31 January, 2018: immersive experiences and debate to explore the « Power to the Imagination »

Initiated by the French Institute in Paris, the Night of Ideas is a worldwide event settled in collaboration with most of the French Institutes around the world.



This year, in Johannesburg, the Night of Ideas will take place on the 31st of January at Tshimologong, 39-47 Juta Street, Braamfontein. The theme of this special free evening is  « World 3.0: Do new technologies mean new creativity? ».

The event will offer unique immersive audiovisual experiences as well as debates on the theme « Power to imagination ». 

As new technologies are being invented, new kinds of content appear with new aesthetics and new structures of knowledge. Keeping in mind existing projects happening in South Africa, experts will discuss the impact of new technologies on content: how much do new technologies reshape existing material and how much do they create new sorts of content. From archives to contemporary art pieces, through to the retransmission of classical music concerts, artists, searchers and VR specialists will debate around the conceptual link form/content, in the context of the breakthroughs in new technologies.

Before the panel discussion, visitors will be able to listen some extracts of the Rivonia Trial, to experience VR Mozart 360, to go through Banele Khoza’s art piece process and to discover the 4 Virtual Reality experiences* created by the South African participants of Digital Lab Africa 48h VR Film Jam.

Four persons and one moderator will then take part in the debate:
– Sarah Bruchhausen, archive researcher, will approach the question of the restauration of the archives of the Rivonia Trial
– Hélène Adamo, co-director of the project Mozart 360, will present her point of view concerning the use of new technologies for concert and music
– Tegan Bristow, interactive media artist and lecturer at WITS University will provide specific insight on the use of new technologies in culture
– Banele Khosa, Gerard Sekoto winner, will present his personal way of using digital medium in an art process.

Lesley Donna Williams, CEO of the Wits Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct, will moderate the debate.

The entrance is completely free but RSVP is essential by 26 January:

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*DLA 48hVR film Jam experiences

by Anita Szentesi and Muzi Mthembu (South Africa)

An elevator ride about how being completely good or completely bad can be completely In-Human… Anita Szentesi and Muzi Mthembu, chose the French Institute of South Africa’s building to shoot their VR experience: In-Human. The main part of the experience takes place in an elevator, and the viewer has to make the choice to interact or not with the various characters he meet. His/her choices will impact the story and allow him/her to continue or not. Through this experience, the aim is to interrogate the viewer’s sense of humanity. « No person is either all good, or all bad; everyone has a good and bad side. It’s about being human inside this immersive experience », shared Szentesi.

by Phumulani Ntuli, Amy-Loureth Worster and Grace De La Hunt (South Africa)

« Iphupho » means « a dream »in the various Nguni languages of South Africa. In this short VR experience, the viewer is invited to arrange the audio from a group of three musicians in various combinations. Individually and as a group, the artists perform soulfully and their music evokes the longing and the hope felt by many young South Africans.

by Sharp-Lee Mthimkulu, Itumeleng Montso and Zamo Mkhwanazi (South Africa)

The 3 young directors aim to create an immersive experience of Johannesburg, , that allows the viewer to see two parts of the city at the same time. « Our idea was that no matter where you are in Joburg, there are always two perspectives to any story and we wanted to fuse these perspectives into one », said Sharp-Lee Mthimkulu. The experience is enhanced with different soundtracks for each of the scenes. As a result, the experience contains an impressive number of possibilities, that turns its editing into a technological challenge. The viewer can create his own experience depending on which part of the city he wants to explore.

by Tafadzwa Hove, Marinda Botha and Thembeka Kaula (South Africa)

Sharing a house with flatmates ? Don’t you just hate it when someone finishes the last milk in the fridge without replacing it ? Find out who did it. Who took my milk ? Mixing the codes of detective movies with the VR interactivity, this experience is cleverly playing with the space in 360°, for the viewer has to look everywhere to find some clues.