It was in 2008 that we became more urban than rural for the first time – a long haul over the 6,000 years since the proto-city-states of Mesopotamia, and a milestone in our collective, accelerating trek to the city.
Coast traces this most pivotal of arcs in humanity’s history, from faraway village to high-rise density and post-industrial sprawl. Simultaneously and in parallel, the film depicts the primordial cycle of procreation, from childhood through young adulthood and romance to eventual parenthood.
It does so through the portrayal of ordinary events over seven days in seven spectacularly scenic locations around Cape Town, from first light to nightfall, without dialogue or voice-over, with simple locked-off shots of undirected action in scenes from everyday life, in the manner of the Lumières, harking back to the origins of cinema.
A line of ants, the Paris metro, university campus protests, the notion of the “machine of the world” in an epic 16th century Portuguese poem. In a wide-ranging discussion of her work with filmmaker Victor van Aswegen, Paris-based artist Katja Gentric draws together images, observations and fictions, exploring and reflecting on aspects of order, disorganisation, and the nature of complex systems.
With a Doctorate from the Université de Bourgogne, Gentric straddles the spheres of art history, theory and practice, and her work, multilingual and multifaceted, spans continents and cultures.
The film documents components of her body of work and the creative and conceptual thinking underpinning it, and offers a tantalising and fascinating glimpse into the world and the mind of a contemporary artist.
The 2017 edition of the mid-yearly Global Trends report, released annually in June by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, makes for grim reading: 65.6 million people forcibly displaced, having fled their homes in the face of persecution, conflict and violence, more than half of them children; 10.3 million newly displaced in 2016, equating to 28,000 people every day.
A 90-minute retrospective of the oeuvre of artist Emma Willemse whose work over the past twenty years has centred on the themes of home and the loss of a home and includes moving, magisterial pieces, the film is a profoundly empathetic engagement, refracted through art, with the traumatic experience of the forcibly displaced.
Through scenes of the artist at work, cinematic set pieces presenting her work, and interviews with academics, gallerists and critics, the intriguing relationship between materiality and meaning is explored: how we imbue objects with meaning in the artmaking process and in life, and how the layers of meaning can be unpacked.
Filmmaker Victor van Aswegen holds a law degree and two postgraduate degrees in economics from three South African universities, including a cum laude Masters in Economics from Stellenbosch with a thesis on a topic in mathematical micro-economics, as well as an MPhil in Economics and Politics of Development from Cambridge, with a thesis on an aspect of the economic development of Mauritius, completed on a scholarship won after being selected as the best economics student in South Africa in a national competition.
His career in finance over the past twenty five years has encompassed industrial finance, leveraged buy-outs and private equity in South Africa and Switzerland, consultancy, and analytics and business intelligence.
He is the founder of Cape Town-based Moving Image Technologies, a high-end digital film production and post-production facility, and CineSouth Studios.