“Museum as Hub: Center for Historical Reenactments: After-after Tears,” 2013. Exhibition view: New Museum. Photo: Mbali Khoza
During public Museum hours on Sunday June 23, Donna Kukama, artist and member of the Johannesburg-based platform Center for Historical Reenactments (CHR), will enact a series of performances that explore the politics of linguistic, cultural, and historical translations. The investigation spans South Africa’s recent past, including the historic 1976 Soweto Uprising in which students protested the teaching of certain subjects in Afrikaans and more recent eruptions of xenophobic hostility. These current and unresolved narratives are referenced through the use of audio, objects, text, and costume and will engender new readings of the works currently in the CHR presentation on the Fifth Floor. Throughout the day, Kukama explicitly embodies the physical and existential labor of translation provoking the public to participate, other times asking them to only observe. And in some instances, gestures will go unnoticed altogether.