Start date: 02/04/2022
End date: 03/04/2022
Location: Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden
Kirstenbosch

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It’s a vibrant and energetic biennial interdisciplinary festival, designed to challenge and extend the public’s experience of live art in a non-commercial environment and make accessible the work of visual and performing artists who explore new forms, break boundaries, flout aesthetic conventions, tackle controversy, confront audiences and experiment with perceptions.

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10h00 Sibabalwe Ndlwana – Dancing Botanical (Marquee Lawn)

10h30 Melanie Boehi – Talking Plants (Useful Plants, Dell & Cycads)

11h30 Karin Bachmann & Ayesha Price – Arranging Stories (Marquee Lawn)

14h00 Ends

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10h00 Chanelle Adams – Ghosts of Ravintsara (Camphor Trees) (Camphor Avenue)

10h30 Colin Meyer – Bow (Display kiosk near Useful Plants)

10h45 Ilze Wolff – Die saadkamer en die kloktoring/The seed room and the bell tower (Camphor Avenue)

11h45 Daniela Muller – How to get a mole out of a garden (Marquee Lawn)

12h30 Ends

DANCING BOTANICAL

Dancing Botanical is a live, immersive demonstration that explores dyeing with local plants, and how the hue, chroma and value of potential colours changes depending on the dye technique, mordants used, pH of the dye bath, water quality and other variables. In the process of creating a community-cloth, using local plants, through eco-printing and botanical dyeing techniques, participants will learn how to create and maintain a simple non-toxic botanical dye recipe that can be recreated at home.

Sibabalwe Ndlwana

Sibabalwe Ndlwana is a weaving artist, textile designer and researcher based in Cape Town. Her practice and research focuses on creating re-imagined material systems through exploring novel ways of reviving, adapting, archiving and integrating the ancient craft of indigenous African weaving traditions and material dyeing methods into her own specialisation in hand-woven cloth. She has created custom cloth for interiors and furniture, public performances and fashion designers. She is a founder of textile design studio Ingyeyo textiles, and co-founder and organiser of Loomlife with Nkuli MlangeniBerg, designer and founder of The Ninevites.Β 

ARRANGING STORIES

People often use flowers to express emotion – to a lover to show love, to new parents to convey joy, to sick folks to give hope, or to the bereaved to commiserate. Flowers can carry messages that are impossible to put into words. In Cape Town, nobody knows more about this than the Adderley Street flower sellers who have provided flowers to the city’s residents since the nineteenth century. Every arrangement tells a story. At Kirstenbosch, plants have been associated with meanings in a different way. In the framework of Western botany, they have been removed from their local social worlds and put into a universalising taxonomic system that erases the local epistemologies and ontologies attached to them. Yet the botanical garden is full of plant material for storytelling. Arranging Stories brings the practice of storytelling with flower arrangements from the Adderley Street flower market to Kirstenbosch. Flower seller Karin Bachmann and artist Ayesha Price will explore stories about the history of Kirstenbosch, including histories of slavery and forced removals, stories of resilience and survival, and stories of possible futures in an African Anthropocene. Visitors are invited to participate in flower arranging storytelling sessions during which Bachmann and Price will demonstrate how to make flower arrangements and floral sculptures that tell personal stories about history, place and belonging.

Karin Bachmann & Ayesha Price

Ayesha Price is an artist, lecturer and educator with a strong interest in Cape Town’s social, political and environmental histories. She has facilitated many public art and storytelling projects, in particular for the District Six Museum. She facilitated the making of plant sculptures for the 2019 “Walk in the Night”, organised by the Emancipation Day Coalition to commemorate the emancipation of enslaved people at the Cape. Karin Bachmann is a third-generation flower seller who, together with her sister, co-owns a stall at Cape Town’s Adderley Street flower market. She facilitated the public flower arranging workshops at the Adderley Street flower market that were part of the “Storytelling in the language of flowers” project at the 2018 ICA Live Art Festival.

TALKING PLANTS

Have you ever wanted to talk to the plants at Kirstenbosch? Ask them how they live, what they do all day and how they experience the botanical garden? Then join the inaugural workshop of the Centre for Plant Interpretation in which plant interpreters, including artists, scientists, conservationists, healers, anthropologists, designers, historians, writers and scholars of African metaphysics try to decode the language of plants. The workshop starts with a discussion in the new Centre for Plant Interpretation, situated in the Useful Plants Garden, and participants will then proceed to converse with plants and trees in the surrounding garden sections.

Melanie Boehi

Melanie Boehi is a historian and research associate at the Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research (WISER) in Johannesburg.

CAMPHOR AVENUE: A GARDEN OF GHOSTS

Chanelle Adams is an artist who leads haunted walks in natural history institutions, most recently (September 2021) through Marseille’s parc zoologique. At Kirstenbosch, she has developed a site-specific intervention around Camphor trees (Cinnamomum camphora), which grow near the garden’s main entrance, along what is known as Camphor Avenue. This haunted walk down Camphor Avenue is part meditative experience, part ghost tour. Legend has it that the trees, indigenous to Asia, were part of Cecil John Rhodes’s plan to plant trees from all over the British Empire at Kirstenbosch. The camphor tree garden is haunted by continuums of violence resulting from Rhodes’s activities in Southern Africa, which connect to other stories of colonialism that are buried in the botanical garden’s soil. Yet there’s more to the camphor trees than their association with Rhodes reveals. In many places, including Madagascar, camphor trees and their oil have been used as a potent medicine for a long time. Taking these other epistemologies and ontologies into consideration, Adams revisits questions of colonialism, power and liberation.

Chanelle Adams

Chanelle Adams is a researcher, essayist and artist based in Switzerland. Her practice brings together themes of healing and haunting with medicine and history. Adams was awarded a Fulbright grant for her research on the past, present, and future of Madagascar’s pharmacopeia. She holds a BA from Brown University and an MA from the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales. Her work has been published and hosted by Black Quantum Futurism, Danspace 2020 Platform, the Drift, Bitch Media, VANSA, and The Funambulist, among others

BOW

Collin Meyer takes it upon himself to share and teach the bow as an instrument, and to explore the folklore connecting the use of the instrument – after the days of hunting, animal preparation and butchering, cooking and consuming, the huntsman would turn his bow around and use it to make sound and music.

Collin Meyer

Collin Meyer aka Collin the Bushman is a Cape Town-based musician and poet who shares β€œreal living stories that need to be told” using guitar, mouth-bow and voice. In addition to performing, he facilitates indigenous music workshops. He identifies as Khoi and through his work allows people to experience and understand Khoi culture as living people.

DIE SAADKAMER EN DIE KLOKTORING / THE SEEDROOM AND THE CLOCK TOWER

Ilze Wolff has been documenting the works of Bessie Head through plant stories and Head’s relationships with the plants and seeds she cared for in her home in Serowe, Botswana. Wolff wrote Home ground: the garden as a site of colonial critique for the Architectural Review and wishes to expand on this, using Kirstenbosch as a site of intervention. Wolff’s performance lecture, based on her research into Bessie Head and her garden, will connect to broader questions about land, and in particular, the 1913 Land Act.

Ilze Wolff

Ilze Wolff is an architect working in Cape Town. She co-directs Wolff Architects with Heinrich Wolff, a practice that is concerned with developing an architecture of consequence.

HOW TO GET A MOLE OUT OF A GARDEN

How to get a mole out of a garden is based on text from the thread of a hobby garden bulletin board. The online discussion comprises advice, stories of success and failure, and users who frequently intervene to declare the mole as an unavoidable part of the garden. (One of the pieces of advice in the thread is to stick bottles into the ground… At the end of the dashboard discussion, the user who opened the thread remains unsuccessful.) At first, the conversation seems banal and even absurd. But it is interesting how strangers – connected through a hobby – and the moles become pitted against each other. The mole is the mysterious catalyst of the heated conversation – absent except for the traces they leave behind in the form of little hills. The users try to learn from each other’s experience but ultimately fail in their desire to control nature and have their artificial lawn even and spotless.

Daniella MΓΌller

Daniela MΓΌller is a Zurich-based artist and curator. Many of her works address issues of multispecies relationships, domestication and the production of landscapes. Her film Concerning Cats won a 2019 studio grant from the City of Zurich. She has done various international residencies, including at Das weisse Haus in Vienna (2021), CitΓ© Internationale des Arts in Paris (2020) and Apartment Project Berlin (2018), and has participated in numerous international exhibitions. Most recently, she participated in the group shows Regattatata International in Paris (2021), and in the Printed Matter Virtual Art Book Fair, New York (2021).

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