The Centre for the Less Good Idea is an interdisciplinary arts hub located within the Maboneng Precinct. Founded by William Kentridge in 2016, the Centre brings together theatre makers, musicians, fine artists, animators and directors for two yearly seasons. Through a constant process of working and reworking their ideas at the Centre, these creatives are allowed the freedom to find the "less good idea". This is the secret behind the Centre's success and part of why it has become a go-to for arts and theatre lovers in the city.
The Long Minute
The Centre was due to host their Season 7 showcase in early April 2020. However, as COVID-19 regulations came into effect it became clear that this was not to be. But rather than cancel the showcase all together, the Centre announced that they would be debuting their first ever online season. Filmed at the Centre shortly before the national lockdown was implemented, Season 7 saw an amalgamation of performance, installation and free-flowing physical experimentation broadcast to the world via Facebook Live and the Centre's website. You can still watch a few of the season's programmes online for free if you haven't yet tuned in.
Thanks to the success of their Season 7 online showcase, The Centre for the Less Good Idea has continued to curate a variety of online content. Throughout April and May, the Centre has shared numerous videos on their social media platforms, engaging daily with artists about their working practice during lockdown. This collection of online videos has subsequently become known as 'The Long Minute'.
Curated by the Centre's animateur, Bronwyn Lace, this collection of videos reflects a shift in the way the arts community is making, sharing and consuming new material. Additionally, the series highlights the collaborative and interactive methodology exemplified at the Centre, allowing artists to explore the "nature of performance, the language of loss and the relationship between audience member and performer" at a safe distance.
As founder and mentor at the Centre, William Kentridge has responded to these "alternate realities" too, by creating 10 new minute-long pieces for the series. "These miniature works are interwoven into this 29-minute representation of the online action. They hold potent threads in much of Kentridge's larger body of work and seminally reveal what he brings as a mentor to the processes at the Centre," Lace says.
Kunsthaus Bregenz Art Museum
As the arts move online, the international community grows closer together than ever. Proving that their work is relevant not only to South African audiences, but the global community as well, The Centre has been invited to exhibit part of 'The Long Minute' series at Kunsthaus Bregenz Art Museum in Austria. After months of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the museum will be reopening on Friday, 5 June 2020, welcoming visitors back with a brand-new showcase titled 'Unprecedented Times'.
Curated by Thomas D. Trummer, the exhibition features artists such as Helen Cammock, Annette Messager, Rabih Mroué, Markus Schinwald, Marianna Simnett and Ania Soliman, as well as Kentridge's body of work created as part of 'The Long Minute' series. All the works created for the exhibition were made in lockdown or in anticipation of present events. As a result, the showcase provides a reflection of these unforeseeable and unprecedented times.
The 'Unprecedented Times' exhibition will be unlike any other before in that there will be no opening event. Instead, visitors will be allowed inside the museum for a limited time on opening day. Of course, seeing that international travel is completely off the cards for us, online viewing will have to do. Join Kunsthaus Bregenz on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube for interviews with exhibiting artists and a sneak peek at the new exhibition.
You can also follow The Centre for the Less Good Idea on Facebook to experience 'The Long Minute' series in its entirety online.