Ephemeral Gumboots

Cobi van Tonder

Ephemeral Gumboots: Dancing the Rhythm of Change

Date 9/28/05

Affiliation Artist & Musician, Johannesburg


The history of Gumboot dance illustrates the potential for culture to transform social aggression. Cobi will present Ephemeral Gumboots, a hybrid media artwork/musical instrument that takes South AfricanGumboot dance and extends it as an interface into an electronic music-making system. How does the music of Ephemeral Gumboots reflect the media age in South Africa? How has the artist or facilitator, responded (or succumbed) to the politics and hegemony of technology?

For Deleuze and Guattari, music "both simulates space and creates it literally, on the dance floor, in headphones, on the Internet" (Andrew Murphy, 2000). The refrains of dance music provide territories for the body and mind to move and travel. Cobi will reflect on the contemporary impact of technology and her personal experience of it as she presents her project from a socio and political perspective. She will also invite composers and dancers to use her system for further creative exploration.


Cobi van Tonder, a.k.a. OTOPLASMA, is a South African composer, producer and performer specializing in interactive electronic music and other digital media. She has worked with various dance choreographers, video artists and actors. She also produces commercially for cinema, television, radio and mobile media. Cobi van Tonder holds a degree in Music in History and Society (University Of The Witwatersrand ); a National Diploma in Light Music (Technikon Pretoria) and a National Certificate in Musical Theatre (Technikon Pretoria). She was born in Pretoria and grew up in a small town in the North Western countryside of South Africa. During 2005, she is ZERO ONE/IDEO artist-in-residence in the Bay Area.

-- As of 9/28/05

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