“Change Agent (Media arts & International Development)” by Dr Keith Armstrong

  • ©, Keith Armstrong, Change Agent (Media arts & International Development)


    Change Agent (Media arts & International Development)




Artist Statement:

    In 2016-17 a group of South African residents invited Keith Armstrong to live and work in their informal settlement as an ‘embedded media artist’, collaborating with them to invent radical ways of improving their housing stock. ‘Change Agent’ reflects upon the unexpectedly powerful role of media arts practices within this unusual transdisciplinary collaboration. His collaborators were informal settlement residents, Qala Phelang Tala, led by Dr. Anita Venter, PIAD (The Program for Innovation in Artform Development), Vrystaat Kunstefees Festival and the University Free State. Project ‘Re-Future’ involved him contributing creative process, resources and ‘media arts thinking’ to this key international development issue – that focussed upon ‘shack replacement’ strategies for residents whose futures were routinely compromised by poor living conditions, poverty, inequity, unjust laws and lack of stable tenancy. Significant outcomes were unique low-cost creative dwellings built principally of mud and waste materials, and three media-art infused public community gathering events for sharing learnings and fostering intercultural understanding (called ‘Merakas’). These activities led to increased governmental support, further completed building projects and university sector & foreign foundation engagement, allowing them to secure both local artists and doctoral students to develop the project further during 2018-20.


    Support: Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Lab Research Centre, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia & Embodiedmedia