"As many more individuals of each species are born than can possibly survive; and as, consequently, there is a frequently recurring struggle for existence, it follows that any being, if it vary however slightly in any manner profitable to itself, under the complex and sometimes varying conditions of life, will have a better chance of surviving, and thus be naturally selected. From the strong principle of inheritance, any selected variety will tend to propagate its new and modified form." Charles Darwin
DUST MITES (2013) stems from taking an ironic look at popular English expressions, “the fabric of society” and being “cut from the same cloth”. The series calls into question inherent contradictions within formations of identity or belonging - questioning unjustified treatment cast on to those who find themselves on the outskirts.
Creatures that represent DUST MITES within cities, nations and cultures are created predominantly from grey blankets, commonly associated to the incarcerated, the poor and the homeless within Southern Africa. Ironically these ‘natural organisms’ suggest a need to clean or purify that which irritates, is undesirable or simply does not belong.
The DUST MITES are placed in what could be suggested as organic situations; moments where love is shared, food is enjoyed and affluence is expressed. The organic manifestation of DUST MITES appear against fabricated city backdrops, housing complexes and institutions described as multi-cultural, cosmopolitan or secular and captured through site-specific performances and/or displayed through ‘Digital Fabrications’ projected onto walls around the city.
The performances are conceptualised for audience participation through its site-specific interventions
Hi!jACK was a collaborative interdisciplinary project amongst friends and best described as a union of fabric, performance, spoken word, moving pictures and still images. The collective was formed in 2015 by Lesiba Mabitsela, Thabiso Nkoana, Mandlatixo Shonhiwa and Neo Mokgosi. The project was interested in shifting identities shaped by neo-colonial capitalist systems in post-Apartheid South Africa.
The project has since been discontinued.
"From the darkness, an alien wakes to find conflicting images of a rainbow nation. Seeing lots of colours representing this rainbow, sans a pot of gold, he at once decides to go in search of the treasures."
This body of work explores the often faceless, marginalised
citizens of South Africa, often treated as alien inhabitants in
their own city reflecting on the gaze of controlling powers.
We ask: has the rainbow nation ideology (Meant to bind a fractured society post-apartheid) been Hi!jACKed? Used and promoted, particularly in the Western Cape, as a veil? - strategically blinding and silencing the poor. Is this colourful cloth laid down only to serve the few?
Images: Neo Mokgosi