Global interest in South African art has concentrated on evidence of early human behaviour, as well as on the regionís rich rock art tradition. In the first case, the mere presence or absence of Ďartí has been regarded as an important diagnostic of Ďmoderní forms of behaviour. In the second, rock Ďartsí have been interpreted largely through a wealth of regionally derived ethnographies. However, contemporary South African art has long been explicitly political and engaged in projects of societal transformation.
This conference will attempt to consider Ďartí as part of a wider suite of technological practices. In making this move, it will draw on the ideas developed by Alfred Gell in his important essay The Technology of Enchantment and the Enchantment of Technology, as well as his posthumously published Art and Agency.
The conference will reconsider ontologies, technologies and agents, and ask not whether or not Ďartí is present, nor whether artefacts illustrate particular aspects of behaviour, but rather how their presence and creation made a difference to the past.