a dance piece by Itumeleng Mokgope

Tempered Souls

Contribution to "Football meets Culture"

This dance piece aims to interrogate the different meanings generated by the notion of the car tyre. In the industrial urban landscape the tyre has come to represent not only the possibility of metropolitan forms of transportation, but also the ideas that emanate from such projects where the circle is invested with speed to negotiate rough geographical landscapes. Consequently, the tyre arguably serves to masquerade the ideas of subjugation and control, ideas central to power. In the Congo, the African subject was coerced into working in the rubber fields. All those who opposed this project had their hands cut and collected into heap. The fear implanted in those who witnessed the cutting and consequently mounted the rubber trees invested the tyre with their souls. The legacy of the tyre, its acquisition and production, is implicated in the development of our capitalist societies. Consequently, in the contemporary imagination, the tyre is fraught with ideas of subjugation, control and dispossession, ideas central to modern perceptions of a capitalist world. 

idea and choreography: Itumeleng Mokgope

video: Jurgen Meekel/Mileta Postic

music:        Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963)
                 Kleines Konzert für Streichquartett
                 und Schlagzeug (1931/1932)
recording:  Doelen Kwartett, Rotterdam, 2008
                 Frank de Groot, Maartje Kraan (Violin)
                 Karin Dolman (Viola)
                 Hans Woudenberg (Violoncello)
                 kindly supported by Cybele records

directed by Indra Wussow

dancer: Itumeleng Mokgope
70 used tyres
This production of jozi art:lab premiered on 26th March, 2010 at the Battery Centre in Kliptown in Soweto. Further performances have taken place on 1st and 2nd June, 2010.

Thanks to our partners SKY (Soweto Kliptown Youth) and the Goethe-Institut Johannesburg.

Itumeleng Mokgope thanks the FNB Dance Umbrella for commissioning his first piece on the image of the tyre, that was performed with the South African Ballet Theatre in 2009. Without it this second piece would not have happened!


Forging fresh visionary artistic tracks
11th May, 2010 (pdf)

Kind der Flammen
Berliner Zeitung. 5./6. Juni 2010 (pdf)

Interview with Itumeleng Mokgope
during his residency at Stiftung kunst:raum sylt quelle, Germany, September 2010
read more



Itumeleng Mokgope's residency in 2010 at the german Stiftung kunst:raum sylt quelle has been kindly supported by the Aktion Afrika of the Auswärtiges Amt.