Mpho Matsipa is a researcher at the Wits City Institute, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. She has a degree in architecture from the University of Cape Town and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. Her PhD, The Order of Appearances, explored the entangled geographies of urban informality, urban redevelopment and the politics of race, gender and aesthetics in Johannesburg’s inner city. Matsipa has written critical essays and reviews on public art, culture and space for Art South Africa, The Architectural Review and Thesis 11 (forthcoming), and has curated several exhibitions, including that of the South African Pavilion at the XI International Architecture Exhibition, Venice Biennale (2008). She has been an adjunct assistant professor of architecture and associate research scholar at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) and a curator of Studio-X Johannesburg – a Columbia University-sponsored experimental public platform on architecture and the city.
Andres Lepik studied art history, graduating with a PhD on “Architectural Models in the Renaissance”. He began working as a curator at the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin, in 1994, where he organised the exhibitions Renzo Piano (2000), Ludwig Mies van der Rohe: The Berlin Years 1907–1938 (2001, in collaboration with MoMA, New York) and Content: Rem Koolhaas and AMO/OMA (2003). From 2007 to 2011 he was a curator in the Department of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, where he presented Small Scale, Big Change, New Architectures of Social Engagement (2010). In 2011/12 he was a Loeb-Fellow at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design. Since 2012 he has been professor of architectural history and curatorial practice and director of the Architekturmuseum der TU München. The exhibitions Lepik has curated in Munich include Afritecture: Building Social Change (2013/14), Lina Bo Bardi 1OO (2015) and Francis Kéré: Radically Simple (2016/17).
Teresa Fankhänel is an exhibition maker and a writer. She works as a curator at Munich’s Architekturmuseum der TU München. After studying art history, she gained an MA in architectural history from The Bartlett School of Architecture, London, and in 2016 completed her PhD at the University of Zurich. As a curatorial assistant, she co-organised the exhibition The Architectural Model—Tool, Fetish, Small Utopia (2012) at the German Architecture Museum in Frankfurt. She is a recipient of a Graham Foundation grant for the publication of her forthcoming book: The Miniature Boom. A History of American Architectural Models in the 20th Century.
Portrait by Barry Christianson
Ilze Wolff co-directs Wolff Architects (with Heinrich Wolff) and co-founded Open House Architecture (OHA), a research practice which documents and reflects on Southern African architecture in Cape Town. She was the recipient of the 2016 international L’Erma C prize, in Rome, for her published dissertation – Unstitching Rex Trueform – the story of a vacant modernist clothing factory in Cape Town. Academic highlights include co-teaching a 2013 summer school programme at the Università Iuav di Venezia (IUAV), Venice, and addressing both the Charles Correa Foundation in Goa, and the Architecture Practice and the City panel discussion at Columbia University, New York, in 2016. The work of Wolff Architects has been exhibited at the Venice Biennale; MoMA, New York; Louisiana MOMA, Denmark; Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture, Shenzhen; and the Chicago Architecture Biennale. OHA/Wolff regularly host exhibitions, interventions, publications and talks in collaboration with artists and scholars so as to develop an enduring public culture around the city, space and personhood.
Jennifer van den Bussche
Jennifer van den Bussche is the founder and director of Sticky Situations, a Johannesburg-based non-profit, collaborative organisation with a special focus on community development. A project manager with more than twenty-five years’ experience, she has strong facilitation skills complemented by a background in construction and architecture and extensive experience in community development, and uses these skills to create successful outcomes to a range of projects, including public art, public space and sanitation upgrades and multimedia exhibitions. Van den Bussche studied architecture and completed a master’s degree in international and community development at Deakin University, Melbourne. As project manager of Global Studio, an action research programme to find sustainable solutions, she contributed to the success of its 2007–09 Johannesburg event. In addition to coordinating the projects and activities conducted in South Africa by Studio-X – a global network of advanced research laboratories launched in 2008 by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP) to explore the future of cities – Van den Bussche is also a research affiliate of the Earth Institute at Columbia University’s Centre for Sustainable Urban Design (CSUD), New York.
Bubblegum Club is a cultural intelligence agency. Based in Johannesburg, the agency’s vision is to present an alternative narrative on South African art and society, by showcasing cutting-edge creators and their work. Their position is not based solely on popularity or visibility, but also aims to give exposure to individuals and groups who embody passion and innovation. In addition to being a showcase, the agency is a platform for ideas and commentary which frame and advance cultural production.
Allison Swank graduated from the University of Cape Town with a masters in African studies that questioned the continent’s representation in Hollywood films like The Last King of Scotland and Blood Diamond. After writing for Africa is a Country and working in post-production at CBS, she became the founding content manager at Okayafrica, launched by Questlove of the Roots. Later, as the head of film at Okayafrica and its sister channel Okayplayer, she filmed with everyone from Erykah Badu to Elvis Costello, and produced the Fela Flex series in partnership with NOWNESS. Now based in Johannesburg, where she ranks among the top 10 producers in South Africa (Loeries 2016), she makes documentaries, music videos and brand films with South Africa’s most talented directors under her production company, The Swank Group.