Francois Knoetze

Virtual Frontiers, 2017 

VR experience for HTC Vive, Oculus Rift or Mobile VR

Virtual Frontiers (2017) was created over two months on location in Grahamstown. The work takes the idea of the frontier as its starting point, probing its connotations both as a historical concept and as a technological one. The series comprises six short Virtual Reality films shot in over 60 locations around Grahamstown using a 360 degree camera. The viewer, placed first- person, is transported through a dizzying carousel of scenes: a boxing gym; a church service; a wildlife auction; a local quarry. These scenes, when viewed in conversation with one another, bring to light some of the idiosyncrasies of Grahamstown and make apparent the contrasts of multiple experiences of one small town.

The films are a loosely-woven phantasmagoria of interviews, candid footage, re-enactments and improvised performance. Historical references tear sharply through the present with the insertion of archival footage and sound recordings, as well as old photographs that have been cut up and digitally collaged. Here, neat, linear narratives have no place and temporal lines are

blurred. The work hovers at the frontier between representations of the past, experiences of the present and imaginings of the

future. It straddles liminal zones; it lives in grey areas; it embraces hybridity. 

IMAGES

VIDEO LINK

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Francois Knoetze is a Cape Town based performance artist, sculptor and filmmaker known for his sculptural suits and experimental video art. He completed an MFA at Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) in 2015. His work has been featured in solo exhibitions at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown (2015 & 2017) and in group exhibitions at the Lagos Photo Festival (2015); Somerset House, London (2017); IKOB Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgium (2017); Wiener Festwochen, Vienna (2015); Gallery MOMO, Cape Town (2018); Kunsthal KAde, Amersfoort (2018); and Dak'Art: African Contemporary Art Biennale (2018). He was the 2016 laureateof the Nafasi Art Space – Artist-In-Residence Programme (Dar es Salaam); and invited to attend the OMI International Art Center Residency Programme (New York) in 2017. In 2015 Knoetze was featured as one of Mail & Guardian Newspaper’s ‘Top 200 Young South Africans’. 

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