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.
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Programme 6 of The Centre for the Less Good Idea’s online offerings is a showcase of installation works produced for the Pepper’s Ghost as well as extracts of our moments of making. For the season we have had three preparatory workshops for the Season, in which ideas were tested, developed, abandoned, started again, and rehearsed. The live performances of Season 7 have now been scheduled for October 2020. Season 7 includes 40 performances, films, and installations by the 60 invited artists. We look forward to welcoming you in person in Johannesburg later in the year. Physicality, identity, creation, and interpretation are a few of the themes explored across this programme, all inspired by the nature of text and language. Metamorphosis Conceptualised by | Bronwyn Lace Original Cinematography & Editing by | Noah Cohen Music by | Bongile Lecoge-Zulu Cinematography by | Duško Marović, SASC Video Editing & Compositing by | Žana Marović Witnesses Conceptualised by | William Kentridge Cinematography by | Duško Marović, SASC Video Editing & Compositing by | Žana Marović Library of Babel Concept,Video Editing & Compositing by | Janus Fouché Concept & Research Contributions by | Jane Taylor Cinematography by | Duško Marović, SASC Beyond the Pale Conceptualised by | Žana Marović & Duško Marović, SASC Composed by | Nhlanhla Mahlangu Performed by | Xolisile Bongwana, Thulani Zwane, Siphiwe Nkabinde, Nhlanhla Mahlangu, Zama Maphumulo, Muzi Shili, Madla Sibanyoni, Sibusiso Shozi Cinematography by | Duško Marović, SASC Video Editing & Compositing by | Žana Marović Text | Dave Mann Photo Credit | Zivanai Matangi
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.
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Today’s LONG MINUTE is a chair waltz with William Kentridge in studio. Last week we premiered our online programme for Season 7 at The Centre for the Less Good Idea. The full programmes are available for viewing on www.lessgoodidea.com With our physical ability to be with one another removed for the time being the Centre continues to look for ways to pursue the incidental discoveries we make in the process of sharing our thinking and practices and responding to one another collectively and collaboratively. The ‘less good idea’ is carefully developing into a philosophy and approach that we understand more clearly each day. The understanding comes through practice and importantly through trial and error. A willingness to embrace play, failure and the experiment is at the core. In early 2020 we launched SO, the Academy for the Less Good Idea. In the building of the past 7 seasons the Centre has hosted intensive incubators for testing ideas and developing performances collectively. Over the past four years we have devised strategies to gently break our habits of holding on to the first idea so that we might push ourselves from the theoretical to the embodied CHAIR WALTZ Conceptualised and performed by | William Kentridge Video Editing & Compositing by | Žana Marović The Long Minute is curated by | Bronwyn Lace #williamkentridge
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.