From the beginning of January to February 24, Keleketla! implemented an important ‘art’ residency with Pittsburg-born artist Kevin Clancy. Kevin worked tirelessly at the Keleketla! project space, building a portable unit with the mobility to manoeuvre around the inner-city and schools. The majority of the plans for the residency fell off the table due to the adaptation of the project to it’s immediate surroundings of Jozi, giving way to organic yet engaging encounters, happenings and creations.
Art residencies come in all shapes and sizes, with expectations and complexities. It’s really nice when an artist can have the space to reshape the actual implementation. Kevin arrived armed with lots of ideas, and a space to reframe his thinking in response to his environment. As a result, a range of people learnt quite a lot. His thinking – imagining a different reality – became a catalyst for many more ideas, a platform for expression.
Titled Portable Utopia, Kevin’s residency was about imagining a different city. The catalyst for imagination was a mobile library with delightful and catalytic components such as a foldout table and podium, wind chime and an inflatable geodesic dome. The environment created by the installation saw youth reflecting on their thoughts about place, from Good News in Sebokeng to re-imagining inner city in Johannesburg. A mobile library provides a valuable contribution to thinking about access to, consumption of and the use of information.
Perhaps what made Kevin’s residency legendary is the introduction of SKAFTIEN, a meal based micro grant initiative for innovative, experimental projects for Johannesburg artists. The first SKAFTIEN, which sold out all the tickets, raised R6000 for the Hillbrow-based Boitumelo Project. Please visit the SKAFTIEN website for more information.
Photographs by Brett Rogers, Kevin Clancy, Mohlomi Kocha, Richard Roodt and Malose Malahlela
Keleketla! Library is grateful to Kevin and everyone who contributed to the success of Portable Utopia.