Co-founded by Amy Watson and Mika Conradie in 2015, POOL is a platform for curatorial and artistic production, experimentation and research, working with artists to support and commission new work.
Amy, a curator at Goodman Gallery in Johannesburg, and Mika, the public programmes and development manager at The Market Photo Workshop, emphasise the collaborative and facilitative nature of curatorship. POOL emerged from Amy and Mika’s investigation into the role, form and organising systems of art institutions in South Africa. They describe POOL as ‘organised as an experiment in alternative institute forms and as a site through which to stretch curatorial methodology and artistic practice through the frames of self-organising and self-instituting.’
One of POOL’s ongoing research projects, called (rhythmanalysis) from within, without and against, began with POOL undertaking a residency in Madagascar in 2016 and considering the life of islands, focusing on Madagascar’s floating relation to the African continent. Working from French Marxist philosopher Henri Lefebvre’s proposition of the rhythmanalyst as a figure that is ‘capable of listening to a house, a street, a town, as one listens to a symphony opera’, POOL explored rhythmanalysis as a curatorial methodology, inviting musicians and artists to collaboratively and collectively respond to time – catching it, dropping it or holding it. This resulted in a series of jazz performances with musicians Silo Andrian and Kesivan Naidoo, and visual artists Eduardo Cachucho, Naadira Patel, Nelisiwe Xaba and Molemo Moiloa and Nare Mokgotho (the two halves of artist collective MADEYOULOOK). This project will continue to have iterations throughout 2018.
POOL’s 2018 programme includes an exhibition of Uriel Orlow’s ongoing project Theatrum Botanicum, a body of work that grew out of a research residency Orlow undertook in Johannesburg in 2014. Next year will also see a project by Abri de Swardt and a project with artists Simon Gush and Félix Mula that has iterations in Maputo and Johannesburg.