Festival of desire entertains and educates

12 October 2012 | Story by Newsroom

It was the coming together of art, academia and activism. The Festival of Desire held at UCT on 5 and 6 October, organised by a sub-group of the Youth Research Forum, a multidisciplinary grouping of academics interested in youth research, showcased a multimedia exploration of several facets of youth, sexuality and desire.

Assoc Prof Adam Haupt at Festival of Desire DJ Eazy at Festival of Desire
The arts: Assoc Prof Adam Haupt launched his new book at the Festival of Desire. Spinning heads: DJ Eazy and other provided entertainment.

The group, led by deputy vice-chancellor Professor Crain Soudien and comprising Dr Marhie Booyens, Associate Professor Ana Deumert, Associate Professor Adam Haupt, Dr Ellen Hurst, Dr Marion Walton and Lucina Reddy and Cal Volks of the HIV/AIDS Institutional Co-ordination Unit, collaborated across faculties and units to bring together researchers, activists, UCT students and staff and young people from Ikamva Youth centres across the Cape Metropole to consider the driving question: How do young people construct identities through expressions of sexual and/or consumer desire?

Alternating performances with papers, the format of the conference was an attempt to foster dialogue by breaking from the usual approaches to conferences and symposia, to build bridges between the work of artists, activists and scholars in order to establish common ground for participants' interest in aspects of youth culture and youth development, says Volks.

Hip-hop acts such as Driemanskap and ex-Godessa members dovetailed with talks from filmmaker Kurt Ordeson and Hannah Botsis, Dr Benita Moolman and Dr Nadia Sanger of the Human Sciences Research Council. At the same time, an exhibition of installations constructed by UCT first-year fine-art students speaking to the issue of sexual concurrency captured viewers' attention'.

Each presentation addressed themes relating to desire, such as consumerism versus authenticity, relationships between desire, power and identity, and the construction and reinforcement of stereotypical masculinities and femininities.

The conference also saw Haupt launch his new book, Static: Race and Representation in Post-Apartheid Music, Media and Film (HSRC Press, 2012). Haupt spoke about the reproduction of asymmetries of power in these businesses and the response of artists.

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