89plus launches its South African Initiative at Design Indaba 2014

Following the 89plus panel held at the 2014 Design Indaba Conference on February 28, Design Indaba and 89plus, the global research project co-founded by curators Hans Ulrich Obrist and Simon Castets, are partnering with Missla Libsekal of Another Africa for an ongoing series of interviews featuring the panel’s participants and more.


89plus DESIGN INDABA 2014 poster

The interview series puts in focus innovators born in 1989 and after – individuals pioneering within fields as diverse as the visual arts, music and social activism throughout the Africa, a continent whose population’s median age is the youngest globally.

Though democracy would only arrive in South Africa in 1994, seminal events leading up to that milestone would take place in 1989. Prior to his resignation as president, P.W. Botha would meet with jailed ANC leader Nelson Mandela. The later issuing a statement that only through dialogue with the outlawed ANC would the nation arrive at a sustainable peace. When F.W De Klerk would replace Botha, he would go on to declare the immediate need for change.

1989 was a pivotal moment in history around the world. Events such as the introduction of the World Wide Web, the fall of the Berlin Wall and many more mark it as a year that would set into motion numerous paradigm-shifting events globally.

As a long term research platform designed to gather and make known voices that are only beginning to be heard, the South African edition of 89plus, brought to light notions echoed by each of the panelists.

Despite coming from different practices they all speak about the need to control your own story telling. That in the South African context, having a renewed and imaginative sense of self to resist erasure and silencing from the grand narrative of history makes art essential and important. It makes clear that catharis and healing from all forms of trauma are possible – through empathy and courageous acts of speaking out.

This first group of interviews focuses on South Africa, and the work of panel participants. (To read, click name)




89plus is a long-term, international, multi-platform research project co-founded by Simon Castets and Hans Ulrich Obrist, investigating a generation of innovators born in or after 1989, at the beginning of the digital age. Without forecasting artistic trends or predicting future creation, 89plus manifests itself through panels, books, periodicals and exhibitions, bringing together individuals from a generation whose voices are only starting to be heard, yet which accounts for almost half of the world’s population.

Since an introductory panel held in January 2013 at the DLD – Digital, Life, Design conference in Munich, 89plus has held events in Hong Kong and Miami with Art Basel’s Salon series, in New York at MoMA PS1. 89plus has also developed residencies at the Park Avenue Armory in New York and the Tara Oceans Polar Circle Expedition. Most recent projects have taken place at the Serpentine Galleries in London, Luma Westbau in Zurich and Museo Jumex in Mexico City. The Panel in Cape Town was the first 89plus event in an Africa nation , and a key step in the project’s development.

89plus has an ongoing open call for artists,writers, architects, filmmakers, musicians,designers, scientists and technologists for future projects.  | Learn more

89plus.com | get in touch | facebook | instagram

Design Indaba is a multidisciplinary platform that began in 1995, with its inaugural conference, that has since morphed into an annual festival that includes the Design Indaba Conference, Simulcast, Expo, Filmfest and Music Circuit. The primary goal of Design Indaba is to champion good, innovative design as the way towards a better world. The conference will host a number of community initiatives, workshops, design projects and other events to promote all creative industries.


Another Africa is an international online magazine and platform established in 2010 by Missla Libsekal. A strong proponent that culture is a basic need, and art a human right, Another Africa showcases the wealth of cultural and artistic endeavours originating from and inspired by the African continent.


* 89plus Cape Town panel poster designed by Jodia Steenkamp.

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