Penny Siopis: Obscure White Messenger (2010)

Penny_Siopis_OWM_1

Penny Siopis, Obscure White Messenger, 2010, still image, 8mm film transferred to DVD, sound, colour. Copy of the video courtesy the artist and the Stevenson Gallery (Johannesburg and Cape Town).

A murky, watery world enters my field of vision and an octopus appears. I observe its pink whiteness as it moves upwards and downwards again. I hear music:  plaintive, as though a lament. The image of the octopus is obscured by sprocket marks, and the effects of light and time on obsolescent film. An act of violence is narrated: ‘but yes I did stab him right through’.

If you can make it I am presenting a paper on work by the South African artist Penny Siopis at the Archives Matter Conference, 2nd and 3rd of June 2016 at Goldsmiths, University of London. The conference is hosted by the Centre for Feminist Research. The conference is free and you can book here on Eventbrite.

Keynote: Professor Gloria Wekker. For more info see here

My paper, to be presented on Panel 3, Trauma, Sound and Temporality, on 3 June, is titled:

Disorientation: Archival Encounters and Allegories of History in Penny Siopis’ video Obscure White Messenger (2010). 

The paper is drawn from my PhD dissertation which explored how women artists enter into dialogues with historical events in South Africa through the medium of video.

Penny_Siopis_OWM_21

Penny Siopis, Obscure White Messenger, 2010, still image, 8mm film transferred to DVD, sound, colour. Copy of the video courtesy the artist and the Stevenson Gallery (Johannesburg and Cape Town).

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