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Written byMichael Jarrold

Inside House of Hubris: Where Creativity and Community Collide.

My close friends and I were invited to attend and collaborate at the House of Hubris event that took place at Evol on the 22nd of last month. We were looking forward to having a good time and further expanding our relations and collaborative backlog with the creatively forward-thinking Miguel Da Silva, who spearheads the House of Hubris events, providing a multi-faceted space for creatives and consumers alike – generating an atmosphere that breathes authenticity and acts as a symbol of progress in the local events space.

As someone who was inspired to facilitate a creative gathering that went against the over-abundance of gallery spaces that you’ll typically find in Cape Town; which means you’re there to get drunk and look at sobering work, what House of Hubris does is a huge inspiration to the homies and I. It brings everyone to the same level and opens up the ground for understanding and connection in a way that is completely natural and unforced – something only possible when it happens organically.

It’s a real testament to the kinds of people Miguel attracts with the values at the core of HoH – and last month was no exception. The sense of freedom and fun extends beyond the audience to the musical and visual artists he has collaborating on the event. The perspective he gave on the ways he allows the musicians to approach their performances expresses this, stating that he likens the freedom he gives artists to the way Miles Davis approached his record Kind of Blue, where Miles gave each performer a set of scales encompassing the framework of their improvisation and style.

That sense of freedom given to the artist to play their role the way they think best suits the framework of the music or the space is something that seems to inspire Miguel and his ethos behind House of Hubris. He mentioned that he’d asked the DJs who were performing to play whatever set they would like to play, rather than giving rigid instructions.

This kind of trust and looseness behind the energy of the night gives it the freedom to move in any creative direction, opening up possibilities and giving the artists and the audience a shared sense of the developing unknown. I think this is the kind of approach we need now more than ever and an approach I don’t see enough events having, it’s also why so many places feel so constricting to attend. They don’t express what’s at the forefront of their collective motivation. It puts a pressure on the audience to figure out how to interact with the space, it’s much better when the space communicates whether or not you can draw weird shit on the walls from the moment you walk in the door.

But this isn’t always as tangible as having visual communication telling you what you can or can’t do. From my own experience, I’ve seen how much quicker and easier people integrate themselves into the atmosphere of an event when the people running it have reached a point of comfort themselves. I suppose that’s more so what I’m trying to highlight. If you are running an event and you are constantly being anxious about how people might not be enjoying themselves or if they’re not taking part in the way you intended, that will be subconsciously felt by the participants.

To expand on this, I feel like when my friends and I started going back to attending First Thursdays after lockdown, I had this feeling of venues not doing enough or not utilizing the ways they could create interaction. There’s a lack of involvement and a need to put art on an immeasurable pedestal. Being isolated for months and months made me seek social interaction that was more natural. At that point, I had spent so much time alone and my immediate public social interactions were as surface-level as they’d ever been. Which made me wonder why we were trying to get back to that point.

Even the way most of these venues and galleries intend for you to connect through the art feels surface level, they create a distance between the work and the people viewing it. They have that disconnection and distance acting as the gulf in value between what’s in your pockets and the price tag under the painting but don’t worry because the wine is cheap. I would personally much rather make cheap art, with cheap people in a cheap place than subscribe to this old and out-of-touch idea of creative interaction. Expense doesn’t equal value and meaningful interactions can also come without a cost.

It’s an imbalance in priorities, because people need to sell paintings and paintings aren’t cheap to make. But ultimately the question stands, who is benefiting from these exchanges? I think we could find the same support, even monetarily through strengthening a sense of community in the local creative scene, and this is something that I do see happening but it could be happening even more and on a larger scale. It just takes a bit of risky initiative and everyone’s better for it. I just fear that following the traditional route of success gives artists a false sense of hope and sets apart the individual artist from what could be a healthier and more natural communal environment to grow in as a creative person.


So I feel like House of Hubris (and a few other collectives that I’d like to highlight in future pieces) really see the value of genuine connection through art, it’s not about standing around with a wine glass in hand on tiled flooring trying to find the right words. It’s not really about anything and it’s not pretending to be. It’s a place to be yourself and support everyone around you who’s doing the same, it’s something simple but more rare than it has to be, so I think it’s worthwhile to actively seek out and support these kinds of spaces because they’re willing to support you in the same way.


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