Stephen Hobbs (Johannesburg, Southafrica)
Video art in South Africa has had something of a late start compared to the rest of western contemporary video practice.
While experimental work was produced during the 70's and 80's, the medium, was not taught in schools. In most cases works produced were the outcome of artistic experimentation and documentation.
In the past 10 years there has been an increased exposure to video, film and new media production. This has resulted in the development of new curricula in fine art schools developing new media labs across the country, and several South African artists on the international scene are receiving substantial recognition, such as Minette Vari, Tracey Rose, Robin Rhode, Berni Searle and so forth.
Stephen Hobbs will present a selection of video works the artist collective "The Trinity Session" (of which he is a member) collected over the past years.
The Trinity Session has been an important pioneer in the process of researching, collecting and collating various portfolios of video art and new media works in South Africa, and presenting these collections within the international art arena.
Stephen Hobbs lives and works in Johannesburg, which he views as "an African metropolis of perplexing contradictions and unpredictable developments in the social, urban environment." Johannesburg was once the powerhouse of South African business, its Manhattan of glittering skyscrapers, but in recent decades corporations have moved into the suburbs to escape high crime rates. After Apartheid laws that forbade Blacks from living in the city were scrapped, many made the inner city their home. Today, Johannesburg no longer has the feeling of a policed White capital that it once had; it is clearly an African city. It stands as a powerful index of transformation - and is a site for innumerable transformative moments.
Hobbs draws on urban vocabularies of images and signs to point to cities' transformative qualities, which are often invisible and ineffable. He has worked with video, photography, and installation to "record" such "intersticial ensembles" as human interactions, meeting points, or merely the traces of sites of transformation in city environments.
From 1994 to 2000, Stephen Hobbs was the director of The Market Theatre Galleries, one of Johannesburgs leading galleries, and presented numerous exhibitions of other South African artists.