Electric South has supported African artists from a spectrum of creative disciplines to explore 360 filmmaking.
We act as a production studio – securing finance for projects; guiding creative development of ideas; mentoring first-time VR filmmakers throughout the production process; and facilitating post-production.
Our first projects were co-produced under the New Dimensions banner by Electric South and the Goethe-Institut South Africa, with additional support from Big World Cinema, Blue Ice Docs and the Bertha Foundation.
The New Dimension 2017 workshop opened me to the possibility VR technology affords as a tool of expression for a visual artist, making it easier to transition into viewing the world in a sphere. Special thanks to the Electric South team for the opportunity.” – Jumoke Sanwo
LETU is an interactive virtual experience that allows viewers to visit various 3D worlds created to reflect ideal, digital worlds for various members of the LGBTQIA+ communities of East Africa. It invites viewers to immerse themselves into the interactive space, either through a web-based platform or in a virtual reality headset, to view a shifted reality in which transgender and non-binary people from East Africa are able to exist freely, surrounded by a landscape they have imagined and only sharing stories they choose to offer.
This edition of the work follows Frankie, a singer living proudly and boldly in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. Frankie will be represented by a 3D animated avatar of herself who the audience can follow and have limited interactions with. Through LETU, we hear of her story as she recounts her memories of being a child in Arusha, going to boarding school and experiencing how she envisions her future. There are a total of 4 worlds in this project, however this WIP version only consists of 2 so far.
The project was initially produced as part of the Institute for Creative Arts Fellowship in November 2020, which can be viewed through this link. This iteration of LETU has been developed through the support and expertise gained from the New Dimensions Lab that was powered by Electric South (SA) in February 2022. This project is supported by the Unity Charitable Fund, a fund of Tides Foundation. This grant was managed by Electric South.
Following the stories of family members of missing migrants in Benin City, in the southern part of Nigeria. This project explores the psychological effect of the consequences of irregular migrations on families who are left clueless as to the whereabouts of their loved ones.
Using an installation art that makes use of virtual reality (VR), sound (real life interview recordings) and a recycled container to represent the emptiness and sadness that exist in the minds of left behind family members of missing migrants, audience will be immersed into the minds of these family members as they narrate their pains, anxieties, fears and unresolved hopes.
Every year, thousands of young and vibrant Nigerians embark on this dangerous journey in search of a better life for themselves and their families through this bloodthirsty and tortuous route. Unsurprisingly, only a cupful of them make it to the shores of their dreamlands. The bottom of the wailing waves of the Mediterranean Sea becomes the resting place for the remains of the unluckiest ones after their bodies have been jagged by aquatic predators; while other unlucky ones get arrested along the borders of Libya by human traffickers who either abuse them and or sell them off as modern-day slaves. The unluckier ones fall into the hands of the Libyan government as illegal migrants – their place is in the quietest of prisons unknown to anyone but their “captors.”
What becomes of the families of these ones back home? Anxiety, sorrow, emotional pain, feverish consultations and pleas with the gods that define their lives. They never lose sight of hope; years roll by like wheels, yet their growing hope continues to feed on their emotions and attachment to their loved ones. Why shouldn’t they? There is no proof of deaths, so they wait…
This project was created under the mentorship of Electric South
The first star cluster mapped by the original stargazers of Southern Africa constellates 444.2 light years away from Earth, ancient astronomical practice superposed on the geography and modern astrophysics of the Southern African Large Telescope.Immerse in the starlit & ghostly terrain of the Karoo, where volumetric fashion performance unfolds to a cinematic Afro-diasporic score Costumed figurations and particle bodies morph in a triptych, entangling African cosmology with the technological sublime of inner and outer space.
This project was created under the mentorship of Electric South
No Place But Here is a 360 documentary about a precarious housing occupation in an unused Cape Town public hospital. In March of 2017, the social movement Reclaim the City occupied the former hospital, an empty building in Woodstock, a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood. What began as symbolic protests against the lack of affordable housing in the inner city eventually attracted hundreds of people in need of housing. This character-driven 360 documentary will immerse the viewer in the occupation, as if they were partaking in the act of reclaiming the building. The medium of VR will allow for a greater solidarity with the occupiers and the film will impart a deeper understanding of what it means to occupy, especially when it is the only viable option you have.
Container makes visible the ‘invisiblized’ bodies enabling our consumer society. Confronting slavery through an ever-transforming shipping container, the past becomes the present, the invisible become visible. We witness the shards of society: the ghosts of the past and living spectres of the modern world.
The Subterranean Imprint Archive is a 6dof VR experience. It situates the viewer in a counter-archive which traces the legacy of technopolitics in Central and Southern Africa. The starting point of the work is Shinkolobwe, a mine in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the uranium used in the Manhattan project was extracted. The image of Congolese ore exploding over Japan is a symbol of the earth-shattering devastation whose impact continues to be felt on the African continent. While the eyes of the world were transfixed on a city engulfed in a ball of light, a long shadow was cast.
“Azibuye – The Occupation” is a stereo 360 documentary about Masello and Evan, two homeless black artist/activists who take up residence in an crumbling mansion, vacant for 20 years, in an affluent part of Johannesburg. They proclaim their illegal occupation to be an artistic and political act to address the ongoing racial inequalities in land ownership in South Africa. When it is revealed who the owner of the house is, the pair have a difficult decision to make.
The term ‘azimuth’ is derived from Arabic and denotes a measurement in a spherical space. Azimuth is a short fashion VR film that explores stylised Brutalist architectures as a triptych to fashion performances and an immersive ambisonics original score. It is an experimentation of 360° live action filming with underwater, aerial and drone rigging and composites digital 3D assets from Lidar scanning and photogrammetry. Conceptualised and produced in South Africa, Azimuth is testimony to collaborative practice and digital fashion expressions from a Global South.
PREMIERE AT NATIONAL ARTS FESTIVAL, SOUTH AFRICA 2019
Here is a music and dance performance by Johannesburg artists with disabilities, celebrating their craft while reimagining their city as an inclusive and fantastical space.
PREMIERE AT INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY FESTIVAL AMSTERDAM (IDFA)
History, colonialism, growth, nostalgia, decay and transformation collide in this introduction to Lagos, as three characters mould the identity of their megacity and where they belong in it.
WINNER: BEST DIGITAL NARRATIVE AT SHEFFIELD DOC/FEST 2019.
“Le Lac” is a dreamscape where liquid gives way to dust. The oasis of the Sahel, Lake Chad, is not who she used to be. Ninety percent of her water is gone, leaving her feeling depleted, wary, scared and insecure. Climate change has made the millions of people who depend on her vulnerable, and induced the threat of Boko Haram insurgency. In this immersive documentary,step into the lives of Mahamat, a once-wealthy pastoralist, and Nassuri, a refugee-turned-fisherman, as the lake herself hopes for their survival amidst her scattered ponds.
A group of Africans have left the Earth to create a colony on a distant planet. They respond with disquiet to the arrival of an uninvited guest.
In this poetic symphony, two women and a man wrangle in forests full of smoke and beneath waters dappled with bougainvillea. Each must hollow out the other’s core for fruits promised but only ever borne in dreams.
A little girl receives a message and discovers the hidden face of Dakar. An homage to Senegalese mythology and a stunning visual debut from Dakar-based artist and designer, Selly Raby Kane, this magical 360° film transports viewers to a place where past and future meet and where artists are the beating heart of the city.
VR documentary which explores the Chale Wote Street Art Festival in Accra.