• 02:27 Structures of power, structures of meaning
  • 04:54 How I became an artist
  • 08:13 Layers of meaning
  • 12:30 Terror realism
  • 15:27 Terror, redefined
  • 21:25 Art and politics
  • 26:55 Violence, aesthetics
  • 31:47 Triggers for change
11/10/2016 43' 48''

Kendell Geers ran away from home at fifteen, leaving behind the oppressive environment of a highly authoritarian working class Afrikaans family. This early experience also led him to develop a deep mistrust of power structures in general, and eventually ended up shaping his ideas about art and the way he connects concepts through his practice. In the mid-eighties, just before going into exile for political reasons, he was a member of KOOS, a post-punk band with a cult following founded by artist Neil Goedhals and actor Marcel van Heerden: an explosive mix of dissent, poetry, and the rejection of a system that was clearly on the brink of collapse. “Any form of power for me is something that needs to be questioned and challenged. Today I’m still concerned with that same question of how power manifests and how an artist may intersect with those structures of power.”

Involved in the anti-apartheid movement from a very young age, his work reflects a context with many layers of conflict, and acerbically points out the social and racial imbalances of South African society and its colonial history. At first, in his early works along the lines of readymades and conceptual art – always shocking and provocative (like his bomb threat that ended up at Documenta) – and later turning towards exploring the spiritual realm and altered states of consciousness.

SON[I]A talks to Kendell Geers about terrorism, linguistic violence, Africanness and socio-political tensions before and after apartheid.

Music: excerpts from Phill Niblock's "Disseminate"

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Son[i]aKendell Geers