Francois Knoetze is a scavenger, sculptor, performer, and video artist with an interest in the connections between social histories and material culture. His roaming costumed performances and experimental videos pick at the socio-spatial force-fields that attempt to rigidly order the contaminated, folded, and entangled worlds of people and things. His videos create narrative portraits of the uncertainty in the nervous system of a global digital machine at the brink of collapse.
Knoetze is a co-founder of the Lo-Def Film Factory. Based in South Africa, the collective’s work involves archival research, dramaturgy and visual strategies associated with video art, collage, sculptural installation and Virtual Reality, to explore and create space for collaborative, experimental community storytelling.
After completing his BFA at Rhodes University, Makhanda, he created his first major video series, Cape Mongo (2013-2016) as part of his MFA degree (Michaelis School of Fine Art, UCT) which has been exhibited extensively both locally and internationally (at La Triennale di Milano in 2019, Kunsthal KAdE in 2018, Wiener Festwochen in 2015, LagosPhoto Festival in 2015, Somerset House in 2015).
Since completing his formal education, Knoetze’s practice has been itinerant. He has spent the past 5 years working on projects in South Africa, Tanzania (artist in residence at Nafasi Art Space), The Democratic Republic of the Congo (as part of Kinact3 Public Art Festival), Dakar (Afropixel6/Digital Imaginaries), New York and Shenzhen (Digital Earth Fellowship). In 2015, Knoetze was featured as one of Mail & Guardian Newspaper’s ‘Top 200 Young South Africans’. He is a recipient of the Digital Earth Fellowship (2019).