Ilze Wolff, "One Night with the Fugitives"
Saturday, September 18, 2021, 12 - 1:30pm
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As part of the Fall 2021 Intra-Disciplinary Seminar series, Ilze Wolff gives an online lecture that borrows its title from a chapter of Sol Plaatje’s Native Life in South Africa (1916), a chapter that begins with the biblical line: ‘Pray that your flight be not in winter’. Ultimately the lecture is a retelling of familiar narratives of the brutal expulsion of people from ancestral land in South Africa, yet it will also pay attention to ideas of fugitivity, homage, refusal and collective freedoms as uncovered through several of Ilze Wolff’s projects, such as Summer Flowers, Gladiolus and Gaiety, these being all public interventions that speak of the black social imagination.
Ilze Wolff is an architect working in Cape Town. She co-directs Wolff Architects with Heinrich Wolff, a practice that is concerned with developing an architecture of consequence. In 2007 she co-founded Open House Architecture, a research practice that documents the architecture of Southern Africa and in 2016 she co-founded pumflet: art, architecture and stuff, a publication and research platform concerned with the Black social imagination. She is the author of Unstitching Rex Trueform: the story of an African factory, an interdisciplinary study of a modernist garment manufacturing factory in Salt River, Cape Town. Ilze’s main work as an architect is to reconstruct and seek out spatialities of collective freedom in conditions where it has been historically erased, violated and oppressed. Her belief in the ancient technology of storytelling finds its way in various forms of expression: architectural design, creative non-fiction writing, mothering, loving, film, gardening, teaching and prophetic organizing.
The IDS public lecture series is part of the Robert Lehman Visiting Artist Program at The Cooper Union. We are grateful for major funding from the Robert Lehman Foundation. The IDS public lecture series is also made possible by generous support from the Open Society Foundations.