documentation, Expert Witness, Atlantic House, credit - Kyle Morland




Publication, Working Manuel.








Josh Ginsburg (Cape Town)

Expert Witness is a project by Christian Nerf and Josh Ginsburg which involves two separate artists projects and one collaborative project.

Thus far the project has manifested in an event and a book.

The event, hosted at Atlantic House in Cape Town, was composed of sounds and video (made live or found prior) emanating from our respective workstations as both reactions and contestations to what the other was providing. Rather than a direct performance, our manipulation of media rendered public a form of conversation that was previously staged privately. We aimed to open our cohabited studio and extend the process to an invested public.

The form began hours before guests were invited to arrive, and continued hours after the official close of the event. Our role was understood as both performer and audience, where we would adapt the system by playing or making new audio-visual elements, and then disengage from the workstation and participate in conversation elsewhere in the space.

The event included contributions by Shane Cooper (bass), Lee Thomson (Trumpet) and Gary Morris (wind chime), all of whom were invited to react freely to the environment and encouraged to pursue particular and current aesthetic investigations of their own (Cooper, loops on the upright bass; Thomson, the sound of breathing through the trumpet; Morris, the wind chime as musician). 

Conceived of as an ambient state, the evening allowed sounds, videos and conversations from the contributors and guests to intersect in a cacophony. 

The book, Working Manuel, is a collection of anecdotes, aphorisms and off cuts and functions as a repository of pneumonics to, and as a score for, our previous and ongoing conversations with one another. The book comprises 50 spreads, each of which includes an image by JLG and image by CN.

The first edition is 50 books. Initially, only four were printed. These copies were assigned to ourselves, and to two invited participants, Nina Liebenberg and Willem Boshoff. All four artists were given time to interact with the book and note in it. The books were then returned, notes from all four consolidated into an index, and the print run completed. We intend to continue this method by inviting new responses to the book to be included in future book runs.