Innovation, creativity, diversity and artistry are the watchwords driving the Museum of African Design (MOAD), a rather unusual space that embraces the avant-garde. (Image: Museum of African Design) MEDIA CONTACTS • Aaron Kohn Director Museum of African Design +27 84 951 2060 RELATED ARTICLES • Art auction at Wits to dazzle • Gallery: Constitutional Court • Soweto Fashion Week supports African design • Steampunk chugs along in South Africa • Madiba’s life captured in artMelissa Jane CookInnovation, creativity, diversity and artistry are the watchwords driving the Museum of African Design (MOAD), a rather unusual space that embraces the avant-garde.Located in a refurbished 1930s art deco building in the Maboneng Precinct, on the eastern edge of the Johannesburg CBD, Moad is a pan-African platform for contemporary craftsmanship. Opened in October 2013, it fuses modern inner-city vogue and the harsh grit at the centre of the City of Gold. Once a factory that churned out parts for the mining industry and later a garage for vehicle repairs, the neglected old building was falling into disrepair.But the high ceilinged warehouse has since been transformed into a bespoke contemporary space to house and exhibit Africa’s most avant-garde design ideas. The renovated gallery is 2 500 square metres in size, and is believed to be the first of its kind on the continent. “I actually didn’t realise that Moad was a first on the continent until well into the planning phase,” explains Aaron Kohn, the director of. “[Maboneng] Precinct is, in many ways, South Africa’s Design Neighbourhood, so the spot made sense for a number of reasons.”Maboneng Precinct is an urban rejuvenation venture.“More interesting perhaps, was that museums in Africa are largely dedicated to preserving local culture and heritage – and when they’re competing with buyers in New York and Paris, they’re limited. Then galleries are more interested in going to Frieze or the Armory and selling abroad, than in showing within the continent. So Moad has always consciously been interested in creating a space that artists and museums would be excited to collaborate with, within the continent.”Kohn adds: “The goal for it is really to become a cultural hub, a place to showcase what’s [happening] on the continent that’s innovative, but also to encourage that kind of thinking, design and creativity to young South Africans and to people visiting Johannesburg at the same time.”Refurbished art deco buildingIn creating Moad, the developers added an extra floor, bathrooms and a cocktail bar, but kept the building’s integrity largely intact. “Raw floors, metal bars and scaffolding ramps still dominate the three-level space, creating a rough-edged atmosphere that echoes the identity of the building and its urban surroundings.”The space will continually be refined, but Kohn maintains that the goal is to leave it as original and industrial as possible. “It looks like it will end up being a maker-space/hacker-space to teach design, engineering and innovation. There are a number of incubators and tech-focused co-working spaces in Johannesburg and around Africa, and we are involving as many people as we can to build this initiative.”It has already hosted exhibitions, with visitors agreeing that it is more than a gallery space. It dedicates itself to uncovering, encouraging and sharing design growth through large-scale unified temporary exhibitions.Kohn, an American, explains that he connected with Maboneng because he spent a lot of time in the area when he was an exchange student, and while co-founding African Lookbook with Phil Sandick. Lookbook is an online presence “for discussion revolving around oral histories and products in an online shop”. It connects designers and artists in Africa with shops, galleries and curators around the world.“I ended up here with a strange obsession with Africa, which started off thinking I could be the white saviour from America. Y’know, do a lot of good,” Kohn says. “And along the route of disillusionment, I started hanging out with a lot of artists from across the continent. I started studying African art and spent a lot of time in Johannesburg.”He has no formal training in design, but has a passion for African studies, which he studied first in New York, and as result became interested not only in design, but specifically African design.“African Lookbook was created out of a desire to not only provide contemporary African threads online for purchase, but to also build a space for the important narratives behind those creations. Part documentation of African artistry, part online shopping gem, African Lookbook is garnering attention from folks interested in unique products with a story,” Kohn explains.Maboneng real estate“The building that houses Moad has been called Moad since it was acquired in 2011 by the Maboneng Precinct, but it was only about a year ago that I started talking to them about how to turn it into an operational museum.”Kohn says that in future, the museum will work with different people for every exhibition. Moad is not interested in becoming a collective institution that stores art or wastes any budget on insurance and acquiring fees, he stresses. “We want to focus on the most exciting and relevant exhibitions that we can put on with works from across the continent.“I think that’s a new model that a lot more institutions around the world are looking at in terms of not having necessarily conventional museum staff, not having a permanent collection. It allows an institution that’s interested in the contemporary to stay contemporary.”He aims to get South Africans interested in Moad, with the hope that they will become more interested in museums in the rest of the country. “South Africa has no shortage of museums, yet they’re essentially neglected. This is part of a global debate where we have to think of new ways to get people through our doors; we have to change the perceptions of museums.”He concludes: “It’s fitting that a design museum be in an old factory, because that is where things are made. On the one hand, it’s challenging because there are no white walls, but on the other hand, the space is rugged and we can do pretty much anything we dream up inside.”ExhibitionsIn October 2013, Moad presented the annual showcase of the Southern Guild design collection. Over 200 works from more than 100 of South Africa’s leading designers and artists provided a detailed and contextualised view point on collectable, limited edition design.The following month, Google teamed up with the makers of KitKat chocolates, Nestlé, to create an exhibition of 3D printed chocolate sculptures for the Chocnology exhibition. It was intended to celebrate the launch of Google’s latest operating system.Moad’s first full-length exhibition, Native Nostalgia, runs until 9 February. A group exhibition, it is an exploration of nostalgia in five African countries – Senegal, Nigeria, Algeria, Benin and South Africa. The works on show tell the stories of bygone eras, but positions them firmly within present day narratives. “Through architecture, construction, cartography, photography, communal archives, and historical re-enactment, each artist and participant has a conversation with a past through which they did not live by juxtaposing design elements with those of today,” explains the gallery.Moad is at 281 Commissioner Street, Johannesburg.
The Environmental Protection Agency will present a webinar from 1 to 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on November 10 to provide information about residential renovation, repair, and painting on properties built before 1978.The agency said the session will cover a range of topics relating to lead-safe practices in its Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, including who is subject to the requirements, compliance guidelines, how to become a certified lead-safe firm or contractor, enforcement fines, and changes to the rule that took effect on October 4.The EPA noted that contractors, landlords, and property managers are subject to the lead-safe RRP rule, although individual homeowners and tenants doing work on their personal residence are exempt.The EPA announced its first enforcement action under the rule in May, for a Maine-based landlord’s failure “to contain dust and debris generated by lead paint removal activities during a repainting project in October 2010.” Two workers hired by the landlord used “power equipment to remove lead paint from an exterior wall of a residential building without using any containment for lead-containing dust and debris,” the agency said in its announcement.Click here for registration information. Participation will be limited to the first 1,000 registrants, who will receive an email confirmation with a link to the webinar site and a dial-in number. There is no registration fee for the session, although long-distance phone charges will apply.
It has been said that the best way to learn an art form is through imitation. But, the true way to master an art form is to mock it.Documentary filmmaking is no easy task. It takes years of work honing your chops and practicing the skills needed to produce, shoot, and edit meaningful stories, that engage and excite documentary audiences.And while the documentary industry might be growing in terms of micro-ized content, it still takes filmmakers with a keen understanding of what makes documentaries tick. From finding interesting subjects, to crafting concise narratives, to shooting intense, personal moments, all the elements that make a good documentary can also be found in the genre’s sardonic cousin — the mockumentary.So, using some of the most popular mockumentaries from the past, let’s take a look at some of the intrinsic lessons you can learn and apply to your documentary endeavors.The Characters Make the StoryImage from Best in Show (via Warner Bros.).Just like a mockumentary, your documentary project(s) will only be as good as your subject(s). Yes, sometimes your subject is a concept, cause, or event, but it’s the characters therein that make the story. Best in Show, for example, on the surface is about the Mayflower Kennel Club Dog Show in Philadelphia. But, it’s really about dog owner characters who are the main subjects.Similarly, a documentary like American Movie is about the making of an independent horror film, but really it’s about the main lead Mark Borchardt and an eccentric cast of characters, in small town Wisconsin. The trick for both is to create, find, and bring your unique characters to life on the screen.But Conflict Drives the NarrativeImage from This is Spinal Tap (via Embassy Pictures).Because they are fiction and often scripted, mockumentaries will always have the advantage over documentaries in terms of developing intriguing conflict and strong narrative arcs. Not that real life isn’t ripe with conflict, but mockumentaries get the luxury of manufacturing the drama.Take This is Spinal Tap, for example, directed by Rob Reiner and written by its ensemble cast. The mockumentary film lampoons heavy metal culture and the classic rock-style documentaries that seem to exist for every band ever. And while it’s about the music, the inevitable conflicts that arise between band members over their rise and fall are what drives the narrative.Prioritize Intimate ScenesImage from What We Do in the Shadows (via Paramount Pictures).Documentary filmmaking can often be an art of finding a delicate balance between personal privacy and capturing true intimacy. Mockumentaries don’t actually have to deal with filmmakers being too intrusive of making its subjects uncomfortable because it’s dealing with professional actors and fiction.What We Do in the Shadows makes great use of this verite-esque style of filmmaking. It employs a number of techniques to suggest that the documentary crew is sneaking around and finding creative ways to capture intimate moments by shooting through windows, relying on audio recordings, or filming from extremely far away.Documentary filmmakers deal with much more difficult practical and ethical concerns, though. You should never exploit your subjects or document them without their consent. And, even if they do allow it, get their wishes in writing in case they change their mind.Unless you’re doing expose-style work, only capture intimate moments with previous consent. However, if the subjects agree, keeping space and finding the similar methods to capture private scenes, without obstructing them or distracting them, can become some of your most powerful documentary moments. Balance Dialogue and Reaction ShotsImage from Borat (via 20th Century Fox).For practical purposes, documentary filmmaking comes in all shapes and sizes. Some docs shoot single camera and make sporadic use of lighting or external equipment. While others use multiple cameras and feature high production quality interviews and motion graphics.One mockumentary that truly captures the more DIY documentary style would be Borat — or at least based on the segments featuring him on Sasha Baron Cohen’s Da Ali G Show. For an HBO produced program, the show works hard to hide its production values with camcorder quality footage and small crews.However, if you watch it, Borat is a masterclass in balancing character interactions and reaction shots. Most of the show’s humor comes from the authentic reactions from the non-actors being interviewed. Similarly, for Cohen’s Ali G and Bruno characters, the crew puts as much of the focus — if not more — on capturing reactions and responses to the main subjects’ dialogue and actions.Follow the FunnyImage from Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (via Universal Pictures).It’s odd to think that the mockumentary genre has predominantly been used to create comedy. Conversely, documentaries are often thought to be a more serious (or somber) art form that shines a mirror upon society with the hopes of eliciting change. However, as the medium has developed and grown, humor has found its way alongside it. Documentaries themselves have found more ways to entertain.The Lonely Island’s Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping is one of the latest in a line of parody mockumentaries that satires recent pop culture phenomenons, placing them in a comical light. You could even say it’s still meant to explore, or poke fun at, things that society actually takes seriously.Documentaries are no different. For the ones looking to provide information in order to help bring about change, part of the appeal to audiences can be expressed through the same funny principles.Cover image from Mascots (via Netflix).For more documentary filmmaking tips, tricks and advice, check out some of these articles below.The 6 Types of Documentary FilmsHow “American Vandal” Shows Us the Future of Documentary FilmThe 5 Best Places to Pitch Your Documentary Film ProjectsThe Disaster Artist: Editing A Film About Making a FilmMake Your Documentaries Matter with Awe-Inspiring Material
A secret Maoist camp was busted by Central Reserve Police Force personnel in Niyamgiri hills region under Kalyansinghpur police station limits of Odisha’s Rayagada district on Thursday.According to police sources, 15 gelatin sticks, 15 detonators, one Improvised Explosive Device in the form of a ‘tiffin box’, batteries and wires were seized from the spot. The Maoists using the camp could not be traced as they had managed to escape taking advantage of the hilly jungle terrain, said the sources.During their continuing anti-Maoist search operation, the CRPF personnel had unearthed this secret Maoist camp inside the jungle near Tuluba village in Niyamgiri hills region. The explosives seized from the spot suggested that the Maoists were planning to plant them to target security forces.