Asymmetries : Iterative Cinematic Cartographies

  • Nduka Mntambo Wits School of the Arts


The article functions as an exegesis for the installation project on the city titled Asymmetries (2018/19/20). The installation and its various iterations is conceived as a making-thinking-spectatorial research project on the urban premised on strategies developed through modes of artistic research. The project explores various forms of contemporary film practices in order to explore and re-imagine city life beyond the confines of teleological conceptions. In particular, the writing and its iterative explorations relates to cinema aesthetics and its political confrontation with the mono-focal conception of cinema and its projection norms. The work invites the reader momentarily suspend the position of the passive spectator and assume the position of a collaborative explorer or experimenter in various acts of cinematic cartography. The suspension of the inactive spectator position might lead to the re-examination of equivalences between the reader’s learned gaze and of epistemic prompts offered in this artistic research project on the city.

Author Biography

Nduka Mntambo , Wits School of the Arts

Nduka Mntambo is image-maker working/playing in the interstices of urban spatial practices, experimental filmmaking and pedagogy. He holds a PhD in Film and he is the Head of the Film and Television programme at the Wits School of Arts (WSOA). In May 2018, he presented a large scale exhibition titled Asymmetries at The Point of Order Project Space in Johannesburg and at Michaelis Galleries in Cape Town. The work was presented as a performative lecture at the Artistic Research Africa (ARA) Conference in January 2020. The exhibition won the National Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences Award for Best Visual Art 2020. The video component of the Asymmetries installation was selected for 20th Edition of the Videoex Internationales Experimental Film and Video Festival in Zurich, 2018. His documentary film titled Human (e) Settlements: Urban Challenge, which looks at the state of housing and human settlements in South Africa, premiered at the UN-Habit: World Urban Forum 6, Naples, Italy 2012. His experimental film; IF THIS BE A CITY, which is an exploration of the politics of space, citiness and desire, was selected to be part of the Johannesburg Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015 and was also part of the Urban Flux Film Festival, which was an official project of the France South Africa Seasons 2012/2013.