decolonising the jazz curriculum – and clearing the broken glass


orbit-after-attack Outside the Orbit: clearing the shattered glass

The Orbit had its front window smashed on Friday night. Whether by protestors with a defined purpose (though it’s hard to fathom what), opportunistic demagogues and provocateurs, or a bunch of drunken thugs joining what they perceived to be the “fun”, it’s hard to know. All the vandalism has achieved is to rob musicians and service workers of a few days’ decent gigging, and a struggling club of resources.

During the mayhem, the Orbit still willingly sheltered students injured by or terrified of police weapons; it cares about its community. The attack has silenced for a while one of Joburg’s “small pockets of cool” (the phrase is tenorist Shabaka Hutchings’) – a place where the cultural discourse regularly runs counter to the prevailing smug complacency and abdication of responsibility.

from-inside-during-sabc-van-burning The view from inside the Orbit as an SABC van burns outside

Not, I’d…

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faith47 & the grrrl – aqua regalia – projection mapping (2015)

A projection mapping sequence created as a collaboration between inka kendzia (the grrrl) and faith47.

Faith created a shrine-like installation made out of found objects. The mapping sequence was then projected on top of this shrine structure.

The projection was created specifically for the opening night of Faith’s Aqua Regalia exhibition in New York at the Jonathan Levine gallery in November 2015.

artist – faith47
animation and mapping – inka kendzia | the grrrl
music – fletcher beadon – fletcher in dub
filmed – zane meyer of chopemdownfilms

louis moholo’s 4blokes, live at straight no chaser, cape town (15 january 2016)

It’s weird how the recording industry warps experience. We can sometimes forget that every recording is only one iteration that was captured and set in stone as “The” Definitive Performance, when really it just happened to be captured that particular time among many, many other possible times. Records, like photos, pluck moments out of time and concretise them… And they are the only thing we’re left with later to glimpse a whole era. That’s why densely detailed archives such as Ian Bruce Huntley‘s, where there were many recordings of the same bands made during the same era, are so interesting. I’ve posted here, and in the preceding post, recordings of the same band on two consecutive nights.

One of the lovely things about everyone having a camera in their pocket on their phone is that this is not something that is rare anymore, and the democratisation of shared experience is a very powerful and positive thing. One of the horrible things is that there is just such a volume of recorded stuff (much of questionable quality) being generated that the brightest nuggets of wonder can be drowned in the dross… Too much recording and we have a shaky, pixelated backup of every moment kept on hard drives, that no one ever has time to live through twice, to the extent that everything melts into undifferentiated, indigestible “big data” and can only be apprehended as statistics. I feel very ambivalent about it.

I think it’s really important that, whenever possible, we still have experienced photographers, videographers and sound recorders assigned to do this stuff, so that in years to come what we are left with are some beautiful and considered recordings, and not just a haunted avalanche of muddy glimpses.