are both different & potentially more sustainable than our own - & to then re-think & re-apply those sustaining knowledges to our own ‘change-politics’ led creative practices in Australia.
Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD) - Vrystaat Kunstefees/Arts Festival/Tsa-Botjhaba, Ricardo Peach, Angela De Jesus, Johannes Stegmann Art Gallery, University of the Free State, South Africa, University Free State, Centre Development Support, University of the Free State, South Africa, Qala Phelang Tala, Anita Venter, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Flanders Foundation, Thabang Mofokeng, HOT Rural Workers Collective, Botshabelo Township, South Africa, QUT Creative Industries
Re-Future is presented at part of the Programme for Innovation in Artform Development (PIAD), an initiative of the Vrystaat Art Festival and the University of the Free State. Kindly supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and The Flanders Foundation. Keith Armstrong is supported by a part time senior research role at QUT Creative Industries.