Last night at the opening of the new non-profit space, A4 Arts Foundation, I had the wonderful opportunity of playing music that responded to artworks in the wide-ranging exhibition curated by Ziphozenkosi Dayile and Kemang Wa Lehulere.
Here’s the blurb, and I urge you to pay a visit if you’re in Cape Town.
You & I – A group exhibition curated by Ziphozenkosi Dayile and Kemang Wa Lehulere
Please join us for the opening of our inaugural exhibition, “You & I”.
13 September 2017 at 6pm, at A4 Arts Foundation, 23 Buitenkant Street, District Six, Cape Town
About You & I
You & I is a group exhibition that looks at how people come together, asking after the conditions and dynamics of the collective.
Curators Ziphozenkosi Dayile and Kemang Wa Lehulere pull back from any attempt to survey collective practice, opening instead with a series of lyrical articulations. Across the exhibition, instances of community are placed alongside searching questions of who ‘you’, ‘I’ or ‘we’ may indeed be?
The exhibition includes photographs, sculptural installations, films and an instruction piece – and extends for three months with public programme of live performances, screenings and discussions.
Participating artists include Yoko Ono, Zanele Muholi, Santu Mofokeng, Glenn Ligon, Moshekwa Langa, Eija-Liisa Ahtila, Malick Sidibé, The Propeller Group, Eugene Paramoer, Goddy Leye, Molefe Pheto, Meshac Gaba, David Goldblatt, Mwangi Hutter, Adrian Melis, Haroon Gunn-Salie, James Matthews, Mushroom Hour Half Hour, Pierre Fouché, Billy Monk, Brett Seiler & Luvuyo Nyawose, Gugulective, Avant Car Guard, B4 Food, Dan Halter, and more.
You & I is the first exhibition at the new premises of A4 Arts Foundation – opening to the public as an arts centre from 13 September 2017.
A4 Arts Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to supporting the arts in Southern Africa. A4 is grounded by an understanding of art as a reciprocal resource, a catalyst for innovation, and a medium of collectivity.
Configured within a three-storey warehouse on Buitenkant Street in Cape Town, the A4 Arts centre hosts a gallery and project space, as well as a multimedia library.
Starring: Little Simz, Rayne Moses, Jarrel Mathebula, Hlulani Baloyi, Phetulo Mabotja
Director: Jeremy Cole
Producers: Allison Swank, Nkem Egbuchiri
Directors of Photography: Imraan Christian, Fabian Vettiger
Exec. Producer for Age 101: Eddie Smith
Exec. Producer: James Payne
Photography: Imraan Christian
Camera Assistant: Mavric De Beyer
Editor / VFX: Jeremy Cole
Colourist: JP Davidson
Director Of Production: Jess Wright
Production Manager: Emily Morgan
Production Assistant: Bonani Diniso
The last time there was a full moon at solstice was in June 1967… the summer of love. The next time will be in 2062. Momentous.
He stood in front of us
held his palms up
be calm comrades
sit down comrades
do not do anything to antagonise them
They knew his face, though we could not see him between the arms of a chokehold.
He sat on the floor among us
legs crossed under him
They stunned us, clicked tazers.
pulled him out and away.
He fell to the floor
when the first grenade cracked
through the crowd.
Pulled up and bashed against shields
holding his burned face
dragged across the gravel.
He sat on the steps
away from the crowd
They ripped him to his feet
he showed his empty palms
into the back of a van.
He held his hands over his head.
He held his empty hands over his head.
He held his open palms over his head.
He held his head.
More Skullboy HERE.
They don’t understand.
We never will.
Our bodies are monuments of centuries of torture,
these exist in us
we live it every day.
We built this country
whips at our backs –
The Man holding the whip did not build –
Apartheid is not over.
No magic TRC wand can bippity-boppity-boo! it away.
Our glass carriage is still a pumpkin,
pulled by rats.
A polite revolution over tea and crumpets, good Sir,
‘twas the order of the day.
When could we mourn?
When could we cry?
When could we scream
for our loved ones lost
our chances trampled on?
Please Mastah Baas Meneer,
Gee my ‘n kans om te huil
vir my ma
en my pa
en my susters
gee my ‘n kans om te huil.
Let me stand up for myself
and for those who stood before me.
Let me march for myself
and for those who marched before me.
Let me call out AMANDLA
and raise my fist
and let me cry
after hundreds of years
let me cry.
— Ameera Conrad
B.A. Theatre and Performance at UCT
Please visit Ameera’s blog, HERE.
The Archive & Public Culture Research Initiative (where I work) has invited Esther Peeren, author of The Spectral Metaphor: Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility (Palgrave, 2014), for a week of intense discussion, academic exchange and engagement around the theme of the ghost/spectre both as archival metaphor and as conceptual figure in post-colonial and cultural studies.
Peeren is Associate Professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, Vice-Director of the Amsterdam Centre for Globalisation Studies (ACGS) and senior researcher at the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA). Her current research projects explore global spectralities and rural globalization.
On Tuesday, 26 August, she will deliver a lunchtime lecture, Lumumba’s Ghosts: Immaterial Matters and Matters Immaterial in Sven Augustijnen’s Spectres, in the Jon Berndt Thought Space (A17, Arts Block, Upper Campus, University of Cape Town). In her analysis of Belgian artist Sven Augustijnen’s 2011 multi-media exhibition, Spectres (which focuses on the mystery of the 1961 assassination of Patrice Lumumba, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of the independent Republic of the Congo), Peeren argues that a focus on immaterialities-as-spectralities prompts the viewer to take seriously that which is not immediately apprehensible, or deemed inconsequential. At the same time, it transforms our understanding of matter itself, since immateriality is inevitably implied in materiality, both metaphorically (materialities may be considered immaterial, insignificant) and literally (over time, materialities may transform, decay or even disappear).
Appealing to Jacques Derrida’s concept of spectrality, her analysis shows how Augustijnen’s work, especially the feature-length film included in the exhibition, moves the materiality of the immaterial and the immateriality of the material centre stage, and lays out the consequences of this double imbrication for individual and collective understandings of history, memory and the archive.
If you’d like to attend pn 26 August, RSVP to APCfirstname.lastname@example.org.
when you release a weather balloon
off the back of the ship
with the small box of the radiosonde
dangling precariously below its
oversized white grape of a shape
on a simple string
which unfurls as you let it go
to become ten metres, or longer
so the radiosonde can feel
the atmosphere around it
in its full, naked glory
it is eleven o’clock, or midnight
somewhere in the world
it might as well be here
where we are in our pajamas
and the balloon is about this size
and filled with helium
and seconds after you’ve let it go
it is sucked up into the wild
black sky, and the noisy, battling sea
seems to urge it on with an out of
control applause from below
and it is gone, so suddenly, so for surely,
and you’re left standing there, disappointed
blinking into the inky cold, with your head hanging
back onto your neck and your mouth open
in your sticky gumboots
and the salty diesel smell in your beard
and it only gets exciting again when
you hunch over a computer screen inside
with the meteorologists to look – like
alchemists – at the boiling pot of
leaping numbers as the weather balloon
and its transmitting radiosonde races through
the layers of emptiness, a thousand metres, two thousand metres
and sends lurches and spurts of data back to
where we’re bobbing in the Atlantic
as it shoots upwards
with squiggles and digits and facts
through what seems like nothing
but is in actual fact the invisible sinews that
keep the clouds tied to the mountains, moss to the trunk
the raindrops to the snakes, fish to pebbles
goats’ hooves to cliff faces, tomato green to finger tips
the sea to the murmuring, cracking movement of the continents
and the spongy, lung-like coral fans to the conversation
filtering plankton and pain and matter of fact
in the queue at the ATM about the weather and tax
and death and babies and the future
and five thousand metres, seven thousand, nine thousand
to where commercial airliners fly in straight lines
through clouds and stars and shavings of moon
which cannot be seen because the shutters are down
and the movies are being shown
and by now the weather balloon has grown in size
due to the air pressure to the size of this room
and the radiosonde is reaching the edge of
its usefulness to our understanding and prediction
of weather systems and unfurling cold fronts
winds and even the sprinkling of godsmall protons
and atomic nuclei which have been travelling towards us
from very far away – from the herb gardens of supernovas –
to confirm what we’ve been suspecting
for a while already: we are born fragile, and dogs are
our eternal friends.
For more of Toast’s wonder-filled words, check out the gig happening this Thursday night in Cape Town at Joule City, entitled “Albatross: a journey through spoken and unspoken word”. You can buy tickets on QUICKET or at the door.
According to the blurb for the event on Facebook:
This collaboration combines movement with poetry to create a unique audio – visual performance. For this show, the band will consist of Toast Coetzer, Righard Kapp, Jon Savage and Jane Breetzke (the latter two also collaborators in Toast’s other band, Simply Dead). Darkroom Contemporary will accompany the band with an exploration of the music through movement.
Cape Town artist Katherine Bull will create/ draw during the performance and her artwork will be projected for the audience to see.
The material performed in the Albatross show will take the shape of a 45-minute journey. Toast went on a sea voyage to Tristan da Cunha in 2013 and the show will trace themes he wrote about while on the journey and on the island, which is the most isolated permanently populated island in the world (it’s almost 3 000 km from Cape Town).
Hence the ocean, sea voyages, sea birds (and principally the albatross and its marathon gliding exploits to feeding grounds, and then back to a speck in the ocean where a mate awaits on a nest), oceanography, metereology and geography will become the background for love, long-distance relationships, people’s adversity against the odds and other human frailties to be explored against.
It is estimated that over 50% of South African women will be raped in their lifetime and that only 1 in 9 rapes are reported. It is also estimated that only 14% of perpetrators of reported rape are convicted in South Africa.
This past week, I experienced a powerfully evocative art installation by Asanda Kaka and Valentina Argirò addressing (no pun intended!) the silent magnitude of this scourge during Cape Town’s annual public arts festival, Infecting The City.
On approaching the rows of dresses hung on crosses, one’s face materialises in mirrors positioned in the “head” space above the dresses, making it impossible to distance one’s own body from the figures represented.
Venue: Cape Town Station
Date: 14 & 15 MARCH 2014
According to a report issued by UNISA, at least one rape case is reported every four minutes in South Africa – this translates into approximately 360 cases per day. 3600 A Day is an installation of women’s’ clothes, donated by women in support of the project. The exaggerated number of 3600 serves to highlight the magnitude of the problem and the number of unreported cases of violence against women and children. In a visual shock of magnitude, the installation warns against the normalisation of such violence.
Installed on crosses, the dresses represent the individual, yet also communal impact that abuse has on all women and children in this country. Reflected in the mirrors on top of the crosses are the faces of those who approach – possible victims, perpetrators or bystanders.
Thank you for being here, Sathima. I am so grateful that I had the chance to meet you before you left… May you go in peace.
The track above comes from the album, A Morning in Paris, recorded in 1963 but only released in 1996.
Sathima Benjamin met Duke Ellington while he was in Zurich for a short engagement in February of 1963. Standing in the wings during most of the Ellington band’s performance, once the concert ended she insisted that Duke hear her husband Abdullah Ibrahim (then known as Dollar Brand)’s trio at the Club Africana, one of the few local jazz spots where the couple could work fairly regularly. Duke obliged and liked what he heard, but he also insisted that Benjamin sing for him. He adored her voice and promptly arranged for the couple to fly to Paris and record separate albums on the Reprise label (at the time, Ellington was the A&R man for Reprise Records). Ibrahim’s record, Duke Ellington Presents The Dollar Brand Trio, was released the following year and subsequently helped him build a following in Europe and the USA. Benjamin’s recording, unfortunately, languished in the vault because Reprise executives did not think she was “commercial” enough. It was eventually released under the title A Morning in Paris, but not until 1996.
Read about what made her so special yet kept her in obscurity HERE.
Jack Daniels promo girls at the Cape Town book launch for “The Shining Girls”, while author Lauren Beukes was reading. Photo: Rosemary Lombard
Thundersqueak — the noise trio of Gareth Dawson, Righard Kapp and Mark van Niekerk — performing live at Cape Town’s 4th annual festival of improvised music, ‘On The Edge of Wrong’ 2009. Filmed by Jaco Minnaar.
Righard and Gareth will be playing together tonight at this year’s EDGE OF WRONG.
14 September 2005 – 01:59
Aah, Sea Point. Maybe it’s just the pheromones, or the exhaust fumes, or the soupy mist of oil from cheap takeaways, or the blinking lights, relentless through the fishy smog… Maybe it’s the conglomeration of them all… The whole place reeks of overtiredness.
Know how the Durban beach front feels at night? All sodium glare and humid candyfloss and hooting and “Rayban” pushers, stumbling over sprawling elephantiasis limbs; cabbagey piss and rotting elephantiasis limbs underfoot at every turn, elephantiasis limbs EVERYWHERE?
Or the water slides in Muizenberg? Ice-cream sticks and rusty fish guts and cocoa butter thick in your nostrils? Shrivelled, orange bikini grans and stubbed toes and burnt children scrambling back up, over and over, getting their money’s worth, with fresh snot to add to the circulated stream? Kinda like that.
Like a casino, or a circus, or the school parking lot half an hour before the last night of the end-of-year play. Just like that. The cement, the tar etched with residues of action, the erratic paths of people hopscotching between the pavement’s wet patches of unknown origin, beat-up cabs snaking through the gutters, cruising for someone going somewhere, doing something… you never can be certain what.
There’s an interminable vacancy in all the hyperactivity, a loneliness. A sense that most of what’s done is probably being done to keep up appearances, because it’s in the script. In bar toilets, in sighing lifts and entrance lobbies of peeling flats, people wait, unexpectantly, for something undisclosed… The sour gaggles of Jewish crones… The sweet fags in the coin-op laundrette… The salty dog walkers on the promenade… The makwerekwere… The goosefleshed trannie under the stop sign… LCD Jesus loves you, 01:31, 8°C.
It’s a frustrating place, a titillating place for anyone with even a pinch of the voyeur in them. You never know if today will be your chance to be privy to that something, to overhear the deal… Well, it’s hardly likely to be above board, is it? You daren’t blink in case you miss it, yet you virtually never get to see the loops close, experience the denouement. And your imagination goes crazy.
Oy vey, it’s a schande. Happeningness rubs your nose in it, but, from a distance, it’s too pungent, too slippery to pry open cleanly… You know your conjecture’s amusing but empty.
Romanticism breeds covetousness, even of the sordid. So, you’ve read Burroughs, Bukowski, Genet, Sade. Ballard, Palahniuk, Sartre… Your own illicit missions never feel as archetypal.
It’s like being hopelessly in love, but not being in ’40s Casablanca, you know? Like rainbow soap bubbles popping on your tongue… The bath gets cold before you stop being too distracted by the froth to immerse yourself fully.
the city is a woman, bigger than any other…
…the sun rose from behind the gasometers at six-thirty a.m.
crept through the gap in your curtains
and caressed your bare feet poking from beneath the floral sheets.
i watched it flaking bits of varnish from your nails
trying to work its way up under the sheets.
even the sun’s on heat today;
the whole city getting stiff in the building heat.
now i’m trying hard to meet her but the fares went up at seven
she is somewhere in the city, somewhere watching television
watching people being stupid, doing things she can’t believe in
love won’t last ’til next installment
ten o’ clock on tuesday evening
the world is going on outside, the night is gaping open wide
the wardrobe and the chest of drawers are telling her to go outdoors
he should have been here by this time, he said that he’d be here by nine
that guy is such a prick sometimes, i don’t know why you bother, really.
oh babe oh i’m sorry
but i had to make love to every crack in the pavement and the shop doorways
and the puddles of rain that reflected your face in my eyes.
the day didn’t go too well.
too many chocolates and cigarettes.
i kept thinking of you and almost walking into lamp-posts.
why’s it so hot?
the air coming up to boil; rubbing up against walls and lamp-posts trying to get rid of it.
old women clack their tongues in the shade of crumbling concrete bus shelters.
dogs doing it in central reservations and causing multiple pile-ups in the centre of town.
i didn’t want to come here in the first place
but i’ve been sentenced to three years in the housing benefit waiting room.
i must have lost your number in the all-night garage
and now i’m wandering up and down your street, calling your name, in the rain
whilst my shoes turn to sodden cardboard.
where are you? (where are you?)
where are you? (where are you?)
i’m still trying hard to meet you, but it doesn’t look like happening
‘cos the city’s out to get me if i won’t sleep with her this evening
though her buildings are impressive and her cul-de-sacs amazing
she’s had too many lovers and i know you’re out there waiting
and now she’s getting into bed; he’s had his chance now it’s too late
the carpet’s screaming for her soul, the darkness wants to eat her whole
tonight must be the night it ends
tomorrow she will call her friends and go out on her own somewhere
who needs this shit anyway?
and listen, i wandered the streets the whole night crying, trying to pick up your scent
writing messages on walls and the puddles of rain reflected your face in my eyes.
we finally made it on a hill-top at four a.m.
the whole city is your jewellery-box; a million twinkling yellow street lights.
reach out and take what you want; you can have it all.
gee it’s so hot tonight!
i didn’t think we were gonna make it.
it was so bad during the day, but now i’m snug
and warm under an eiderdown sky.
all the things we saw:
everyone on park hill came in unison at four-thirteen a.m.
and the whole block fell down.
the tobacconist caught fire, and everyone in the street died of lung cancer.