complimentary copy issue 41 / summer 2015 www.obrigado.co.za my life, my coffee
DDB SA 43078/E
READY FOR MORE?
04 my life 08 crossing over 12 suddenly suzelle 16 a beginner’s guide to algorithms 20 peach, pepper and pine 22 wish you were here? 26 shift happens 30 a festivalling we go 32 batteries not included
#lalalaitsallgood ATTENTION ALL FUN-LOVING HUMANS! WE’RE PUTTING THE SWELL BACK IN SWELTERING WITH A HOT SUMMER READ. When it comes to hot topics, take a sho’t left at our cover design. The artist’s distinctive style is taking the local scene to fierce new heights... Hi, my name is: Karabo Poppy Moletsane. Tell us a bit about the cover: The cover features a portrait of someone experiencing Christmas in Mzansi – a contrast to the ‘traditional’ snow, reindeer and freshly cut fir trees. Here at home, we have a rich contrast of colour, a large supply of hats, sweltering temperatures and road trips instead of Christmas jerseys and fire-stoking duties. What’s your favourite holiday memory? Travelling solo to Brazil last November. It was my first time visiting a country where English is not widely spoken, and the adventure of having to manoeuvre through the language barrier, 99% humidity and embracing a culture different to my own made for really great memories. The first time you knew you were going to go into design? When I was 21, and in my third year of studying, I realised what a great platform design could be to educate others in memorable ways, create awareness, and tackle social issues. My gifts, passions and hobbies make up my entire career. And the last time you regretted going into design? This winter, with the many days of loadshedding, which resulted in more all-nighters that I would like to admit. What’s the most beautiful thing somebody has said to you in your mother tongue? This may be cheesy but it was the day my Afrikaans/English-speaking boyfriend asked me to be his girlfriend in SeSotho. The pronunciation was unique but it didn’t take away from the beautiful gesture. Your favourite expression in any language? Lepotla – potla leja pudi. It’s a SeSotho expression, which when translated directly means ‘The one that hurries will eat a goat’. The expression is used to illustrate the blunders one might make when completing tasks in a hurry. The person ends up eating a goat instead of a cow like everybody else. When you’re not working, we’ll find you? Singing, writing songs, playing the acoustic guitar or reading in coffee shops. Your ultimate dream for Mother Tongue – Creative House is? To be the best creative agency for our country: where creatives use their talents to produce work that competes on a global scale but that also preserves the South African aesthetic and elevates the general standard of design in all sectors of our country. I dream that we’ll remain socially conscious and make good design and creative direction accessible to South Africa’s entrepreneurs who find it difficult to afford normal rates but who, nevertheless, need assistance in their visual department to grow their businesses. But if that doesn’t work out you’ll just… Teach art at an all-girls high school. If Karabo came with T&Cs, they’d be? Can’t work in countries with snow in the winter and prefers to never design flyers. Is there a hashtag that sums up Karabo? #Afropolitan – a lot of what I do is inspired by both African and Western influences – my illustration, fashion and design. You can find my work at: www.behance.net/Karabo_Poppy; Twitter: @karabo_poppy, Instagram: @karabo_poppy
editor delené van der lugt: firstname.lastname@example.org | designer ryan manning copy editor wendy maritz | content director susan newham-blake advertising nick lumb: email@example.com or +27 (0)21 488 3518 and elna coetzer: firstname.lastname@example.org or +27 (0)21 488 5906 | ad sales coordinator kelly ann syce vida e caffè Darren, Nick, Grant, Tracy, Lauren and Meagan The Publishing Partnership (Pty) Ltd. Executive Directors: Mark Beare and John Morkel. Address: PO Box 15054, Vlaeberg 8018, +27 (0)21 424 3517, www.tppsa.co.za. Copyright: The Publishing Partnership (Pty) Ltd 2015. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part is prohibited without prior permission of the editor. The views expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of vida e caffè, the editorial director, the publisher or the agents. Although every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of its contents, the information published is for information purposes only and cannot be relied on as the opinion of an expert. vida e caffè, the publisher or the editor cannot be held responsible for any omission or errors or any misfortune, injury or damages that may arise therefrom.
Find vida online:
instagram.com/vidaecaffe_official Online: www.obrigado.co.za
NB: Don’t forget to check out www.obrigado.co.za
for more fab reads and awesome competitions. Being great in little things Scientists may debate the expanding universe ad infinitum; in the meantime we’ll just delight in the fact that certain things are getting smaller, really small. It was an interest in little living things (moss, ants, spiders) that inspired Brazilian-born artist Dalton M Ghetti to begin creating the smallest possible carvings visible to the naked eye on the ends of graphite pencils. Done solely for personal inspiration, meditation, and as a form of recycling (he uses discarded pencils found on the streets), Ghetti’s works are a personal expression –
exhibited but never sold. Artistic expression is what led South African artist Lorraine Loots to make tiny art too – limiting herself to a square inch in which to create, Loots commissioned herself to begin and complete a painting every day, while a nine-to-five job paid the bills. Her wee art landed on Instagram, then leapt over the big pond to an exhibition in the US called ‘Ants in NYC’ in July this year. Now it’s her day job, and just as much fun as when it all started. SA school teacher Meghan Maconochie delivers a variation on the same theme of a project a day for a year. She uses coloured pencil shavings to depict pop culture and ‘other interesting subjects’. The works are ‘all created from handsharpened pencils and layered on card or paper. Some take
10 minutes to do, others take hours and hours!’ she says. While still in the process of finding a way to fix the shavings once the textured image is complete, Maconochie photographs them and discards them. Her inspiration? ‘I like to create pieces that people can relate to and recognise. I create what inspires me that particular day or week, whether it be music, film, people or other artists.’ Go see www.daltonghetti. com; paintingsforants.com; and www.instagram.com/ meghanmaconochie for a little bit of inspiration.
Ps. And while you’re at it, go check out small art for big people at Vin d’Easel, www.vindeasel.com. Quirky art that comes on its own miniature easel… four
IMAGES: MEGHAN MACONOCHIE (LITTLE THINGS), VIN D’EASEL (SMALL ART)
Available at leading department stores, online shopping platforms, select shoe & clothing stores nationwide. To locate your nearest stockist call 011 345 8000
MY LIFE Painting the town any colour you like
Bairrey, bairrey NICE! We chatted to the self-confessed ‘aggressively unfancy’ Cape Town band Al Bairre (pronounced Al Bear) about their roots and coming eighth. Tell us more about Al Bairre? We are Tessa and Julia and Kyle and Nicholas. Kyle and Nicholas first met the twins at a pre-drinks do at Plett Rage. Nicholas had been chatting up Julia the whole evening and then kissed Tessa thinking it was Julia. Julia then kissed Nic because she had already put in all the legwork. The next step was obviously to form a band. Where and when was Al Bairre’s first performance? At a restaurant called La Cabane in 2012 for a Battle of the Bands competition. We came eighth, and have been coming eighth ever since. What has been one of your biggest achievements? Our first single ‘Bungalow’ making it to number three on the 5FM Top 40 – it was pretty wild. 2016 goals? We wanna take ourselves over the Atlantic to the land of the free and home of the brave and do some shows there. Next CD details? We just released our mini-LP called Experience The Al Bairre Show With Al Bairre Experience. Caviar Dreams was like hot.com – any plans to collab with P.H.fat again? Probably not. That was a very stressful time. A great, great time. But a stressful time. Much like losing your virginity. What festival would you give every last cup of coffee to perform at? Glastonbury, every time, baby. Fave local musician? At the moment it’s Sol Gems. Those dudes are futuristic. Fave international muso? We are really loving Unknown Mortal Orchestra, William Onyeabor and Seal. Describe a day in the life of Al Bairre. We wake up. Kyle, Nicholas and our manager Jeremy meet up at the Al Bairre worldwide office. Nicholas does Al Bairre Store clothing, which is launching soon. Kyle handles the internet and Jeremy does everything we don’t wanna deal with and, gosh dammit, does he do it well too. Then Tessa goes to UCT and studies law and Julia does our accounting and taxes from her home-office table. It’s a gorgeous oak table with a lovely walnut finish. Fave vida? The one in Belvedere Square is just the best. Their burgers and salads are to die for, and you can sit outside in the courtyard, which is divine. Also the Chocolate Frios are something else. I might go there now actually. Yes, I think I’ll go there now. Why does it rock to be a vida BA? Well, whenever we enter any vida, everyone stands up and starts clapping. Also there is a vida around the corner and we are always hungry, so it’s a match made in heaven. Visit www.albairre.com for more!
IMAGES: SAM WELLS (AL BAIRRE)
Street art was once the perceived realm of night crawlers, vandals and vagabonds… nowadays, urban walls (trains and bridges) are the message boards for criticising social ills and exclaiming love and peace; they’re blank gothic innercity canvases just dying for expressions of colour, caricature and signage. From 5-10 October this year, 11 multi-story buildings in Johannesburg became those canvasses for the Nissan-sponsored fifth international City of Gold Urban Art Festival – allocated to 13 international artists from SA, the US, Canada, Australia and the UK. A Nissan Juke was donated to add spice to the proceedings, as each artist tagged it with their own signature style. Festival initiator – and local graffiti artist – Rasty says: ‘The festival is by its very nature inclusive. The art and creative process is shared with the city’s residents, and children in town get to participate in arts projects hosted by the local and international artists.’ To see the murals Rasty, Adnate, Mediah, SoloOne and a host of other artists created, go to www. cityofgoldfestival.co.za.
WHEN ART MEETS FASHION, CREATIVITY EXPLODES, AS HOUGHTON KINSMAN FINDS OUT.
IMAGES: NICO KRIJNO (AJKP PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY), SDR PHOTO (AJKP RUNWAY PHOTOGRAPHY)
IMAGES: NICO KRIJNO (AJKP PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY), SDR PHOTO (AJKP RUNWAY PHOTOGRAPHY)
s a concept the art-fashion collab is nothing new. At its most basic it’s a conversation; a variation of something we engage in every day. In fact, you might even be doing it right now, paging through this magazine. That’s not to say it doesn’t yield some helluva interesting results. On the contrary, there is a rich and fascinating history between art and fashion. Yves Saint Laurent did it with the Mondrian dress, and Raf Simons and artist Sterling Ruby with their bleached denim. And then there’s our own NOT X Chris Saunders, a cross-cultural collaboration between Johannesburg-based photographer Chris Saunders and New York-based fashion designer Jenny Lai, spanning several disciplines, including moving images, photography, and garment creation. So, if this history is to teach us anything, it is that when art meets fashion there is an embracing of the collaborative spirit. And, it’s this spirit I can’t help but feel is at the heart of some of Cape Town’s most exciting art-fashion mashups. Online there is Skattie and Miss Moss, two fashion blogs initiated by Malibongwe Tyilo and Diana Moss respectively, that have branched out to include local art and culture projects. Their approach, while highlighting the importance of the digital media realm, has also shown us just how exciting collaboration across the creative boundaries can be. Then there are those mashups where doing what you love with the one you love have blossomed into collaboration at its most intimate. Two cases in point are Keith Henning and Jody Paulsen of AKJP, and Kat van Duinen and Kelly John Gough. We find out what makes their collaborative spirits tick.
AKJP Adriaan Kuiters + Jody Paulsen is a permanent collaboration between fashion designer Keith Henning and artist Jody Paulsen. We asked Jody about the past, present and future of their collective artistry. How did you guys meet? Keith cast me in his debut collection at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Cape Town. We quickly became close friends and started dating. What made you decide to work together? We worked together on a shirt collaboration in 2013 – Keith designed the shirt and I made the print. A few months later, he asked me to design a collection for Spring/Summer 2014. Initially, I was supposed to introduce womenswear and do prints, but we ended up working together on every part of the collection. We didn’t plan on continuing to work together – it just happened because we shared a studio and got on really well. Who is your greatest influence? Our inspiration shifts and evolves with each collection. A single person who has consistently influenced the way we think about design is Camilla Nickerson – a fashion editor at American Vogue. We’ve always been drawn to the calm, grounded and relaxed mood of her editorials. How would you describe your collaboration? We work together on every aspect of a collection. We have a joint vision and, as a duo, we bring this to life through creative direction, hard work and using our individual strengths to make the collaboration a unique one…. We both did not expect to end up sharing a label. How do you view creativity? I think the more nine
Kat and Kelly Fashion designer Kat van Duinen and painter Kelly John Gough reveal what drew them together and what collective creativity means to them.
and silhouettes, shapes and handiwork. It will be a mix of once-off, striking pieces and democratic, easy-to-wear items all bearing our creative trademarks. How do you view creativity? Kelly: I believe creativity is part of what it means to be human – it is something intrinsic in all of us as children, yet something society seems to squeeze out of us slowly but surely as we become consumed by everyday mundanity. Everyone has the capacity for creativity – that’s the beauty of it; creativity is fundamentally personal and subjective. But it needs to be practised and made habit in order to flourish. Kat:
you do, the more you can do. I only know how to make things by actually making things. I try not to fuss too much about having great ideas as I usually end up getting ideas in the process of creating. What are your side projects? I have a full-time art career and Keith enjoys doing occasional interior design work. (Keith is trained in industrial design and has recently renovated the AKJP Collective store in Cape Town’s Kloof Street.) What’s the best thing that has happened to you as a team? Being scouted by Vogue Italia to exhibit our Spring/Summer 2016 collection in Dubai was quite spectacular. It was really good for our team morale to be part of the ‘Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience’. Anything quirky that we don’t know about you? Keith has his own special language that he invented when he was a child. I get to hear it all day in-studio. What are you working on at the moment? I’m focusing on my art career while Keith is overseeing production for summer. What does the future hold for you? We’re planning to introduce collections by emerging designers to the AKJP Collective store.
How did you guys meet? We met in 2010 after I saw one of Kelly’s artworks, ‘The End’, and was mesmerized by it. I struggled to decipher Kelly’s name in the piece’s signature, but eventually I sought him out to buy it. The rest, as they say, is history! What made you decide to work together? There is something electric, powerful and passionate about the joining together of two creatives. Kat: I was captivated by ‘The End’, a particularly haunting piece. Kelly: I was enchanted by her creativity and love of life. We are each other’s ultimate muses: we inspire, inspirit and energise one another. Who are you influenced by? Artists such as Egon Schiele, Malcolm Liepke, Sean Cheetham, the zeitgeist, the people I interact with, especially the Van Duinen family, and Kat is inspired by the continent of Africa and the desire to make dressing elegantly accessible. How would you describe the collaboration? The collaboration will be wearable art, garments and accessories influenced by and featuring Kelly’s artwork, lines
I cannot imagine myself not being creative; whether I was in the fashion industry or not. For me, creativity is a personal expression of beauty; a subjective seeking and refining of ideals. I see creativity in nature, objects, clothing, colours, lines, shadows – anything, even spreadsheets! The moment we are pushing boundaries and being exploratory – in whatever discipline – we are being creative. What are your side projects? Our side projects are numerous, but never detached from the main focuses of art and fashion. We’re a busy family, have the fashion boutiques, two seasonal readyto-wear collections per year, plus Kelly’s regular exhibitions
CAPACITY FOR CREATIVITY –
BEAUTY OF IT;
(solo and group) and private commissions throughout the year. We’re always looking to push our ideas and creations, conceptualise and action new pieces that add to our repertoire, and we’re are always looking to learn and develop our crafts. What’s the best thing that has happened to you? Kelly: ‘Going to The Rest farm in the Sneeuberg Mountains, and our upcoming collab, which is in the making.’ Kat: ‘Showing at SA Fashion Week 2014, surrounded by my team and all the people who mattered most, plus celebrating with them for the whole weekend afterwards!’ Anything quirky that we don’t know about you? Kelly is the quirk! Well, we both are. We are both quantum mechanicists. Kelly loves cooking (and is very good at it!), and I’m a gym addict What are you working on at the moment? Our upcoming collaborative fashion collection, plus the opening of Kat’s first Joburg store in eclectic Newtown, as well as some private commissions for me. What does the future hold for you? Anything and everything! But always growth, laughter, creativity and a whole lot of risk, followed by reward!
er favourite colour is pink, she loves leopard print and, unless you’ve been under a crocheted rock, you’ve come across Suzelle, South Africa’s favourite DIY tannie from Somerset West. In between hosting her own do-it-yourself online show, SuzelleDIY – A Bitesize Do-It-Yourself Web Series, and appearing in Checkers ads with Nataniël, she’s managed to whip out her first coffee-table book too. Sjoe! We caught up with her during her whirlwind book tour… When did you realise you were really good at DIY? When I was a little girl and I helped my dad build a rabbit hutch in the garden. When was the last time you felt over-the-moon happy? When Nataniël liked one of my Instagram posts. How did you meet your bestie, Marianne? It was way back when I was in Standard 6 [Grade 8]. I met her in the line at the tuck shop and we’ve been best friends ever since. When was the last time you ate something really weird? I ate the inside of a sea urchin because Marianne dared me to. It was gross and delicious at the same time. What was the first New Year’s resolution you ever made? Two years ago I made a resolution to learn how to make a spreadsheet because I’m not very good with technology. What was the last New Year’s resolution you broke? I tried to not eat sweeties and chocolates for a whole year but obviously that didn’t go so well. What was the first thing you wanted to be when you grew up? An air hostess. When was the last time you threw a dinner party? I threw a dinner party for Halloween and Marianne and her siblings came. They’re a little bit weird. Who was the first person you had a crush on? Marius. I met him in pottery class. [This is a developing relationship. More will be revealed soon... Ed]. When was the last time you let that bun down? I let it down at night when I am sleeping. Obviously. When did you first realise you had fans? When someone hugged me when I was in the queue at Checkers. I got a real fright. When did you last have a coffee at vida? Oh ok... I’m drinking one right now. When was the last time you did something for the first time? Well, just this year I had a dream come true when I published my first book, SuzelleDIY: The Book. You know anyone can do DIY. It’s so easy, you just need a bit of inspiration.
So, TURN THE PAGE FOR a few projects from SuzelleDIY: The book to get you started… You’re welcome.
I ate the
INSIDE OF A SEA URCHIN
MARIANNE DARED ME TO.
It was gross
at the same time.
HOW TO TURN DUCT TAPE INTO A CUP HOLDER
HOW TO MAKE CAULIFLOWER POODLES
Don’t you hate it when you are driving with a nice takeaway koffie from vida e caffè and you don’t have anywhere to put it while you change gears? Well, if your car does not have cup holders – and mine doesn’t – here is a trick for you.
This is Marianne’s favourite food trick. Basically, it’s a poodle carved out of a cauliflower. Maybe you love poodles? Maybe you love cauliflower? Well, if you do, here is a fun and decorative idea to please all the animal lovers at your next party.
You will need: A roll of duct tape (I chose a colourful one)
You will need: A head of cauliflower A small sharp knife Mustard seeds Some toothpicks And your creativity …
Method: 1. Place the roll of tape on the passenger seat, so that you can reach it from the driver’s seat. 2. Place your cup inside the roll of duct tape. So, don’t buy a new car just because yours doesn’t have a cup holder! DIY? Because anybody can.
Method: 1. Start by carving a little head out of a cauliflower floret. Cut a little mouth into the cauliflower stem with your knife. 2. Make the body using two slightly bigger florets – you can carve little leg pompoms if you like. 3. Make a little tail from a tiny floret, and secure all the pieces with toothpicks. 4. Use two mustard seeds for his eyes. Cut little slits and wedge them in. 5. You can be endlessly creative with your poodle designs – no two poodles look the same! Why not try making broccoli poodles too?
IMAGES: COURTESY OF HUMAN & ROUSSEAU
SuzelleDIY: The Book (Human & Rousseau) is available from all good bookstores for R325 (RRP).
BEGINNER’S GUIDE to
bet you’ve never really given much thought as to how the humble vending machine operates. It’s probably only when it doesn’t deliver the cool drink you’re craving that you actually might pay some attention as to how the hulking deliverer of refreshments works – approximately two seconds before you deliver a swift kick into its side. Ponder with me for a moment… How does the machine know how much money was inserted? How does it understand that you actually put in coins, not random scraps of metal? Then, how does it deliver the smallest number of coins required for your change, or conversely a heavy, pocketful of coppers when there are no larger denominations left? The answers lie in solving a set of algorithms. Oh, exciting! It sounds as though we’re about to talk about maths. Algorithms are all for nutting out problems as they run through a sequence of steps to arrive at a solution, which may happen to be a thirst-quenching beverage, queuing up the next song that’s going to get you turkeyjiving in your seat, or they may even help you to find your lurrrrve. In fact, you’ll quickly see that they appear everywhere. sixteen
WHO DOESN’T LOVE A GOOD OL’ ALGORITHM? EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE AND CAN BARELY SPELL THE WORD, THEY DO KINDA RUN OUR LIVES. SO, PUT ON YOUR MOST CONVINCING CLEVER-CLOGS FACE WHILE TIM LEESON ENLIGHTENS US. The Root Of The Problem We humans have been trying to sort out problems for some time now, and as we became more sophisticated, the problems we wanted to solve started getting curlier too. Moving from thinkers in Ancient Greece, stroking their chins as to how they could resolve fractions to the lowest common denominator, we flick through our abacus to the Middle East where an immensely talented Persian named Muhammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī is credited with coining the terms ‘algebra’ and ‘algorithm’ during his adventures in maths in the ninth century, before finally arriving in the 1930s where we find Alan Turing hypothesising on his concept of ‘Universal Machines’. Turing and his peers reached the conclusion that even if they were to write their equations – no matter how small – on all the paper they could source from an entire forest, they would still run out of space, plus they’d get ridiculous writer’s cramp!
Turns out Turing was onto something with this Universal Machine idea, as the concept is largely recognised as the forbearer to modern computers. If you’re keen to learn more about Turing, have a gander of The Imitation Game. It’s got secrets, sex, spies and the solving of simultaneous equations – so saucy!
Thank You, Dear Computer Once computers shimmied onto the scene, we were off as they became talented at crunching through each incremental calculating step accurately, and a whole lot faster than we measly humans could do. I can vouch for the mad algorithmic solving skills of computers, as my day job has me creating computer models of ocean waves to create design conditions for engineering projects. The software is rooted in a mass of equations that’d give me a stroke if I had to calculate them by hand. It’s a little ironic that to better understand
ourselves now, we may have to dive deep into our evolutionary past. Innovative research being undertaken by Dr Jean-Baka Domelevo Entfellner, in association with the South African National Bioinformatics Institute (SANBI), is assisting in SANBI’s studies on human genetics on underlying disease, specifically in African populations. This could hopefully provide clues to potential treatments or even cures in the future. I’ll let the doctor provide a brief explanation of the process: ‘… (we) extract sequences of DNA from biological samples, then apply algorithms to assist us in describing the process that led to the evolutionary history of today’s species.’
You Called It What? I’m certainly not one to heckle folk that willingly dive deep into algorithms, but you’ve got to admit, it’s a tad nerdy. Here’s my take: I think that ‘nerds’ are some of the coolest people you’re likely to meet as they’re so passionately involved in their ‘thing’, whether it is learning the elfin language in Lord of the Rings to knowing the specs of every Citi Golf model released in South Africa. That passion is infectious and inspiring. Maths nerds are a breed of their own, though. Yoh. For example, this clique has seventeen
The Big Players What’s the most important algorithm in the world today? I’d love to say it’s some beautifully altruistic software that’s going to rid society of its ills until we’re all holding hands and singing ‘Kumbaya’. But it’s arguably the Google search algorithm for a multitude of reasons. With 3.5 billion Google searches every day, it’s difficult to grasp the influence that Google’s page ranking has on our decision-making and purchases. And you just use it to search for cats. I hope that you’re already aware that Facebook runs algorithms to filter the news you see from your ‘friends’ – be grateful that you’re only getting hit with 50% of your minty
Uncle’s rants, but don’t forget to talk to your friends in the real world to make sure you’re not missing anything important. Then, say you’re ready to take it to the next level (even beyond making the relationship ‘Facebook official’) and find true love, well, algorithms have got this most romantic of notions covered too. The online soulmate matching business is cashing in with the industry reportedly worth $2 billion. The big players in the dating game rave about the accuracy of their compatibility algorithms, and with good reason too. One recent study found that more than a third of new marriages in the US begin online.
Let’s Get Arty If there’s one aspect of human endeavour that algorithms can’t challenge us on, I would have thought it was creativity. Not that creative industries and art would be free of algorithms – plenty of pop musicians use auto-tune, and Abobe’s Design Suite featuring Photoshop or Illustrator are everywhere – but I didn’t know that Pixar has an algorithm that helps animate their movies; computerbased fractal is actually popular; and that Google has code that turns your photos into surrealist fantasies or nightmares, depending on which LSD you had for breakfast. Algorithms are assisting artists, or actually creating the art, in a large variety of ways. Heck, there are
rave about the
collectors getting into bidding frenzies over sought-after strings of pure computer code being sold as art – I told you these people were ‘quirky’. As I write, Google has shaken up and greatly aroused the computer community as they’re set to provide significant sections of their deep-learning code as open source, which means that anybody can grab the code for free. Deep-learning is perhaps the next major step in algorithm development as it looks to simulate the problem-solving processes undertaken by the human brain. This is where the really wild, futuristic projects can come alive – self-driving vehicles, algorithmic product and building design, machine learning, eradication of diseases and artificial intelligence – concepts that have the potential to bring radical changes to our everyday life and even how we as humans see our place in the world.
A Problem-free Future? In a conversation with Professor Antoine Bagula of the University of Cape Town’s Department of Computer Science, he was optimistic that the development of algorithms will boost knowledge acquisition in many fields and maybe help bridge the scientific and economic divide between developed and developing countries, as the latter can take advantage of improved algorithms to leapfrog into previously untapped scientific areas and economies. It’s remarkable to think that something that began as a possible method to assist with fractions has evolved into a problemsolving technique that now delivers us our correct change, facilitates our online friendships and love life, acts as our personal DJ, guides so many of our purchases and may eventually lead to the creation of a computer that is a replication of our brain.
ACCURACY OF THEIR COMPATIBILITY ALGORITHMS,
and with good reason One recent study found that more than a third of new marriages in the US begin online. eighteen
IMAGES: GALLO/GETTY IMAGES, SHUTTERSTOCK
a rather quirky sense of humour. Check out the names of these famous algorithmic problems: Burnt Pancake Sorting, the Travelling Salesman Problem, Pollard’s Kangaroo and the Stable Marriage Problem.
PEACH, PEPPER AND PINE – THE MANY, MAD FLAVOURS OF BEER
IF YOU’RE THE ONE WHO SAYS ‘IT ALL SMELLS LIKE BEER AT TASTINGS’, DON’T WORRY. THAT’S WHAT IT SHOULD SMELL OF, NOT LIKE WINE OR ANYTHING ELSE. BUT YOUR BASIC MUG OF CRAFT WILL HAVE A UNIQUE TASTE – AMAZING WHAT WIZARDRY CAN COME FROM FOUR BASE INGREDIENTS … LUCY CORNE TAKES YOUR TASTE BUDS ON A TRIP IN THIS EXTRACT FROM HER NEW BOOK, BEER SAFARI.
is the apologetic summation often heard at beer tastings. But there’s no need to apologise – beer smelling like beer is better than it smelling like wine. Or cider. Or, heaven forbid, vinegar. But what are the components that make up that beery smell? And do all beers smell and taste the same? Beer is a complex beverage. From the four base ingredients, you have almost infinite possibilities – you can use one type of malt or seven types of malt, a single hop variety or a veritable hop salad. Even a degree or two can totally alter the flavour profile when you’re talking about fermentation temperatures. Because of the sheer variety and the fact that beer begins with a quartet of ingredients, it can be a much more complex beverage than its often more highly thought-of cousin, wine. The malt, hops and yeast all contribute to the aroma and flavour of the brew. Water, of course, plays its part, with certain water profiles better suited to a certain style of beer, but you’d have to have a serious nose to be able to pick out which water a brewer had used from a quick sniff or sip. The other ingredients, though, lend a very particular stamp to the finished pint. Malt tends to lend hearty, almost warming flavours – if you’re smelling or tasting toffee, coffee, caramel or chocolate, toast, biscuit or just plain grain, these characteristics are courtesy of the malted barley. Yeast can offer anything from bubble-gum to spice, from freshly baked bread to overripe bananas. Hops, aside from lending the all-important bitterness to the beer, deliver a cornucopia of aromas and flavours depending on the hop strain and from where it hails. American hops are ballsy
IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK, SUPPLIED
‘It smells like beer’
IMAGES: SHUTTERSTOCK, SUPPLIED
south african beer history at a glance and in-your-face – think lychee, granadilla, peach and pine, gooseberries, mango, and citrus fruits of all kinds. English hops have a tendency to be a little more subtle – lots of pepper and wood and earthy spice. The noble hops of Germany and the Czech Republic lend a refined, herbal spiciness to a beer, while New Zealand and Australia are experimenting with bold hops pungent in lime, berries, grass and flowers. And what about the local version? Grown only along the Garden Route, South African hops have typically been used mainly to give a smooth bitterness to lagers, but new hops have been bred to mimic American strains, such as the rather unimaginatively named ‘JI7’ with its granadilla and grapefruit aromas. And then, of course, you have all the extras – brewers have been known to use anything from coriander and citrus peel to cocoa nibs and rose petals to flavour their brews. The beer might be barrel-aged or injected with Brettanomyces, and the style guidelines for beer, laid out by the American Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP), have to evolve to keep up with brewers constantly experimenting and inventing new styles. So, with all of this in mind, can beer really taste of absolutely anything? Well no, not quite. There are certain things a beer should never taste of – aromas and flavours that suggest something has gone wrong with the brew, whether it’s equipment that didn’t quite get cleaned, water from an unsuitable source, fermentation temperatures that rose too high or a batch of infected yeast that needs to be disposed of and replaced. Some off-aromas are easy to discern – no-one wants the butyric brew (smells like baby vomit), the chlorophenol-filled pint (it will smell like the inside of a first-aid kit) or the beer with a hint of ethyl acetate (aromas of paint thinner or nail-polish remover). Other inappropriate characteristics are easier to forgive, but if you’re getting notes of cider or green apples, tinned vegetables, sherry, pear drops or vinegar, then the beer in your hand should be replaced with another, more palatable version. LUCY CORNE is the author of African Brew, a qualified BJCP judge, and an all-round hophead who can usually be found sniffing and sipping IPAs, all in the name of research. Her latest book, Beer Safari (Struik Lifestyle) is available from all good bookstores for R275 (RRP).
Circa 1st century AD – The Khoisan stumble upon !karri, an early version of mead (a fermented honey beverage). Later, Nguni tribes migrating from Central and East Africa begin to brew sorghum beer.
After ordering brewing supplies from the Netherlands, Jan van Riebeeck brews South Africa’s first ’clear beer’ in Cape Town.
Jacob Letterstedt sets up Mariendahl Brewery, named for his wife, in Newlands, Cape Town.
A Cape Town census shows 13 breweries in the city. Thanks to its water, Newlands is the epicentre of the South African beer scene.
Norwegian-born Anders Ohlsson builds his first brewery in Newlands, later taking over three other breweries in the area, including Mariendahl.
Charles and George Chandler begin brewing in the diamond rush town of Kimberley, later moving their set-up to modern-day Gauteng.
Charles Glass launches the Castle Brewery along with his wife, Lisa. Meanwhile, ambitious teenager Frederick Mead lays the groundwork for the Natal Brewery Syndicate in Pietermaritzburg.
After buying the Castle Brewery, Frederick Mead merges the two and re-christens his brewing conglomerate South African Breweries (SAB). Soon afterwards, Africa’s first lager beer is brewed in Johannesburg; its name: Castle Lager.
1928 1935 1956
The Liquor Act is passed, banning black South Africans from legally buying beer. Illegal drinking dens, known as shebeens, start to pop up. Commercial hop farming commences in the foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains, near George.
SAB buy out rival brewers Ohlsson’s – brewers of the popular Lion Lager – and Union, which grew out of the Chandler’s Brewery.
1962 1972 1983
The Liquor Act is finally repealed, opening up clear beer to a vast new market. Louis Luyt sets up a brewery in KwaZulu-Natal, but it is later bought by SAB. Lex Mitchell opens Mitchell’s, South Africa’s longest-running microbrewery. twenty-one
WISH YOU WERE HERE? WE SENT SOME CREATIVE FOLK HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS, AND NOW YOU’VE GOT SOME GOOD OLD-FASHIONED MAIL...
When was the last time you received a postcard? And do you remember how it felt to find that glossy, multicoloured note from an exotic destination among the bland accounts and junk mail in your postbox? (Incidentally, postcards first emerged in Austria around 1869 as a cheap and quick means of communication.) We asked a few local designers to send us a personally designed postcard from their home province and tell us what inspired their art.
Brad ‘Hodge’ Hodgskiss from East London, Eastern Cape My favourite memory of growing up there is the summer holidays. There are many sleepy, little beach stops that are pretty laid-back and rural. Not much to do but spend the whole day at the beach with friends and family. The coastline is also fairly untouched and wild in places. Not seeing another person after hiking for three hours can be surprisingly nice. My inspiration was travelling around the province: stopping in small towns for the best biltong, travelling upcountry for school sports, taking different routes back to university. I also have family in the interior, so I got to see all the corners. The best thing about East London is no one wants to travel there much. It’s pretty underrated, and I think that’s swell. Fun fact: My town is nicknamed ‘Slummies’. I can’t recall how it got that name and it’s probably only known to locals, but we wear it proudly for some odd reason. If you’re ever there, explore the Wild Coast. www.studiomuti.co.za twenty-two
Frané ‘Fran’ els from Bothaville, Free State My favourite memory is having friends over on the farm for fun activities like swimming in the mud dams, riding the tractor, milking cows, and playing hide-and-seek in the mealie fields. Then eating a proper farm lunch to get enough energy to play again. My inspiration was the landscape of the Free State: the beautiful rolling colours and sparse, quaint farmhouses that decorate the fields of cattle and wheat. My postcard captures the serenity of the province. The best thing about my province: everything is slower than in the cities. People stop at your house at 11am on a Monday just for a coffee – no need to make appointments. Fun fact: Bothaville is the mealie capital of South Africa. If you’re ever in my hometown, get a vetkoek at Tant Sarie’s bakery. www.studiomuti.co.za
Mark ‘Marco’ McLaughlin from Cape Town, Western Cape My favourite memory is the view of the mountains from Lion’s Head in the early morning. The light is beautiful and when the air is clear there is no place like it on earth (except San Francisco – the same quality to the light there.) This is enchanting for an artist. My inspiration? Everyone thinks Cape Town is postcard perfect. Not in my experience. The weather is seldom fair here. Gale-force winds blowing sand in your face. Extreme temperatures. Rain. It is a challenging environment. In the sunny tree-lined streets of the ‘burbs there is one world and then there is another world: the one most Capetonians live in. Is their world suitable for a postcard? The best things about Cape Town are sunny, sandy beaches and beautiful babes. Hey, I bought the dream. Suckered. Fun fact: Sometimes a green flash is visible as the sun is setting and the light refracts off the sea. Has anyone seen it? Old-timers have told me about it. But they also babble about mermaids and stuff (happening) late at night. If you’re ever in Cape Town, you should… That’s a secret I can’t share. Sorry. www.behance.net/Mark-McLaughlin
Johannes Alberts ‘Hard Luck Hannes’ Greyling from Potchefstroom, North West My favourite memory is my mum taking my brother and me for a swim in the Mooi River. Strictly speaking we weren’t allowed to swim there, but cruising down that river was the ultimate rush for six-year-old me. My inspiration was the landscape of the North West. You really had to keep yourself entertained as a kid, so the fields and animals were our playground. The best thing about Potch is the tightly knit community. Even as a kid, I had the sense that people were genuinely interested and cared about one another. When I went back there to study, that was confirmed. Fun fact: Potchefstroom served as the first capital for the South African Republic. If you go there, do cocktails at River Cafe, because they make an insane mojito. Visit the North-West University Botanical Garden, a rad place for a picnic, and the art gallery there has some great exhibitions. www.studiomuti.co.za
Sean Crozier from Durban, KwaZulu-Natal We had a swimming pool at the house where I grew up. I remember great, sunny Durban days – freshly cut grass, playing Marco Polo with friends, Lilos, swimming all day until our toes bled from scraping the bottom of the pool, underwater handstand competitions, ice lollies, swimming until dark (and then being scared of ‘Jaws’ in the deep end). Having lived in London for a few years, I can appreciate how good we had it. My inspiration was Durban’s promenade: it’s a chilled place to cycle, skateboard, jog or go for a stroll. Everyone gets along and the scene is very vibrant. It reminds me of fun times at the beach on hot summer days. The best thing about Durban is the weather and the chilled vibe. It is also a truly African city. Check out The Chairman jazz bar – where Africa meets New York. Fun fact: Religious groups sacrifice chickens on the beach. I once heard a rooster crowing in the bushes near the promenade – it must have escaped! www.seancrozier.com
Susanna Jacomina ‘Miné’ Jonker from Pretoria, Gauteng I remember the culture was like that of a small town – walking to school barefoot, knowing everyone in the streets, playing tennis every weekend, going to school sports days and church fêtes. The only thing missing was white picket fences. My inspiration was historical landmarks and points of interest in Pretoria, as well as its botanical and aviary characteristics. The best thing about Pretoria is the jacaranda trees that turn the city purple in spring! I remember collecting jacaranda flowers as confetti for my aunt’s wedding. Fun fact: Pretoria was the home of the world’s largest soccer ball. As soccer fever hit South Africa in 2010, this ball was placed on top of the iconic Telkom tower. The ball was 24 metres across and eight storeys high. If you’re visiting, go to Tings an’ Times for live music, chilli poppers and Bar One samoosas! www.studiomuti.co.za twenty-five
SHIFT HAPPENS FROM APP DEVELOPERS TO SOCIAL MEDIA MANAGERS, THE TOP-10 IN-DEMAND JOBS IN THE US IN 2014 WERE SO NEW THEY DIDN’T EXIST A DECADE AGO. SISANDA NTSHINGA CHATTED TO SOME LOCALS WHO ARE CHANGING THE FACE OF THE ‘JOBS WANTED’ LISTINGS BY EARNING A VERY DECENT LIVING DOING WHAT THEY LOVE. PHOTOGRAPHS BY GARETH PON
Cashing in on Instagram
t’s one thing realising your passion and purpose, but quite another actually pursuing them and making a success of it all. People may feel these pursuits are not feasible, that their dreams are too big, or that they are just that… dreams. A while ago, I quit my day job and started my very own social enterprise company. Zazi, which means ‘know yourself’ in Xhosa, was an organisation that aimed to change the narrative of the township in the form of a youth magazine by the youth. And although Zazi was only around for two years, it made an impact, and many of the teenagers who were a part of it have since left high school and are now pursuing careers in journalism. It was a great initiative until my funds ran out, and I realised my father wasn’t Sol Kerzner and I had to eat and pay the bills. But there are a select few who manage to not only pursue their dreams but also chase after them with such passion and ambition, they’re finding fame and fortune along the way.
One such person is Roy Potterill who is not only living his dream but has also created a movement in the social media sphere that has seen others follow in his footsteps, ie making a living from taking pictures in the most exotic places and sharing them with the world. After eight years in the screen-printing business, Roy took the leap to tell unique and original stories for brands as a professional Instagrammer. ‘It all started at the beginning of 2011 while visiting my family in New Zealand; it was a few months after Instagram was launched. Being an early adopter, I got stuck right in! Having no background in photography, the camera on my iPhone 4 was the perfect start.’ Roy met his now business partner Thoban Jappie (@thobanj) via the Instagram platform, after he bought an image from Roy’s first exhibition called Thumbnail. Soon after that Mobile Media Mob, a content agency specialising in visual communication, was formed. ‘We conceptualise, produce, and broadcast unique visual content for brands like Red Bull, South African Tourism and SAB, to name a few,’ says Roy. Although like many professional Instagrammers, Roy still struggles with being undervalued and people thinking that what he does is not a real job, he admits it has its perks. ‘I have seen the world through opportunities Instagram has afforded me. I get to travel a couple of times a year; and most people aren’t that fortunate,’ he says. You can’t talk about influencers or prominent Instagrammers without @GarethPon coming to mind. Although Gareth works as a creative consultant, photographer and film-maker, he’s popularly
Gareth’s MAIN FOCUS at the moment IS GUIDING BRANDS TO
creatively maximise THE USE OF Instagram twenty-seven
known for his collaborations with brands as an influencer. Gareth’s main focus at the moment is guiding brands to creatively maximise the use of Instagram and help them to understand the platform and its community. With an incredible 258 000 followers on Instagram, you would never say it all started as a way for him to escape into another creative medium. But Gareth says he began using Instagram purely as another platform to post content, and as an escape from his usual film production. ‘It gripped me the most when I discovered its international potential and that it had a huge focus on community.’ Two years down the twenty-eight
line, he is one of the most talked about and followed Instagrammers in the country. While a lot of agencies are taking on influencers to boost their brands, they may forget that most of these individuals are full-time creatives (photographers, film-makers, writers, content creators, etc.) who just so happen to have a large following on Instagram. ‘It’s often underplayed and devalued, so the challenge is definitely being able to present the value that we bring,’ says Gareth. It’s a career path that many would like to follow simply because of how cool and exciting it may seem, but
IMAGE: SITHASOLWAZI KENTANE FOR ATMOSPHERE MARKET (TIGER MAREMELA)
Clockwise from above: Chinatown from Manhattan Bridge; capturing the symmetry of the Flatiron Building, a structure Gareth loves; Times Square from above.
Gareth says anyone wanting to pursue a career in ‘doing Instagram’ should always remember nothing in life ever comes easy. ‘Find your unique strain of creativity; tell a story that only you can tell; take some chances and pursue them wholeheartedly. Also don’t be a fake or try to be somebody you’re not.’
Vlogging gone viral With the rise of ‘generation content’, more and more people are becoming fascinated with all kinds of social commentary and, seemingly, if you do it right, that’s where the money is at. Take Caspar Lee, for instance. According to an article on Times Live, Casper (21) is making an average of R5-million a year through his Dicasp (Director Caspar) channel on YouTube. And this is five years after he started making videos in his home in Knysna for fun. Although his first two channels flopped, the vlogger (yes, it’s a thing) now has over two million subscribers to his channel. Scoff all you want but we dare you to watch a clip of him making chilli chocolate and not see why teens would like him. In the article, Caspar says that once he started collaborating with other
international vloggers of his size, his following shot through the roof. ‘It was like a graph that curved upwards and kept going. Once you get to a certain stage, you just catapult.’ It’s hard to believe that he once thought if he could just get his numbers to at least 1 000 subscribers it would be good enough to show his parents that all the hours he had put in after school were worth it. ‘Parents don’t understand how healthy the internet can be. It’s not evil. We shouldn’t avoid it. Everyday something is happening in the YouTube world. I don’t think people will ever be able to tame it.’ And, of course, with all this activity going on in cyberspace there will always be a risk – as with any other business – and with that comes the new role of digital risk officers (DROs). Although this is a fairly new career path, many companies in the digital space are considering having someone to monitor and secure their digital business. In an article on cio.com titled ‘The Rise of the Digital Risk Officer’, Gartner United States analyst Paul Proctor forecasts that most digitally inclined businesses
will require the services of a digital risk officer by 2017. ‘DROs will require a mix of business acumen and understanding, and sufficient technical knowledge to assess and make recommendations for appropriately addressing digital business risk.’ So, if you’re somewhat business savvy in the IT realm already and want a slight change in your career path, this might be something to look into. As the world changes and technology advances more and more, new careers and business opportunities present themselves. While doing this piece I came across an article about some of the weirdest jobs out there at the moment and I couldn’t help but laugh when I found out that one can be a professional cuddler. Yes… as in someone who gets hired to be a snuggle partner for relaxation or therapeutic purposes, because apparently some people don’t get enough human touch in their day-to-day interactions. Yes, snuggle partners exist y’all! But as tempting and easy-going as being a professional cuddler sounds, I think sticking to my day job will do me just fine.
IMAGE: SITHASOLWAZI KENTANE FOR ATMOSPHERE MARKET (TIGER MAREMELA)
Follow @GarethPon or go to www.garethpon.com; @roywrench or @mobilemediamob; and @caspar_lee
GETTING THE GIG Not only has technology given us the likes of Instagramming and vlogging as new careers, it’s also changing the way we look for and find jobs. Yes, you can upload your professional history on LinkedIn and get access to thousands of job ads online, but some employers are taking it a step further and asking potential employees to demonstrate their skills using social media. Visual artist Tiger Maremela (left) was asked to do just this when he interviewed for a job with the social-media-driven
marketing company Webfluential. The task? To show them just how digitally savvy he was by creating a campaign that would trend. Although Tiger was excited and up to the challenge, he ran into a problem, ‘I had elaborate ideas of how I would use search and social-advertising campaigns but I soon realised that I didn’t have the internet connection necessary to create such a campaign.’ Luckily for Tiger, he did have free access to the Twitter streets thanks to an internet provider, and he used this to start the #HelpTigerFindEmployment campaign. Two hours and 2 296 tweets
and retweets later, the hashtag was trending and connecting Tiger to hundreds of users, ‘I used the hashtag to engage with followers on the issue of youth unemployment. I think that’s why I was able to rally so much support – the hashtag meant that one more young black South African would be hired, which is a big deal.’ The Webfluential team was impressed and Tiger got the job, well-deserved media attention and some food for thought around the challenges facing young people in the job market. ChISANGA MUKUKA twenty-nine
our 2015 festive plans are already in motion, but we urge you to do one last piece of bureaucratic admin. We’ve done the hard work for you by selecting a few of 2016’s best music festivals, so all you have to do is book your place. From multi-day events jam-packed with tents to genteel single-day offerings, the best part about a music festival is that the organisers have already found
and booked the talent, sorted out the food and beverages, and planned some interesting dalliances. If only outsourcing the rest of our lives was this easy and could be entrusted to people with even half as much passion for what they do… The 2016 line-up ranges from ultra-premium soirees, such as Littlegig’s 24-hour festival on 13 and 14 February (where the headline act Diane Birch, singersongwriter protégée of Prince, is advertised alongside a concept store and headline chef) to the urban stalwarts of the Cape Town International Jazz Festival (April), I Heart Joburg (September), and Joburg’s Arts
Cape Town Electronic Music Festival (CTEMF): 5-7 February Headlined by Nightmares On Wax, who arguably boast the best mix of the ‘DJ Kicks’ series, and Goldie, who pioneered the jungle music movement (and is a former James Bond villain). Built into the very DNA of the CTEMF is a vision of showcasing the true breadth of
IMAGES: © WWW.STUDIO88.CO.ZA (OPPIKOPPI), ALBUM ART SUPPLIED
BY EVAN MILTON
Alive International Festival (September/October). Then there are the seasonal winners like the Kirstenbosch and Walter Sisulu botanical gardens and Emmarentia Dam Summer Series, and wonderful out-of-town breaks such as the Tonteldoos Highlands Festival (in Dullstroom in March), or the Wolfkop Weekender (from 21 to 25 January, and throughout the year). Here are a few others:
electronic music. Hear Germany’s Boris Brejcha, inventor of the ‘high-tech minimal’ sub-genre, alongside trailblazers like house master Vinny Da Vinci and hiphop innovator Okmalumkoolkat. (Tickets from R500 at www.ctemf.com)
Parklife (Johannesburg and Cape Town): May/June
IMAGES: © WWW.STUDIO88.CO.ZA (OPPIKOPPI), ALBUM ART SUPPLIED
One day, three stages and gourmet food highlighting local farmers’ produce. Parklife quickly established itself as a premier music space. They’re mum on the 2016 line-up, but previous stars included Modest Mouse, Xavier Rudd, American Authors, Seether and KT Tunstall. When it’s not festival time, the Parklife team also brings out acts like Creed’s Scott Stapp
and emerging talents like Canada’s Crystal Castles – and they manage Jeremy Loops. It’s worth keeping an eye on facebook.com/ParklifeSA.
National Arts Festival, Grahamstown: 30 June-10 July ‘Grahamstown’ has become one of the country’s finest exposés of jazz talent. Anchored in long-standing connections with international arts councils, the festival boxes way above its ticket prices in terms of the line-up. From obscure Swiss quartets to beefy Scandinavian big bands, the performances range from easily hummable tunes to mind-warpingly intricate experimentation. It also showcases the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Jazz winner, and for the 2016 line-up
that would be Siya Makuzeni. She plays trombone, composes, riffs free-form with the best, and has a deep understanding of African traditions – and she sings like an angel.
Oppikoppi: 6-9 August and Rocking The Daisies: 6-9 October These two stalwart South African music festivals provide the best value in the ‘rands spent’ to ‘sounds experienced’ ratio. With multiple concurrent stages and an excellent spread of international and local talent, they showcase emerging to superstar acts, and multiple genres. They’re also both remarkably manageable for people from the age of 18 to adventurous 80. More at Oppikoppi.co.za and RockingTheDaisies.com.
Aside from festival excursions, here’s your critical listening for the New Year. ART ANGELS Grimes She’s pop, but with edge. She’s electro, but with earworminducing singalong songs. She’s Grimes, and the Top 40 charts better do it her way or, frankly, they can eat her dust. Head and shoulders one of 2015’s best albums, and one that should be in your 2016 collection. HER UNRECORDED NEW ALBUM/S Siya Makuzeni How can we recommend an album that’s hasn’t been recorded yet? Makuzeni’s work with Language 12, IppYFuzE, on a rarity called ‘The Italian Job’, and previous Standard Bank Young Artist recordings with Melanie Scholtz and Kyle Shepherd guarantee a winner. Get it as soon as it’s released. NAUTILUS RISING Various Sub Club artists (Scotland) By the time ‘new’ electronic music makes it onto CD, it’s usually old. So, to prep for Scottish house pioneers Harri and Domenic hitting our shores, dip into this offering of newcomer talent from Glascow’s Sub Club, the Harri and Domenic home away from home. It’s on vinyl too. AUDIO RECORDING Guy Buttery Crowd-funded by local and global fans, the latest album from the KwaZulu-Natal guitar maestro sees collaborations with Vusi Mahlasela, fiery blues master Dan Patlansky and jazz star Shane Cooper. Acoustic acolytes will drool at Buttery’s work with multi-Grammy winning Will Ackerman (founder of the legendary Windham Hill Records). Find it on IndieGogo.com. thirty-one
is one of the first years in which I have had a genuine sense of ‘time’s winged chariot hurrying near’. I feel this way not in terms of my personal ageing, although I do keep finding strange long hairs in places where fashion magazines tell me women should definitely be hairless. No, I mean in terms of a strong impression that the future is overwhelming the present while we’re still in it. ‘Whatever do you mean by that?’ I hear you clamour. I mean that I can’t think of any other year in which I became so acutely aware that stuff we would once have considered the realm of science fiction is now real. If I had to explain my case at a debating tournament, I would simply offer one piece of evidence. ‘A robot killed a man,’ I’d say, and drop the mic. Because, yes, dear readers, that happened in our lifetime, and a mere six months ago. A robot at a Volkswagen production plant in Germany crushed a worker to death in late June. To quote from the Associated Press report at the time: ‘The machine grabbed and pushed him against a metal plate.’ That’s obviously sinister enough, but then there’s a part in the report that really chilled my blood: ‘The type of robot that crushed the employee is usually kept in a cage.’ Please take a moment as you sip your coffee to reflect on that statement. It was printed as an innocuous detail of the article, even though
NOT INCLUDED THE ROBOTS ARE COMING AND REBECCA DAVIS IS NOT ENTIRELY SURE THAT IT’S IN PEACE…
it should obviously have been surrounded by those emojis of hollow-eyed faces screaming soundlessly. The robot had to be kept in a cage. And then it killed someone. It’s now half a year down the line, and I still can’t stop talking about it. ‘You know what this means?’ I hiss. ‘This is the beginning of The Singularity: when machines become cleverer than us, and murder us all.’ I’ll admit, I’ve known for some time this was coming. I’m pretty sure that even my ancient BlackBerry, which spontaneously reboots every fifteen minutes and loses all my WhatsApps, might be cleverer than me already. I know that any pocket calculator is cleverer than me. The only device I think I might be able to outsmart in a death-battle is my GPS, because that fool can’t even pronounce Buitengracht Street. Oh sure, there have been plenty of ways in which we’ve harnessed technology for the greater good in 2015. There was that dude who had a penis transplant, and is now a father. People figured out that we could use drones to deliver humanitarian aid, and not just to kill people. Scientists have started 3-D printing body parts like they’re Chinese T-shirts. Engineers are making cars that will basically run on dreams and starlight. That’s all wonderful news, and I’m happy for everyone involved. But should these magical innovations make us drop our guard against a potential robot uprising? No, I say. It’s obviously going to be stressful to keep our eyes peeled for signs of machines developing independent consciousness and a burning sense of resentment, but we owe it to all humanity to stay alert. Watch your devices keenly for signs of autonomous thought. Did your iPod Shuffle predict a little too closely what tune you were in the mood for? Did your popcorn fail to burn when you left it in the microwave too long, because the microwave anticipated your error and compensated for it? In these small ways our gadgets build our dependency – and our trust. Happy 2016!
n a c e
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