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Digital Arts Stories from our Programme

Gysin-Vanetti: Turning constraints into creativity

Swiss artists Andreas Gysin & Sidi Vanetti, who work together as Gysin-Vanetti, where invited to participate in the Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival as guest artists and workshop facilitators. They joined the four residency artists at BKhza Gallery in Braamfontein, Johannesburg for 10-days of coding, designing, making and mentoring.

Here, the duo share an account of preparing a work to bring to South Africa and of their time in Johannesburg.

See more of Gysin-Vanetti's work

The project Linea was born from a series of constraints: when we first were contacted by Tegan Bristow of Fak’ugesi African Digital Innovation Festival we agreed to ship an installation we made some time ago. We’d prepare a few boxes (five in all) to ship from Switzerland to South Africa trough specialised art handlers… but it turned out way pricier than initially expected and we also anticipated trouble at the customs control (because of electronics).

So a few weeks before the start of the festival we realised we didn’t have a project to exhibit. Tegan also asked us to come up with a workshop idea for the festival audience… we were slowly starting to get nervous because time was running out: we had to bring an installation and materials for a workshop and all the stuff had to fit in our suitcases – plus clothes for 10 days.

For a prototype of a client-project we did a few months before (we are also designers) there were about twenty RGB LED matrices lying around in our studio. They don’t take up much space and are also very light: perfect! We just needed to buy individual controllers and adapters and we could use them for an installation, and also for the workshop!

Impressions of Johannesburg by Andreas Gysin

We shared our idea with Tegan and she agreed: we quickly ordered the necessary controllers and asked her to source the (heavier) power units directly in Johannesburg. When we arrived in South Africa we spent the first days of our stay polishing the idea and programming the individual animations.

We received very good support from the festival for the mounting (look: no wires!) and during the days of the set-up we shared the gallery space (and the nights) with the four residency artists; it was a wonderful experience!

Linea from Andreas Gysin on Vimeo.