The exhibition features work from Unisa Staff members, Third Level students and maquettes for the developing Unisa Science Campus Art Walk.
07/12/2021 until 11/02/2022


Kirsty Swanepoel | For the Love of Paris Green (2021). Photographic multimedia collage, 42 x 214 cm.



The exhibition features work from Unisa Staff members, Third Level students and maquettes for the developing Unisa Science Campus Art Walk.

When the familiar becomes strange and the strange becomes familiar, we encounter uncanny stories. Making art is about searching for the tensions between known and unknown, between ordinary existence and intriguing events that write strange new stories into our lives. This strangeness is connected to a history of making strange, as can be found in the concept of the uncanny/Das Unheimliche by Sigmund Freud (1919) and developed by psychoanalysts (Lacan) and feminists (Kristeva). In each of these cases we find an anxiety in real and authentic life, an anxiety not with the unfamiliar, but with the normal. When the familiar is ruptured, we encounter the uncanny, but when it is continuously reified, like in The Stepford Wives, we find it there too. This concept has been extended to the notion of the Uncanny Valley in animation, video games or robotics producing disturbing feelings of antipathy where we should feel empathy, like encountering a doppelgänger or impostor. In these interactions, things we are at ease with are placed in unexpected perspectives, and it can evoke narrative of disquiet, mortality awareness or simply stories where we become part of our fantasies.

In How to make art at the end of the world, A Manifesto for Research-Creation, Nathalie Loveless (2019:8) writes “I continue to see research-creation as one of those cracks (to paraphrase Leonard Cohen) that lets the light shine in, through its experimental and dissonant forms of practice, research, and pedagogy”. This statement contains the challenge for creative practice to unsettle traditional approaches and disrupt what we take for granted.

The idea of the uncanny has also been linked to discourses of dispossession, “unhomely” locations (Nayar 2010) or domains, rendered through strategies of sensory ambiguity. Being “out-of joint’’ with ideas can also foster critical thinking and bring new appreciation for our world – the rush of blood when your heartbeat quickens, when social subversion shifts of power relations (Kokoli 2016) and new narratives find expression. The uncanny also creeps into spaces where our relationships with nature change or become broken, where learning that a once comfortable part of life is harmful to the environment, forever alters our perception of our everyday actions. Even our own consciousness cannot be trusted to always deliver us safely beyond the gulfs of grief, depression or mania. This exhibition offers reflection to on these uncanny stories.

Chatelle Essex-Ferreira | State of control (2021) Digital collage

The following artists are participating:
Staff members
•    Ania Krajewska
•    Nathani Luneburg
•    Johann Opperman
•    Hetta Pieterse
•    Kabelo Maja
•    Paul Cooper and Marc Duby
•    Nombe Mpako
•    Elfriede Dreyer
•    Gwenneth Miller
•    Sango Filita


Third Level students

•    Ryan Botha
•    Kirsty Swanepoel
•    Gerda Letellier
•    Sue Clark
•    Chantal Essex-Ferreira
•    Johanna Botha

Collaborative projects will exhibit maquettes and proposals for the Unisa Science Campus Art Walk

•    Sue Clark and Kabelo Maja
•    Dionne MacDonald, Hetta Pieterse and the Andrew Lindsay community team
•    Miguel Carlos, Kris Van’t Hof, Celia De Villiers and Norberto Jorge
•    Emma Willemse and Heinrich Joemath from Spier Arts Trust
•    Alicia Hindson and Lushen Moodley
•    Marian Hester and Mbangiso Babaso
•    Linda Hanekom
•    Reinhard Sonntag
•    Ingrid Bolton
•    Teboho Lebakeng and Thelma Louw
•    Manu Manjesh Lal and  Alex Trapani

Gwenneth Miller. | Mycelium Series 1, 2021. Ultrachrome inks on Hahnemühle Paper. Framed in Oak 260mm x 327mm


Ryan Botha | Under the Words (2021) Photography


Ryan Botha | Incubate (2021) Digital multimedia


Chatelle Essex-Ferreira | State of ownership (2021) Digital collage


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