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Nest Collective and Jake Michael Singer

September 20 - November 5 2017


The Nest Collective, a group of 10 multidisciplinary artists living and working in Kenya shown together with Jake Michael Singer, an emerging artist from Johannesburg.


The Nest Collective is a small army of 10 thinkers, makers and believers living and working in Nairobi. Jake Michael Singer is an emerging multidisciplinary artist from Johannesburg.  Each with their own distinctive approach, Nest Collective and Singer explore what it means to be African in a given time and place - how they are seen and unseen, what they can and cannot do, where they can and cannot go, and how varying African landscapes shape the human experience.  The Nest Collective delves into mythological expression while Singer questions our sense of reality in hyper-digital environments.    


“Wall of Men”, a 2014 series in progress by the Nest Collective, depicts the fable of a clan who built a wall of Men to protect themselves from Kua - the Death Spirit. Every seven days Kua would visit to claim one soul. Because of the wall, she could not enter the village and instead took one man from the wall, creating a gap. The people of the village drew lots to pick who would fill the gap, until the daughter of Duneh -the wealthiest man in the village - was chosen for the duty. Duneh refused to release his daughter, causing a crisis in the village. The community chose to close the gap by closing the wall in to eliminate the gap. From that day forward, no one agreed to fill the gap, despite Kua creating new gaps every seven days. In the end, the wall was too small to surround the village, and Kua claimed all their souls.


Another Nest Collective body of work entitled, “When We Are/When We are Not” depicts the story of four unsettled sojourners who seek a freedom beyond the frame. Whether in outdoor vistas, opulent interiors or candlelit, meditative moments, in solitude or gathered together, the regal demeanor of the four belies a definite, dignified discontent, and their simmering intentions remain un-shared and unexplored. Through the eyes of the elegant wanderers, the collective explores the secrets of insatiable black African ambition and a growing restlessness with the trappings of prescribed earthly liberty.


Jake Michael Singer's Promises of the City is a five-part photographic-epic performed in a cyclone of plastics and found objects, on the rooftop of a building in Johannesburg. Burst is one of the five digital memories of this event, which we are left with.


Sometime after the Fourth Industrial Revolution, human-entities navigated a frenzied, hyper-digital Johannesburg, encountering friends and foes. Is this a revolution of destruction or salvation? Escape or capture?  From an inversion traditional post-production techniques we see chromakey figures panic in a seemingly photoshopped environment. Our sense of reality segues into ambiguity with respect to the body-in-space and the photograph-as-document. Singer attempts to bridge the chasm between the performed and the photographed, the physical and the digital.  He is interested in how our agency is transformed when the body is landscape and architecture is algorithm. How will this African metropolis adopt the Fourth Industrial Revolution?