Experiential, experimental, and still unfolding…
These are the words that come to mind when thinking about BadEase, a multidisciplinary project space and residency based in Johannesburg. Made up of three main elements – an in-house kitchen (Plump Kitchen), an online radio station (ChiNdanga! Radio), accommodation and exhibition space (BadEase Residency).
A number of projects will be run through the three core elements, pushing what it means to think through iterative processes and expanding circulation networks within Johannesburg and beyond. The first of these projects is artkitcheLAB, a weekend experience involving the launch of their space and pop-up restaurant that seeks to merge food and art. The kitchen explores dishes from different regions thus inviting visitors to expand their palettes and understanding of kitchen-restaurant experiences. This is accompanied by sonic journeys put together and shared by musicians present in and working through the space. The soon-to-be-launched radio as with the other aspects of BadEase projects- will play with form, making crossovers between auditory disciplines and practices with which to think through languages that express varieties of literature, music and other oral creativities.
The setting and the residency create a space for creatives to develop their work and their business model. Artists, researchers, chefs and the likes from around the world are invited to use the space when on residency to create, exhibit and sell work through the BadEase circuit that will consist of an online store, as well as other galleries and venues throughout the city. The residency also allows for a structuring of a creative community that is fluid, reciprocal and in recognition of the desire for making and connecting that falls outside of traditional creative ecosystems. The desire is to mould an environment within which to try out new ideas, to play with display and audience engagement, building and to eventually stretch across digital and physical localities in meaningful ways. This initial conceptual foundation allows for the interrogation of independent creative expression.
The intentions for fluidity, reflexivity and avoiding categorisation, require a willingness to fully develop what is meant by collective practice as opposed to simply claiming an ethos of collectivity or collaboration out of mere convenience. This is balanced with an awareness and implementation of practical elements to ensure their model is sustainable as it unfolds. Those who engage with the work are drawn to the demand to look at the space for what it presents and represents and to think about the practicalities and desires for their own development.
As their artkitchenLAB concept develops and other projects come to be, there is a desire to create a language that translates their individual and collective intentions. Undoing, reworking and pushing traditional frameworks and conventions for display is one aspect. Recording and thinking through archival gestures is another. Here one sees an attempt to critically engage with how to historicise contemporary work as it happens, pointing to a recognition of how narratives are constructed and the need to take ownership of the way in which art forms are preserved. This is just the beginning of what BadEase has to offer to themselves and to other creatives.
Follow BadEase on Instagram to find out more about their weekend experiences and the other aspects of their work.