NOTHING!
AND IT GOT BIGGER, AND BIGGER, AND BIGGER …

THE ROCK BITER
The NeverEnding Story

UNFESTIVAL?

Allow me explain:

Remember The Nothing from the 1984 movie, The NeverEnding Story, directed by Steven Spielberg? The Nothing is the overarching antagonist and primary threat of the 1979 German fantasy novel (or rather, the first half of the novel) Die unendliche Geschichte and Spielberg’s 1984 film adaptation of the same name. Yes, the one with the catchy theme song by Limahl.

Imagine for a minute you’re an artist or a creative (no need to imagine if you are one), well that’s what COVID-19 is: the overarching antagonist and primary threat to your livelihood, which is dependent on social closeness, not social distance …

That’s why an unfestival …

Because very little makes sense right now.

By its very nature, a festival of nothing makes no sense.

Festivals are celebrations of traditions, cultures and things we love.

But the pandemic came and turned everything on its head. Hence, this unfestival.

This is not a celebration.

This is a tribute.

This is a memorial for so many of the things we love … which this lockdown has robbed us of …

WHAT IS UJ’s UNFESTIVAL?

It’s really simple. It’s not a festival. A not-festival. Get it?

In partnership with long-standing BASA member, the University of Johannesburg, we saw the opportunity to collaborate on this symbolic concept for the benefit of students in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture and, through our partnership Artist Relief campaign, for the sector as a whole. The actual and projected impact of COVID-19 will have a particularly devastating effect on the creative sector. We recognise that the widespread cancellations of festivals, concerts, productions, exhibitions, events and cultural programmes, locally and internationally, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is a Sword of Damocles, hanging over the livelihoods of artists globally. We know that very few arts and culture organisations will have adequate reserves to sustain them through these uncertain times. So, UJ’s UNFESTIVAL partnered by BASA is an opportunity to show up, even if you can’t — by buying a ticket to nothing (well … maybe something, you’ll have to buy a ticket to see) …

WHAT DO I GET WHEN I BUY A TICKET?

Nothing.
No. No kidding.
You get zip. Zero. Nada.
But maybe you get to make a difference.

Go on …
Do the right thing … You know you want to 🙂

non-concert 19:30

06–16 JUN 2020

SILENCE

SILENCE

A Grand Night for Nothing

Included here, and to mark the absence of UJ’s annual Dean’s Concert, ‘A Grand Night for Singing’, from UJ Arts & Culture’s planned programme for 2020, this annual event was established by Professor Federico Freschi, the former Executive Dean of FADA, in aid of academically deserving but financially needy students in FADA. The concert has served as an opportunity for audiences to support the academic journey of the youth.

Book Tickets

un-theatre 18:00

06–16 JUN 2020

BALAMBILE

BALAMBILE

Would you like a glass with that whine?

Conceived and curated by multi-award-winning creative Jade Bowers, BALAMBILE: Would you like a glass with that whine? is about COVID-19 medical materials, goods shortages, food parcels, artists’ relief grants, and an irate middle class complaining on Facebook about the lack of designer masks readily available for purchase, for when they take their dogs and children on their Level-4 walks between 6am and 9am. This is about the things that we can’t do; but more importantly, the things that we can. How about we complain a little bit less? How about we show up even if we can’t?

Book Tickets

un-dance 15:00

06–16 JUN 2020

SAUDADE

SAUDADE

/saʊˈdɑːdə/

An exploration of feelings of longing, melancholy, desire, and nostalgia, characteristic of the Portuguese temperament. South Africa is home to the largest Portuguese-African population. They are highly active within the South African community, both politically and economically. According to SA History online: “Portuguese expansion into Africa began with the desire of King John I to gain access to the gold-producing areas of West Africa. The trans-Saharan trade routes between Songhay, and the North African traders, provided Europe with gold coins used to trade spices, silks and other luxuries from India.” This piece has absolutely nothing to do with this complicated history, but all of us feel the kind of longing, melancholy, desire and nostalgia encapsulated by this beautiful and unique Portuguese word.

Book Tickets

un-exhibition 15:30

06–16 JUN 2020

SMILE

SMILE

Mona Lisa

Veteran UJ Art Gallery curator Annali Dempsey thought it was interesting that Da Vinci anticipated the technology that would be used in future pandemics. “For instance, he depicted a Mona Lisa wearing a gas mask, another with a latter-day medical mask, and her hoarding objects similar to today’s toilet paper. Some of the Mona Lisa’s unkempt hairstyles and rounded features allude to hardships suffered by women during periods of the plague,” Dempsey explains. “It is known that Da Vinci survived the bubonic plague in the late 15th century while living in Milan, Italy. Up until early 2020, what has been unknown is the effect these pandemics had on Da Vinci’s portraiture,” she adds. Dempsey, however, remains cryptic with regards to the form this work will take on the UNFESTIVAL programme, merely insisting that, “All will be revealed in Mona Lisa’s SMILE.”

Book Tickets

silent reading 20:00 to 20:01

06–16 JUN 2020

STIL

STIL

BylenVuurpyl

A 48-hour, uninterrupted, sustained silent reading series by a collective of artists from the Free State, called BylenVuurpyl. This deeply intimate and disturbing digital work has never won any awards. Founder of BylenVuurpyl, Jaco Kotze, is also Chairperson of the Free State chapter of the International Dyslexia Association (FSIDA), and explains that the piece was inspired by his experience as a child at school. “One of my teachers tried to teach me to read silently by placing a pencil between my lips and forcing me to read by myself in an empty classroom. STIL aims to evoke that experience for the audience,” says Kotze. How? You’ll have to buy a ticket to find out.

Book Tickets

un-experience 10:00

06–16 JUN 2020

NDILINDILE

NDILINDILE

Artist Unknown

An online work about the annoyance and frustration of being stood up on a first date, being stranded at a taxi rank, or perhaps waiting in a doctor’s room for an appointment with a doctor who no longer works at the practice (see, you made your booking online). Translated from isiXhosa (on Google!), the word ndilindile variously means ‘I am waiting’, ‘my friend’ or ‘I hope’. “If we got the translation wrong, please let us know, and sincere apologies in advance. We weren’t expecting to present this groundbreaking experience this year, but given the circumstances we couldn’t delay an opportunity for you to not be disappointed. Please purchase a ticket, because it’s for two really great causes. Go on, do the right thing, even if it’s annoying,” says Lakin Morgan-Baatjies who heads up marketing at UJ Arts & Culture.

Book Tickets

un-seance 10:00

06–16 JUN 2020

PSYCH

PSYCH

Escape from Reality

Moderated by Swiss celebrity curator Hans-Ulrich Obrist, and presented by two famous guest speakers who will Zoom in from their permanent residence at Westpark Cemetery. The University of Johannesburg is at the forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and artificial intelligence (AI). Through unique processes, the dead will be brought to life to present their papers and Obrist, in the form of a hologram, will moderate. This un-event is so advanced you would have to be in the Matrix to experience it.

Book Tickets

un-funny 15:00

06–16 JUN 2020

GAG(GED)

GAG(GED)

Artist to be announced (or not ...)

Inspired by something said in a social media post by a well-known comedian. What do cancelled and postponed events mean for the business of comedy in South Africa? Who is this comedian? Where was this social media post? What did it say? Does it matter? Does any of it matter? What matters most to you?

Book Tickets

THIS IS THE new reality, because never before has technology ‘connected’ people the way it is currently doing now, and at UJ, which is why we have been embracing the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. UJ embarked on a blended learning initiative a while ago, and our online teaching and learning platforms already yield significant benefits when layered with face-to-face instruction. I believe that when COVID-19 lockdown is lifted, our current and prospective students and staff will have had a better experience and understanding of the online teaching and learning, in such a way that they still enjoy a measure of intimacy and immediacy.

PROFESSOR TSHILIDZI MARWALA
Vice-Chancellor and Principal: University of Johannesburg (UJ)

www.uj.ac.za www.arts.uj.ac.za #FollowYourHeART

COVID-19 HAS FORCED the world to unite and fight against this invisible enemy. The challenge and the fight are real as the virus impacts lives, livelihoods, the economy, and highlights the inequalities that need to be addressed. The BASA Board of Directors acknowledges the continued challenges artists are subjected to. We celebrate their resilience and appreciate the role that they play in provoking thought and uplifting the energies of the consumers of the arts.

CHARMAINE SOOBRAMONEY
Chairperson: Business and Arts South Africa NPC (BASA)

www.basa.co.za #BIZARTZA