Courtesy Center for Historical Reenactments, Johannesburg
“After-after Tears” explores the political dimensions of institutional suicide through reconsideration of temporality, duration, and history. Reflecting on the platform’s recent death, Gabi Ngcobo (Center for Historical Reenactments [CHR] member and faculty at Wits School of Arts in Johannesburg), in collaboration with artist Kader Attia, will contemplate how staging an institutional suicide can not only be a form of refusal but also a means to desire a different existence, one that enables the platform to haunt obsolete systems and ideologies that continue to condition contemporary life. A two-part response will expand upon various logics underpinning creative acts of refusal. Khwezi Gule, Chief Curator at the Soweto Museums, will delve into the crisis of meaning around ritual, sacrifice, and transcendence in addition to notions of self and collective preservation. Sohrab Mohebbi, writer and Curatorial Assistant of Public Engagement at the Hammer Museum, will consider measures of time in music that produce shared frames of reference in order to imagine ways institutions could also be synched to a different time signature.
“After-after Tears” is organized as part of CHR’s Museum as Hub residency and gallery presentation by the same title (on view from May 22–July 7, 2013). The title references recent terminology related to after-burial gatherings that have become popular within township youth culture in postapartheid South Africa. CHR’s Museum as Hub project follows “We are absolutely ending this,” a twelve-hour event in Johannesburg on December 12, 2012, that staged the performance of the platform’s death. This act ended the collective’s previous activity—a decision to not simply conclude a single phase but rather to question the way institutions (in the art world, political arena, or otherwise) ossify around methodology, purpose, funding structure, and form.
Propositions is a public forum that explores ideas in development. Each two-part seminar introduces a topic of current investigation in an invited speaker’s own artistic or intellectual practice. Over the course of a seminar session, these developing ideas are responded to, researched, and discussed to propel them forward in unique ways.
Born in 1970 into an Algerian family in Paris, Kader Attia spent his childhood between a Parisian banlieue and the neighborhood of Bab el Oued in Algiers. He studied both Philosophy and Fine Art in Paris and spent a year at Barcelona’s School of Applied Art La Massana in 1993. His work tackles the relations between Western thought and extra-Occidental cultures, particularly through architecture, the human body, history, nature, and culture. Attia’s first solo exhibition was held in 1996 in the Democratic Republic of Congo. At the 50th Venice Biennale (2003) and the Lyon Biennial (2005), he presented the work “Flying Rats,” an installation of life-size birdseed sculptures, of children being devoured by a flock of pigeons. Recent exhibitions include “Construire, Déconstruire, Reconstruire : Le Corps Utopique,” a solo show at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Documenta 13 in Kassel, Germany, “Performing Histories (1)” at MoMA, New York, “10 ans du Projet pour l’Art Contemporain,” Centre Pompidou, Paris, the 4th Moscow Biennial, Moscow, “The Global Contemporary Art World after 1989,” ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany, and “Contested Terrains,” Tate Modern, London.
Khwezi Gule is a curator and writer based in Johannesburg. He is currently Chief Curator at the Soweto Museums, which includes, the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum and the Kliptown Open Air Museum. Prior to this position, Gule was Curator of Contemporary Collections at the Johannesburg Art Gallery, where he organized a number of significant exhibitions including: Meschac Gaba’s “Tresses and Other Projects” (2007), Kay Hassan’s “Urbanation” (2008), and Tracey Rose’s “Waiting for God” (at Johannesburg Art Gallery  and the Bildmuseet, Umeå, Sweden [2011–12]). Gule has also co-curated and consulted on exhibitions and projects, including “Olvida Quien Soy” (at CAAM, Las Palmas, Spain, 2005), “Beauty and Pleasure” (at Stenersen Museum, Oslo, 2009), and the “Multipistes Project” (multipistes.org, 2008–09). Gule has lectured internationally and has written for numerous publications. Most recently, he contributed to the Artists’ Congress (convened by Chus Martinez) for Documenta 13 and to the catalogue for “The Rise and Fall of Apartheid” (curated by Okwui Enwezor and Rory Bester).Gule is also a founding member of a collective of creative intellectuals called the Dead Revolutionaries Club (deadrevolutionariesclub.co.za).
Sohrab Mohebbi is a critic and curator living in Los Angeles. He is cofounder of Bureau des Services sans Spécificité, Geneva. Mohebbi was the 2010 recipient of a Montehermoso Research Grant and the 2012 recipient of a Warhol Foundation Art Writers Grant for the blog Presence Documents. He is Curatorial Assistant at the Hammer Museum and contributing editor at Bidoun magazine. Mohebbi is a graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College, New York.
Gabi Ngcobo is an independent curator, creative researcher, and educator based in Johannesburg. Ngcobo curated “DON’T/PANIC” (2011), a curatorial project that coincided with the seventeenth UN Global Summit on Climate Change (COP17) in Durban, South Africa. She was recently selected to be the first POOL Curatorial fellow, and her exhibition “some a little sooner, some a little later” will open at the Zurich POOL/LUMA Westbau space in June 2013. Her collaborative projects include: “Second to None” (2005) at Iziko South African National Gallery, “Olvida quen soy/ Erase me from who I am” (2005) at CAAM, Canary Islands, Las Palmas, “Titled/Untitled” (2008), a curatorial collaboration with Cape Town–based collective Gugulective, and “Scratching the Surface Vol. 1” (2008) at AVA Gallery, Cape Town. Ngcobo co-curated “Rope-a-dope: to win a losing war” (2010) at Cabinet, New York, “Second Coming, a curatorial collaboration” at Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, and “Just How
Cold Was It?” at 6-8 Months, a project space in New York. As cofounder of the Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR), an independent project based in Johannesburg, Ngcobo curated “PASS-AGES: references & footnotes” at the old Pass Office in Johannesburg and contributed to the ongoing project “Xenoglossia, a research project,” culminating this year in an exhibition in Johannesburg. Ngcobo is a graduate of the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, New York. She is faculty member at the Wits University School of Arts, in Johannesburg.