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PALEOTECH (article first published : 2004-02-16)

Paleotech, an installation by Khwezi Gule, marks the final instalment of the 2003 Young Artists’ Project, an NSA initiative that supports new work.

Khwezi Gule is an artist, teacher, researcher, activist, writer and graduate of Technikon Natal (now Durban Institute of Technology). He has worked for a publishing company as an illustrator and editorial co-ordinator. In the last two years he has also lectured Art Theory at the DIT. From his student days he has been actively involved in and served as a member of arts organisations as well as organising art events. He was also one of the founder members of Third Eye Vision. In addition to arts organisations he has participated in other civil society organisations.

The installation foregrounds his interest in “lapsed” or old, discarded technology, and he mines the possibility of creating fresh imagery through the manipulations of such things as found 8mm and 16mm film. This is then digitally remastered and presented with current technology such as DVD and video projection. The term “Paleotech”, used as the title for his exhibition, refers to redundant technology, or even spaces that are not adapted to or accustomed to new technology. Infused with irony, the works include some musings and “interventions” on found reels of retro porn.

“Why am I fascinated with old technology?,” asks Khwezi. “Because it is the graveyard of our dreams. What’s high-tech today is tomorrow’s low-tech. Technology reflects, through its products, our hopes, fears, desires and our sense of self. So why do I use 8mm film? Firstly, I wish to revitalise old technology, breathe new life into it, make it speak again. Secondly, to redefine the images on the original piece of film, to bring new meaning to it. In other words, to re-open the dialogue between the old and the new, past, present and our future. We seem to see ourselves much clearer from a distance. Old technology allows us this distance. Our fetish for technology reminds us of that which we lack. It is a portrait of our society in evolution.”

Paleotech opens in the NSA Gallery on February 17 at 18h00 and closes on March 7 at 18h00. This exhibition was made possible by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund.




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