suzanne heintz – life once removed

 “A personal photography experience for public consumption.”

suzanne heintz - 01

Suzanne Heintz calls herself “the modern day patron saint of single women”. She has the following to say about her ongoing photography project, the wondrously uncanny “Life Once Removed”:

What would drive you to pack a family of mannequins into your station wagon, and take them on a road trip? Enough pressure to conform will send anyone packing.  That’s how I came to this personal project about what is essentially…Spinsterhood, and the American Way.
Well-meaning strangers, along with friends and family, would raise an eyebrow when the topic of my unmarried and childless status arose.  Indicating with a small facial twitch, not only my audacious freakishness, but that I was a little old for such foolish thinking. I mean, come on, eggs don’t last forever!

suzanne heintz - 02But really, what was I supposed to do?  You can’t just go out and buy a family.  Or can you?  I did.  They are mannequins.  The candy coated shell with nothing inside.  We do all those family things, all the while capturing those Kodak Moments.  Because it’s not really about the journey, or a genuine human connection, when your kids are screaming, “are we there yet?”, is it?  It’s about the picture in front of the sign.  “Get back in the car, we got the picture.  Now, let’s go eat.”

We love and obey the formatted image of a well-lived life.  So deeply ingrained is that strange auto-grin we put on when a camera is present.  Do we live our lives with a keen awareness of how it feels, or just how it looks?
suzanne heintz - 03If I pass through life without checking off the boxes for a wedding ring and a baby carriage, I will be missing the photo album, but not not the point.  When I take my photos, others stop and stare, then they ask, “why are you doing this?”  They, at that moment, are starting to get the point too.

heintz family christmas 1

Check out more of Suzanne’s fantastical images HERE.

out of order

“A minute of silence in images for all the absent images, censored images, prostituted images, machinated images, delinquent images, buggered images, images beaten up by all the governments, televisions and westernized cinemas that rhyme information and repression with trash and culture.”

— Jean-Luc Godard – Le Gai Savoir (The Joy of Learning), 1969

“We can’t really understand. Of course. They’re speaking out of order.”

Continue reading

expose yourself to reality exposed

Diff-Opening-2Written by Sarah Dawson

On July 18, the Film and Publication Board’s refusal to classify the would-be opening film of the Durban International Film Festival, Jahmil XT Qubeka’s Of Good Report, became the flint that sparked the latest South African aesthetic controversy.

Unclassified films are illegal to screen, which means that this is a functional ban on the production. The ruling was imposed on the basis of having interpreted the representation of a sexual encounter of a Grade 9 pupil, Nolitha, (played by the 23-year old actress Petronella Tshuma) as being child pornography.

Tongues have been wagging in creative circles and the media, and given that the film is divorced from any overt perspective on political matters (as in the case ofThe Spear), it is clear that this matter relates to some quite primal conflict over the interpretation of a particular image.

In this case, the battle over meaning is taking place in the awkward, sexually liminal space of the moment of the young female character’s transition from archetypal “virgin” to archetypal “whore”, and what she, the figure of the girl, means.

It probably wouldn’t be completely unfair to assume that the film is objectionable to the classification board because of this very liminality, and the way in which the morality embedded in the process clearly regards anything that isn’t exclusively either “virgin” or “whore” as a kind of abomination.

This act of censorship is fundamentally based on a conflict of representation – meaning it’s as much an aesthetic one as it is an ideological one. This means that we need to be asking not the obvious and common question of whether we should or shouldn’t be allowed to depict female children in an erotic light, but rather what actually is a female child, and what is an erotic light?

South African film and South African audiences remain equally conservative. The idea that representations of people, places, things and events can have a lot of different meanings and aren’t consistently, singularly defined is, surprisingly, not taken for granted by the typical South African viewer, practitioner or institution of film.

We aren’t yet comfortable with the multifarious nature of representation, and expend a lot of hot air trying to settle on the one, all-encompassing, so-called “South African voice”, which it turns out, we’re really struggling to locate.

It’s a self-evidently flawed project, because its ridiculous to think that such a thing could ever actually exist in a finite sense.

Read the rest of this article HERE.