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architecture 10 ¦instant housing ‘morphological box’ for every climate, location and spatial constraint 16 ¦mankagaile primary school a landscape building with an urban presence photography 22 ¦warwick saint is shooting stars 33 ¦point of view from jonathan taylor 39 ¦streetheart nightscapes by photographer brett rubin 44 ¦the karoo today i went down fashion 50 ¦the denim institute cult jeans you won’t want to take off 61 ¦emo chic by the darkest star 70 ¦paschoal rodriguez brazilian fashion photographer with a whole-lot-of-love 76 ¦creature comfort meet pink ant and their world graphics 84 ¦master bear-wrangler jason masters does it with his ‘bear’ hands 90 ¦disturbance design the ultimate creative fix 96 ¦some kind of mind from pencil cases to eating magic 102 ¦divine inspiration the illustrations of dylan jones 110 ¦web reviews 112 ¦imagine create inspire competition winners showcase 118 ¦design indaba free tickets to the young designers simulcast 2007 120 ¦the wall own an artwork by your favourite designer art 122 ¦buffy brave art graffiti with a brush not a can 130 ¦conrad botes attacking from within 136 ¦dvd reviews frames sequence 139 ¦crossing lines with filmmaker gregg watt 143 ¦hello computer blending passionate creativity and ‘tech-geek’ know-how kulturtainment 146 ¦mtkidu their tales from the dark side 151 ¦team spirit conceive, believe and achieve with Max Normal’s team 159 ¦sweat.x and their making-your-feet-itch clicks and other sounds 162 ¦cd reviews 164 ¦love jones britney se moer and french love-wagons 168 ¦interface 171 ¦subscription 172 ¦survey 174 ¦credits
fifth issue founder and editor-in-chief giuseppe russo architecture editor pietro russo sub-editor amelia burger graphic designer tracey-lee scully cover photographer
giuseppe russo elodye from boss models hair and make-up artist sarah bartholomew from boss body paint artist kerry hillier creative director / post production model
editorial contributors jd van zyl, simon dingle, jenna mervis, sd3000, leigh van den berg, cara messias, claire abrahamse, zane henry, brendon bosworth, zinaid meeran, rebecca kahn, riana wiechers, dale cooper, noëleen murray, tamar mason photographers brett rubin, jonathan taylor, warwick saint, paschoal rodriguez, alexa singer, charl marais, darkest star, garth stead, melissa williams, xandre kriel, stefan antoni special thanks margherita felitti, barbara bassi, pieter and alta, jimmy strats, rianette and mo from adobe, christian fixl, june from look & listen, karl and warren from just music, linda thompson from omtd, sam alberts from sheer music, duncan ringrose, murray turpin, nic nesbitt, dylan laubscher, jason masters, wessie van der westhuizen, cillié editorial address: 5 constitution street, east city precinct, cape town, 8001 tel: +27 (0) 21 461 6973 ¦ fax: +27 (0) 21 461 9558 email: email@example.com published by designed04 advertising sales and subscription enquiries: +27 (0)21 461 6973, firstname.lastname@example.org The small print: No responsibility can be taken for the quality and accuracy of the reproductions, as this is dependent on the quality of the material supplied. No responsibility can be taken for typographical errors. The publishers reserve the right to refuse and edit material. All prices and specifications are subject to change without notice. The opinions expressed in this publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. No responsibility will be taken for any decision made by the reader as a result of such opinions. Copyright one small seed South Africa. All rights reserved. Both the name ‘one small seed’ and are copyright protected. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without written consent from the publisher. one small seed does not accept responsibility for unsolicited material. This is a quarterly publication. ISSN 977 181 6896 033.
we are one... It’s been ONE YEAR now since the inception of one small seed magazine, a successful independent publication by designed04. We’re celebrating not only the summer season but also individuality and creativity with our 100% South African anniversary issue number five. The significant increase in pages from issue 01, 64 pages, to issue 05 , 176 pages, not only bears evidence of the creativity oozing out of South Africa but also necessitated our price increase. However, we also irrevocably increased the quality of the paper and the content consistently, making sure to add to your uncompromised indulgence. A warm thank you for all the positive feedback and support we’ve been receiving and for believing in one small seed which allowed us to sell out issue 04 and compelled us to increase the print run of this issue. We appreciate and thrive on your input concerning the choice and quality of our content. Therefore we’ve included a survey on page 172 and we urge you to take the time to complete it as the information will result in mutual benefit. Your feedback is always appreciated so email us to email@example.com and let us know your thoughts. We’re always looking for new and established talent, so if you are an emerging or seasoned designer, photographer, artist or creator of any other kind, do get in touch with us.
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the instant house South Africans don’t need the now-symbolic image of the low-cost Pruitt Igoe housing project in St Louis imploding after city officials dynamited it in 1972 to understand how the heroic Modernist idea of Fordist-inspired and standards-driven mass-manufacture of housing could degrade into a reality of minimal, functional design, completely unresponsive to basic human needs: we need only look at the meagre, concrete-block houses that litter our landscapes, and the plight of those forced to endure them to understand the failure of mass-produced housing. The Modernists, faced with the post-World War housing crisis, notoriously advocated a scientific approach to architecture which would enable engineered, mass-produced housing. The “good intentions” of this positivist philosophy are fittingly expressed in Le Corbusier’s juxtaposed images of the Parthenon and a 1921 Delage automobile in his seminal 1923 work, Vers une architecture, reinforcing the idea that the use of “standards”, be they columns, triglyphs, wheels or lamps, once defined and related in a system, might evolve towards perfection. Yet the essential aspects that make up liveable environments and structures – cultural and contextual specificity – do not easily lend themselves to modular assembly. Identity is fluid and constantly ‘performed’ and ‘re-formed’, with those structures that comprise the context for daily life becoming important cultural markers and indicators. Unsurprisingly, the mechanised, unparticipatory mass-production of such structures and spaces serves to retard our sense of self. Given the historical (and recent) evidence, it might be tempting to completely discard the idea of mass-produced housing. Yet, with the current pressures for housing both locally and globally completely surpassing those that the Modernists valiantly faced during the last century, it is worth considering whether the complexity of self-customisation and flexibility could be meaningfully integrated within a modulated housing model. This is the arena within which Marcel Botha, a South African architect and graduate from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and his advisor, Professor Lawrence Sass, have undertaken significant study and research. Their project, entitled The Instant House, moves the concept of mass production into the digital realm and explores the potential role of digital design fabrication in the delivery of customised, designed housing through a system that is rapidly deployable and constructable, whilst simultaneously fostering individuality within the larger community.
house 0 | taxonomy
The designers recognised that customisation should not be relegated to cosmetic, superficial changes, but should be integral to the production process, allowing for structural and spatial variation unique to context and culture. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Designâ&#x20AC;Ś of small communities has taken a new priority at a global level, requiring effective response at a local level. Each community has its own design rules, desired building shapes and program constraints. Complementing this need for design variation within communities is the need for flexible fabrication systems that produce desired building shapes with technically feasible construction systems.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; The process Botha and Sass devised aims to give real agency to the end user using Computer Numerically Controlled (CNC) fabrication techniques to accommodate design customisation from the preliminary decision- and participation-processes, to initial conception and design development, to processes of physical construction.
This is achieved through a variety of key considerations, the first of which involves the material itself – a shell-geometry of timber structural supports, clad in plywood and designed as a surface model within CAD using predefined components and forming what Sass term the Wood Frame Grammar. This grammar utilises three basic subdivisions – end walls, corners and infill panels – which are then extended to a limited joint taxonomy developed to sustain assembly of parts by friction alone: a rubber mallet and crowbar is all that is required for assembly, which when combined with the lightness of the timber components makes the use of local labour and self-build processes achievable, further contributing towards processes of customisation of housing and the transferral of skills. Secondly, the “shape design” of each house was conceived to start with a “morphological box” to which a variety of design parameters are applied, from regional criteria such as climate, location and spatial constraint to vernacular influences and stylistic variation. Through the definition of parameters, a unique morphology is generated by combining a particular variation from a defined “kit of parts” in response to each parameter. This can be done in a random or preferential manner based on the individual inputs of the end users, and shape variations can be included to further enrich the basic design taxonomy. In this way, the designers conceived of the taxonomy as a first evaluation platform rather than a fixed set of parts, allowing for the comparative analysis of the entire matrix of possible designs and a starting point for community and individual participation and customisation.1 The design is then fabricated through exporting it from CAD to EZcam for G-Code generation. Tool paths and cutting operations are defined and carried out on a router bed large enough to accommodate standard 1200 x 2400mm plywood sheets. This system results in a construction typology that completely circumvents the need for paper-based design methods which require multiple levels of skill to generate, read, translate and construct each house. Instead, the skill is concentrated in the initial interface and participation between the designer and the user at the design stage, using easilyunderstandable 3D modelling.
the design iteration for a single space, four-person house suitable for a hot and arid climate, might accommodate cross-ventilation, vertical heat stacks, and slanted walls to create window orientations to counter heat gain and allow for passive cooling. This variation is achievable within a defined grammar of end walls, corners and infill panels connected through a defined system of friction-jointing.
The speed and cost efficiency synonymous with mass-production becomes evident in the immediate translation of the design to physical material, and in the elimination of mechanical dependency and increase of onsite efficiency in the actual construction of the house. In this way, the entire design and production process can occur on site, forging a generative and dynamic public forum for collective and individual input and participation â&#x20AC;&#x201C; the only requirement is a power source. The designers recognised the inherent benefits of manufacturing in this way, as when design occurs in the same contextual space as fabrication and assembly the possibilities for serendipitous intervention and creative development are increased, and the potential for the resultant environments to be shaped by non-aesthetic and non-material forces arising from wider social concepts and constraints is similarly amplified. There are many cultural prejudices to overcome â&#x20AC;&#x201C; around the use of a material such a plywood, around a sometimes-foreign construction system and around the delivery of mass-produced housing itself, to name but a few â&#x20AC;&#x201C; yet The Instant House attempts to re-open the debate on the Post-Fordist mass-production and modulation of housing as an appropriate response not only to the desperate and immediate needs of communities, but also to the accommodation of aspects of cultural, contextual and identity appropriateness within such systems. Certainly, within our South African context, this must be considered a worthwhile endeavour.
This research was generously supported by the Digital Design Fabrication Group, the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms and the NSF.
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Building: Mankgaile Primary School Limpopo Province Architects: Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects
Set in amongst the rolling hills, grasslands and savannah of rural Limpopo Province the new building for Mankagaile Primary School by Stefan Antoni Olmesdahl Truen Architects is a landscape building with an urban presence. Visible from kilometres away the building is sited in a commanding position overlooking the village. The relatively large scale of the building in relation to its surroundings is carefully integrated into the landscape using a linear form and light coloured earth tone masonry construction. A delicately articulated urban spine of elegant white steel columns and shaded by a reed-like canopy of ‘latte’ creates a very light and permeable layer behind which there are heavier, more solid buildings. What is not so visible is the remarkable story behind the transformation of this space from a poor rural school to a creative new community building. The architects describe that on a visit to the village outside Polokwane to supply the school with computers members of PetroSA were so moved by the appalling conditions that they decided to make this a pilot project and build a new school for the community.
The redevelopment was planned to minimise disruption to the learners and building work was undertaken in phases during school holidays. The funders, architects and the Department of Education worked closely with the school committee and parents who played a significant role in preparing the brief and engaging with the process throughout the project to ensure that the building met their requirements as an asset to the community. In keeping with this developmental ethic members of the community also built much of the school. It was through this close collaboration that the ideas and creative approach to learning spaces emerged. The building reflects this and is designed around a central ‘public square’ or ‘forum’ and two classroom courtyards. The main entrance is through gates on the southern end of the urban spine. The forum opens onto the walkway which overlooks the sports field and is shaded in the afternoons. The classrooms are also accessed from the spine from which they face directly onto the landscape. In addition, on either side of the forum ‘team teaching’ spaces are provided which open onto either the forum or the classroom courtyards. Nine classrooms on two levels are arranged around each courtyard. In these courtyards trees have been planted and together with the specially designed outdoor furniture act as additional classrooms in good weather.
All the administration and support functions are arranged to the rear of the spine. Services such as the kitchen are situated so that the children can play and enjoy their meals in the garden, while ablution facilities are positioned to allow for easy access for school or non-school events. Project architect Stanton Brown describes his numerous visits to the site in which he came to know the school and the place well. Working in a design team with Stefan Antoni and Greg Truen, his sensitive, hands-on approach is visible in the high level of attention to detail in the design. For example, using simple accents such as plaster painted a dark mud colour or depicting motifs which are hand carved references to painted images found on the original buildings, an extraordinarily human layer is added to the controlled modernism of the architecture.
warwick saint by JD van Zyl
Although Warwick Saint likes to impose an otherworldly element to his images, his photographs are only a small step removed from reality and they still maintain a classic appeal. Even though he doesn’t have any plans to move back from New York City to South Africa – it would simply be too much of a career-limiting move – he says that he will always remain a South African at heart. One of the strongest features of Warwick’s images, especially his shots of celebrities of which there are dozens to choose from, is the sense of humanity. ‘I like showing the human element in my photographs and don’t retouch every last bit of humanness out of the image to create another world,’ he explains. ‘My pictures are very real but in my own specific style. I just document the world the way I see it and like to make other people look through my glasses.’ ‘I always try to bring South Africa into my work, especially the grandness of the light,’ he continues. The ‘Elephant Boy’ shoot that he did at the Knysna Elephant Park also illustrates his attraction to the grandness of the great outdoors and open spaces. This project combined a fashion shoot with a safari theme and was to be Warwick’s big break. ‘You have to use what you have and what you know to your advantage, there is no point in doing anything else,’ he adds.
According to Warwick, photography is in a tricky time of transformation at the moment. ‘The scope of average photographers has broadened tremendously because of digital photography and programmes like Photoshop®. Because of this massive influx of people who can take good photographs, it has become exponentially more difficult to be a great photographer.’ A good vision and the ability to communicate that to the world are key to success according to him. ‘You have to be true to yourself. That is the only way of being even remotely unique. Create your own universe and own it.’
â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;You have to be true to yourself. That is the only way of being even remotely unique. Create your own universe and own it.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; - Warwick Saint
Giovanni Ribisi | Charlize Theron
He explains that photographers face another challenge in establishing the balance between capturing a good photo, and creating a good image with computer software. ‘If you look at an image and you believe it and don’t question the integrity – it is successful. When you look at the picture and it is too perfect and contrived, then it has failed according to me,’ he adds. Warwick’s suggestion is to shoot photographs with the intention of not digitally manipulating it in any way afterwards. This way you allow the image to speak for itself. ‘A photo should make you feel something before you start thinking about it. It must hit you in the heart first before your mind starts analysing it. That’s when you start tapping into something that is bigger than photography, and when the photograph becomes a medium to an end,’ he says.
Jared Leto | Cate Blanchett
The portfolio of Warwick Saint is awash with celebrity faces. From Missy Elliot and Whitney Houston to Elijah Wood and Charlize Theron. As a photographer who has also made his mark in the world of fashion photography in no uncertain terms, he explains that doing a fashion shoot with a model and taking photographs of a celebrity is vastly different. â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Celebrities are people who have been photographed hundreds of times and they have a very specific idea of what they must look like. They also have an amount of control over the shoot and unlike models, you cannot tell celebrities what you want them to do.â&#x20AC;&#x2122;
â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;A photo should make you feel something before you start thinking about it.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; - Warwick Saint
Winona Ryder | Gwen Stefani
But photographers also have their own agenda of how they want to portray the celebrity they are photographing. ‘Sometimes you are lucky and what you as a photographer have in mind is the same as the celeb’s idea. Then you have a great shoot. Other times you need to gently manipulate the situation to achieve your objective,’ he adds. Warwick explains that one of the most important things to remember is that celebrities are not models. They do not have model bodies and are often ‘chubby around the ass’ as he eloquently puts it. ‘You have to shoot them as actors or musicians, but even more importantly, you need to photograph them as human beings.’
Lucy Liu| Brittany Murphy
By Dylan Laubscher ÂŚ firstname.lastname@example.org
point of view jonathan taylor A girl in a hotel room, a guy tied to a tree and writing on mirrors. Rapid jumps between dream and reality. You are forgiven if Jonathan Taylorâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s pictorial doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t make all that much sense. In fact, that was his intention, writes JD van Zyl.
Jonathan Taylor started his photography career as a press photographer during the “interesting times” of 1976. Emotionally he didn’t feel strong enough to deal with what he was confronted with and after shooting fashion in Cape Town he left for the US where he only filmed commercials. Although working with film completely removed him from photography it also made him look at the visual art in a completely different way. As is clearly seen in his series that we decided to showcase.
His pictorial’s story line follows a girl who wakes up in a hotel room with a guy. She looks at the man and sees both the “dream” and the reality. “While you were sleeping…” the writing on the mirror reads. By her car she gets directions to find a guy on a mountain, tied to a tree and wearing a horse head. Confusing? Maybe. But in the nothingness of dreams the confusing and the sensible merge into one. Reality and dream fuse in the ether. Jonathan Taylor’s work is rich in symbolism and illusion, in the same way that dreams are. The mountain can hint at height, aspiration or success. The horse’s head can in fact be that of a mule and the string with which the man is tied to the tree could be cotton thread which symbolises the feeling of being trapped or powerless. Nothing is real but at the same time everything is.
According to Jonathan the images in his pictorial are intentionally enigmatic, obscure and even twisted. They invite you to think, to use your imagination and to join your own dots. There is no spoon-feeding here. But the beauty of it is that the experience of viewing this pictorial becomes an entirely personal one. www.jmt-photo.com
brett rubin By JD van Zyl
one small seed gave Brett the option of either showcasing his older work in this edition , or to go out and shoot a whole new series, just for us. He opted for the latter. The result is a series that kicks against the practice of manipulating photos and trying to conceal this fact. Instead he decided to make it really obvious that he did. “I have always rebelled against authority,” he explains with a wide grin spreading across his face. “Many see that as destructive but I see it as positive. It means breaking free.” That sense of individuality is also visible in this series where Brett has shot pictures of numerous locations around Cape Town that are famous for their beauty and that are often used in fashion shoots. “The beautiful backgrounds have been shot to death and I wanted to still use them, but in a fresh way,” he says. The result is a shot of Camps Bay’s palm-lined Victoria Road and Milnerton’s Woodbridge Island, both blurred by the shaking of a handheld camera which he used as backgrounds in this series.
When paging through Brett Rubin’s portfolio of his other work, two recurring themes present themselves in its pages – night shots and streetscapes. That same theme is present in the photographic series showcased here. “If you really want to know what a city is about you need to walk its streets,” says Brett. “That is where a city’s heart is – not in its pubs and clubs and upperclass establishments.” It is this notion that also gave birth to the name of Brett’s studio, Street Heart. Brett explains that with this series he wanted to give people an idea of how his mind works. “Often a lot of my conceptualising is done while I am driving the streets of the city at night, and many of the background images have that point of view.” In one of the photo’s Brett deliberately left the dashboard of the car in the image as well as the dirt on the windscreen which presents itself in fiery orange streaks across the final image. Brett Rubin might be relatively new to photography and his portfolio still young, but his sense of direction and destiny is palpable when you speak to him.
see full credits on page 174 - 175
Photography by Alexa Singer ‘Today I went down’ - Poem by Breyten Breytenbach
Now you too can have your ass hugged by premium cult jeans, thanks to Marc. Leigh van den Berg investigates why denim has never been hotter.
I arrive at Marc Herman’s fabulous penthouse showroom shamefully dressed in a graying pair of stretched out denims wondering if I shouldn’t have just worn a skirt instead. After all, Marc’s the director of the company called Loft Fashion, the successful niche market distributor of premium denim brands like 7 for All Mankind, Blue Cult and Paper, Denim & Cloth. Originally from the UK, Marc is passionate about the blue stuff and was surprised to discover he couldn’t buy his favourite denim brands in South Africa.’ Now, a mere two years later, Marc holds the only license in the country to import seven top international brands supplying boutiques like Marion & Lindie, Habits, Fabiani, The Denim Gallery and Ayoka. ‘We get the same collection as everyone else around the world’, he says. ‘What you see in the states is what you’ll see here. You won’t be buying last season’s jeans or old stock, you’re getting the same things you’ll find in Harrods’s, Selfridges and Barney’s, all the big stores around the world.’ Renée Nesbitt, Loft Fashion’s marketing manager tells me that in America premium jeans need little advertising and are pretty much selling themselves. ‘These jeans have been made into cult brands by the celebs that wear them,’ she says. Style stars like Charlize Theron, Sienna Miller, Paris Hilton and Mischa Barton to name but a few. ‘Here in South Africa your average consumer needs to understand that this is like the haute couture of denim and realise just how much work goes into each and every pair,’ she says. For example, Marc tells me that all of their brands are finished up by hand. ‘Each pair of Earnest Sewn jeans takes between 16 and 22 hours to make,’ he says. ‘The rips and finishes haven’t been created with a machine somewhere in China, but handmade in America.’ He whips a pair of the rail and shows me that each and every one has been signed on the inside by the person who worked on it. Just like that I’m utterly charmed and desperately, desperately want them. ‘You only need to try them on’, says Renée. ‘The moment you do, you won’t want to take them off.’ He’s gone from selling a couple of pairs a month to literally hundreds. ‘So, what of the future?’ I ask. ‘Total denim domination? But of course,’ laughs Marc. Thing is, I don’t think he’s joking. As I’m about to leave I ask one last question: ‘If I only buy one pair of jeans for the rest of the year, what should they be?’ Renée replies: ‘Definitely skinny or straight leg and its best if they’re dark.’ Enjoy the following 8 pages, photographed by Charl Marais.
By Dylan Laubscher ÂŚ email@example.com
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Nei l with Rober ts retr o gr blend ung s m e. B ode y r Bre
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An impromptu shoot at the home of photographer Neil Roberts becomes a showcase of androgynous disco-vamp and retro grunge. Props from his office and a rough pencil backdrop sporadically sketched during the previous week with friends such extempore creative direction is characteristic of Neil’s work. ‘Spontaneity inspires me,’ he says. ‘I love to come up with an idea and let it happen without being confined by the strictures of brainstorming and excess pre-planning.’ Taking his cues from a recent trip to Europe, Neil married elements from the broad genre of emo/punk. Enter skinny jeans, dark makeup, leopard print and coquettish sex-appeal. ‘The modern emo/punk thing is extremely diverse and incorporates a range of influences from the New Wave, Black Wave, Dark Wave, Goth and Punk subcultures,’ he explains. ’I’m inspired by alternative subcultures and enjoy using them to create collections where you can spot influences from the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and present. Editorial photography is the creative expression of fashion and fashion represents dominant social trends. That’s why I wanted to show a bit of androgyny. It’s a massive theme and is generating a confluence of male and female styles.’ Polished post-production tweaking and the use of colour gels bring an animated luminosity to his imagery. ‘I like shooting people dressed in black in colourful, modern environments,’ he enthuses. ‘I think it’s indicative of the way things are. People are hanging out in these really colourful environments like nightclubs, whilst maintaining a personal darkness.’
Neil Roberts is a Cape Town-based photographer. He is a seasoned traveller and holds a B.Psych degree. He is inspired by randomness and hard, powerful music like Depeche Mode and The Smashing Pumpkins. His tools of choice are a Canon 10D, a four-lens Lomo and an old 35 mil Chinon. He has a deep reverence for the number 9000. www.myspace.com/thedarkeststar1
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David Mo Pink Ant twosome, creatures that clothing label and the ir the to us uce rod int rs che Wie By Riana adorn their clothes.
On the clothing rails in Pink Ant’s woodenfloored workshop, a menagerie of creatures quietly make their way across strangelyfamiliar landscapes. Their expressions, postures and positioning appear to encapsulate the human condition. Though nestled comfortably on beautifully-cut garments and wrapped in auras of quiet content, even the faceless among them seem to whisper ‘pick me’. ‘When you look at our range’, says David, ‘you see simplicity and individuality. We don’t mass produce. It would be rare to find three Pink Ant items that are exactly the same. Each creature and garment are carefully matched up. Love is put into everything.’ At first glance, it appears somewhat ironic that the creator of Pink Ant’s dreamy landscapes is called Emma Wakelin, creating her beautifully sad creatures in a block of flats named Sunnyside. Emma, however, is not convinced. ‘There is something beautiful in sadness, but Pink Ant is more about simplicity of expression and the emotion it evokes.’ Inside her apartment, on walls, in scrapbooks, on badges, tops and dresses reside Snailboy, the clawed Schnitzy and Mydeer, a solitary, faceless girl with fragile reindeer antlers.
‘I’ve been drawing these creatures for as long as I can remember’, says Emma, ‘but had it not been for David, my drawings would have remained in a drawer.’ ‘Our creative connection was instantaneous’, says David. ‘We first met in Business Science class at UCT (University of Cape Town), we were both interested in clothing and wanted to start something. At the beginning of 2006, we met again on a pear farm, which is really where Pink Ant came into being. When I saw Emma’s drawings, I realised that’s how we could differentiate ourselves from what’s out there’. Currently launching their men’s range and developing a line of functional soft toys, Pink Ant plans to branch out into various lifestyle ranges. ‘We saw the gap between fashion, design, art and business’ says Emma, ‘and we’re collating all of those together.’ ‘We’re trying to introduce an idea’, adds David. ‘If you go to a shop, more than often nothing says ‘look at me, I’m giving you the option of choosing something different’. Through these creatures, we are showing people how we see the world and are inviting them to join us in that experience’.
Available at the following outlets: Mememe - Long street, CT | The Space – JHB | Misfit – Long Street, CT | Hand – Waterkant, CT| Mememe – Wembley Square, CT
Wrapped in auras of quiet content, even the faceless among them seem to whisper ‘pick me’.
Johannesburg illustrator-slash-designer Jason Masters is on a creative mission to define his own style. Along the way he rounds up elements of different styles, bending and twisting them into a blend of borrowed components that collectively form their own uniqueness. By Simon Dingle
master bear-wrangler According to Masters, illustration and design work are a battle; a struggle to satisfy clients, produce original work and satisfy his own interests. It’s the problem solving, in fact, that Masters claims to attract him to the field in the first place. It’s not that illustration isn’t fun, but it sometimes needs to be wrangled into cooperation… kind of like a bear. “Take comic-book illustration, for example,” he says. “Figuring out a flow for stories in comics, especially when working with a writer, is challenging and fun at the same time.” Previously only working with comics for the hell of it, Masters got seriously involved in the medium when he tried his hand at corporate comic illustration for the first time as part of a Cell C campaign that explained mobile number portability. “This work opened up a whole new challenge in illustration to me,” he recalls. “Clients know what they want and it’s up to you to make those ideas work for them. In comics a strong element of storytelling is present, and this accelerates the creative and interpretive challenge even more.” The story telling tradition of comics lends itself to cultural identity and fresh interpretations of old tales. “This is something which isn’t made use of enough in South Africa,” laments Masters. “We have an amazing story telling culture in this country, but I don’t feel like it is explored enough in the realm of comics… or in general really.” Exploring comics in an international context led Masters to enter Comic Book Idols – an American-run competition for comic creators. “Not the most original of names, but a tough competition nonetheless. We had to upload new comic pieces every few days and these were voted for on an ongoing basis,” he explains. Masters had also already been printed in a few foreign comics, mostly due to fan-work submissions.
“But the competition led to a lot of my comic illustration work being out there on the Internet,” he continues. “Because of this, American comic writer Brandon Thomas got hold of them and contacted me to work on a project with him that involved three issues being prepared up front for Image Comics in the states.” Again, the challenge on offer lured Masters into a creative relationship with the established writer. The story behind the series and more specifically its hero – a strong, black role model, was another pull factor. “The black hero is one of the lesser explored characters in comics and when they are used in stories, it’s usually in a less believable and extremely exaggerated form. But this character is powerful, yet believable and aspirational without being over the top,” he enthuses. one small seed brought another challenge to the master for an illustration commissioned especially for this issue. This led to the illustration of himself wrestling a bear. “I had a hard time deciding what to do for the mag… it’s often hard to figure out what the hell you’re doing in illustration,” he says. “It came down to combining bears with illustration, building around the idea that sometimes you have to fight with it to make it work. I guess I could always be a bear wrangler if I don’t make it as an illustrator.”
The freshness and diversity of his designs and illustrations are driven by this constant stylistic exploration. He has already made it, however, being hired by Net#work BBDO as an art director while still completing his diploma in Graphic Design at Wits Technikon. Now operating from his home studio, he still works with the company on a freelance basis. It was in this capacity that he worked on the Opel campaign with Jonathan Santana. The resulting print-advertisements earned the team a Bronze award at the Loeries – something he’s not incredibly chuffed about. “I suppose it’s better than a kick in the face, though,” he says. Masters’ illustration work is often very detailed, although he admires simplicity. We agree that simplicity in detail is possible and can be very pleasing. “The idea of getting everything across in a single line appeals to me,” he says. “I’m still on a journey to find my own style. I use a combination of many styles, blending and adapting them into my work.” The freshness and diversity of his designs and illustrations are driven by this constant stylistic exploration. Master’s other work includes an illustration of local all-girl hip hop outfit Godessa, which appeared in the South African special edition of Dazed and Confused magazine, and an intricate illustration portraying the nine levels of hell for a corporate client. “They want me to add a tenth layer now,” says Masters, with a sigh. “It’s supposed to go below the bottom one – like hell could get any kakker.”
Above and right: Piece of the Street, for Design Indaba.
disturbance design from the Hart By Jenna Mervis
It’s confirmed, Durbanites are Janus creatures with two faces for the world. The laid back pleasant face that lures one into catching a wave and soaking up the famous East Coast sun. And just as one’s lulled into a holiday stupor, the head swivels and one is suddenly pinned by the singular, focused, wildly imaginative eye of the other. Creativity exudes from one such face in the form of Disturbance Design Studio. Co-founded by Richard Hart and his sister Susie. Almost 10 years on Disturbance has grown a third partner – Roger Jardine – and also a reputation for creative, sometimes bizarre concepts, honest design and inspired illustration. Hart describes their design style as lacking in restraint. “I think we have something of a “kitchen sink” style – happily throwing everything in and just revelling in the “making” of the work,” he explains.
Disturbance has a reputation for creative, sometimes bizarre concepts, honest design and inspired illustration. Certainly, in the initial concept stage, their imagination is far from stoppered. But in implementation, there is an astute, subtle presence which guides the design and shows definite spatial and visual restraint. Call it a kind of awareness. Take, for example, the covers of Ben Trovato’s (mis)guides to golf, etiquette, security and angling. Disturbance has created a tempered container that exudes wit. The use of patterning – fish net, golf plaid, fencing – is simple and graphic. There is an intentional use of mock-classical seriousness here that highlights the rich satire contained within. Various influences have played a large part in moulding Hart’s design approach. “Travelling was a big influence on me. It’s good to immerse yourself in other cultures, put yourself out of your comfort zone,” he comments. Being tossed from the comfortable couch of the familiar is a disturbing side-effect of Disturbance’s creations. So when approached to design an album cover for ex-Durban band, and close friends, Deluxe, Hart’s response, though somewhat unconventional, was not a complete surprise.
Above: Deluxe CD cover. Right: Torsten Fehsenfeld detail from the Deluxe CD cover. Below: Durban International Film Festival Poster, 2006. Overleaf: Illustration - â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Menâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. All images courtesy of Disturbance Design.
“I had an idea of doing portraits of the band members with deformities and disfigurations, but at the same time making them really serene and beautiful. Either personal vanity, good sense or both, made the band reel me in a bit, the result being these mildly unsettling portraits. For once the success of the design here rested on its simplicity.” Again it is Hart’s measure of self-control that gives these portraits such presence. They are intriguing and wholly captivating. There’s the initial glance, then the ‘that-can’t-be-Thorsten-Fehsenfeld’s-arm-resting-onhis-chin double-take and, finally, the scrutinising study where one finds oneself thinking either Durbanites are really odd-looking or that is a damn fine piece of design. Whether he is illustrating cyclopean film-buffs flying over Durban’s coastline for the Durban Film Festival poster or designing a clothes moose – “a clothes horse with an identity crisis” – to keep his wardrobe off the bedroom floor, Hart imprints each creation with a touch of playfulness. One should never underestimate the importance of humour. Serious design is quickly forgotten. It’s the carefully constructed pieces of wit which linger on in memory and trigger that little smile weeks, months, years later – it’s like a design flashback. And for design junkies like me, Disturbance Design is the ultimate creative fix.
PROFESSIONALS REGISTER HERE The Professional’s “Flash Pass” helps you to make the most of the three day symposium.
An excellent networking forum for illustrators, photographers and editorial graphic designers ... and a great opportunity for the right audience to view a wide variety of artwork in a fast paced and entertaining format. Be a part of it.
www.colophon2007.com/show In Luxembourg, magazine makers, art directors, photographers, illustrators, journalists, brand managers, students and a larger public will come together for a three-day-event including exhibitions, talks and parties.
WORLDWIDE ONLINE DIRECTORY OF POP CULTURE STYLE MAGAZINES
ONLINE DIRECTORY Browse through the online directory and suggest any missing magazines.
WE LOVE MAGAZINES BOOK
Designed by Jeremy Leslie and edited by Andrew Losowsky, the book is being specially created for the symposium. With groundbreaking visuals and contributions from around the world, it will include in-depth features about all aspects of magazinecreation, a worldwide magazine directory and an international guide to distribution.
STAY TUNED Produced by Mike Koedinger in collaboration with Casino Luxembourg – forum d’art contemporain
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This project is labelled «Luxembourg and Greater Region, European Capital of Culture 2007», placed under the High Patronage of their Royal Highnesses the Grand Duke and the Grand Duchess of Luxembourg.
BIZART.LU Backgroung Guest Artist : Christina Koutsospyrou www.dieforlove.co.uk
INTERNATIONAL MAGAZINE SYMPOSIUM AND EXHIBITIONS
09-11.03.2007 LUXEMBOURG www.colophon2007.com
irrational rational kind of mind As humans, we are generally philosophical, always searching for deeper meaning. We can spend hours in art galleries analysing the significance of every brush stroke. However, Donovan Pugh demonstrates that design doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t always require that extra underlying layer of deeper significance. Sometimes itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fun, simply functional or dare I say, irrational. By Cara Messias
Donovan is a designer for Open Group new media agency. Fellow pupils would pay him to design on top of their tin pencil cases. Now, at 25, he utilises the same enthusiasm to create his unique illustrations described as, “bubble gum candy, playful, crazy stuff.” With a relaxed attitude towards design, he produces light-hearted, comical work. “If I do something that doesn’t make me chuckle inside then it doesn’t work for me.” He’s a freethinker who believes in following intuition rather than fleeting design trends and mass appeal. “What I’m into is quite niche and I don’t expect the masses to love it. I believe in what I’m doing and so, just do it anyway.”
As a result of his â&#x20AC;&#x153;irrational rational kind of mind,â&#x20AC;? he is hard to pin down. While he maintains that design is a powerful tool that should communicate, he also rebels by making it rudimentary or arbitrary. What does it mean? Nothing! Furthermore, he swings between creating pieces that are deliberately messy and sloppy or super clean and surgical. Despite these fluctuations, he has a signature design style which, as noted by his colleague, you could recognise in a public toilet. His simple illustrations are made up of monochromatic, overlapping shapes, tints and shades, repetitions, clean lines and bold characters.
‘Koop,’ as in ‘buy this design’, is the succinct name of his design collaboration with Ross Drakes. Along with other designers and fine artist, Koop showcased a piece at a ‘New Suburbia’ exhibition at Platform on 18 in Pretoria. Their design, titled ‘Sold,’ commented on capitalism, greed, corruption and the perversion of the world. It portrays an imaginative universe full of materialistic lunatics and absurd perverts, where almost every character has a story (some are arbitrary of course). Each exhibitor also created an alphabetical letter for packs of postcards that were sold at the exhibition. When asked about the ‘deeper’ meaning behind Koop’s letter k, Donovan stated, “We were just playing around having fun.”
Another one of Donovan’s personal projects involves orchestrating experimental music parties. ‘Eatmagic’ was one such event. He created a fat lipped character for the promotional flyers as well as 12 extensions of the same character that were displayed at the clubs door. Attendees then picked their favourite artwork which they took home on single cards. In addition to design, Donovan is working on his first solo album which will be a fusion of experimental jazz, break-beats, electronica and vocals (“butt jigging, dance floor stuff”). The enjoyment that goes into creating Donovan’s illustrations is evident. It permeates his work. Each person may infer their own logic behind his playful designs. He simply does what he thinks is right; what makes sense to him.
see ideas Presented by
Alex Steffen, Amanda Levete, Andrew Stevens, Brian Eno, Cameron Sinclair Daljit Singh, Prof. Dave Watkins, David Lachapelle, Greg Lynn, Hella Jongerius Jasper Morrison, Jurgen Bey, Keith Helfet, Konstantin Grcic, Marc Bouwer Neil Gershenfeld, Paul Davis, Peter Frankfurt, Roger Martin, Ruudt Peters Simon Waterfall, Tobias Frere-Jones, Wally Olins UNDER
please visit www.designindaba.com
Simmering beneath the designer-boy-next-door exterior of illustrator Dylan Jones is a creative cauldron of pure talent, subtly flavoured with music, art and religion, writes Jenna Mervis. Dylan works as a graphic designer for Futurestate – a web design partnership with Brendan Goosen. With 8 years of graphic design under his belt however, he has begun to gain recognition as an emerging illustration talent. Initially, illustration was a hobby, “just for fun”, something he would do outside of work hours. In his spare time he would design sticker art and create characters with computer software. Works such as Yo and Rock ‘n Roll are some of the first characters he developed. These are industrial illustrations which offer a critical interpretation of the hip-hop and rockabilly culture. From the onset, the influence of music and the darker side of popular culture has been evident in his work. “I try to focus on the rough side of life, the other side of the tracks. My characters are never really pretty. Their features contain elements of rappers, prisons and prison tattoos.” Illustrating for Blunt magazine enabled him to build a portfolio and led to various client commissions. These in turn encouraged him to expand stylistically – resulting in the more feminine ‘gang of girls’ for Sportscene and the manga-style samurai warrior woman for Iron Fist. “I like to push all styles,” Dylan adds, “I don’t like to work in just one style. Obviously, this helps commercially.” Dylan gives one the feeling that illustration just happens to him, a kind of Divine Inspiration that Creates on his behalf. Look to the illustrations, though and they tell a very different story – one of definite influences and conscious choices of colour, words and symbolism. His characters certainly don’t wander in the Garden of Eden waiting for divine intervention – they are themselves the intervention, the commentary on music, art and religion – Dylan’s primary influences and driving muses.
Dylan’s interest in art, particularly the resistance art of the 80’s and early 90’s, began while he was still at school. “I used to collect posters after demonstrations in town when I was a kid. I used to go and watch the demos and this inspired a lot of my school art.” “I love all kinds of art. I think graffiti inspires me a lot. I’ve always loved it, how it started, how it has evolved and keeps on evolving. The fact that it is outside of what society deems acceptable. Political art in general also inspires me – art with a message.” St. Reetartist and St. Vandalism clearly convey a specific message. The two figures seem to occupy an ethereal realm claiming validation and recognition in their alternative art fields. Based on the concept of patron saints, they use the idea of traditional religion to challenge accepted notions of what constitutes art.
Dylan gives one the feeling that illustration just happens to him, a kind of Divine Inspiration that Creates on his behalf. Whether with the murmur of a halo (Take Warning) or a dog collared pastor (Emotional Air Raids Exhausted My Heart), religion is an important influence to Dylan’s illustration. “I am a Christian, so that often plays itself out in some of my art. It’s very important to me and inspires me to keep improving myself.” Emotional Air Raids is based on one of Dylan’s sketches. The sketch is scanned into Photoshop® and illustrated in detail. The final image is then taken into Illustrator® and traced into vectors. Stylistically, it is a round-about way to create a vector illustration, but it is through this process that his characters ‘grow’ and develop emotional maturity. The ghoulish pastor hovers beneath church spires and ghosts, holding a line from one of Morissey’s songs. “Music plays a massive part in my life and work. It is my main source of inspiration when I’m working – I always have my headphones on. I listen to everything – reggae , punk rock, hardcore, country, rockabilly, folk, indie… whatever my mood dictates.” Clearly there is more to illustration than simply divine inspiration and the invisible muse. There’s the obvious talent in harnessing a tool – whether pen or mouse – and then there’s the subconscious, a melting pot of influences from music, to religion, to politics, to a childhood memory… Dylan Jones harnesses all of these and the end creations articulate his life narrative more effectively than a thousand words ever could.
website reviews By Zane Henry
www.luvgalz.com Jislaaik! What an intro! When visiting ‘Luvgalz : Worldwide Graphic Tribute to Girls’ be sure to be wearing a neck-brace because your head is sure to be whirling. A pounding electro track steams out as images of beautiful women are thrown at the viewer like blazing declarations of femininity. It’s cinematic and cyber, dramatic and dynamic, beautiful and brazen. The site is a self-proclaimed tribute to femininity where artists can contribute various designs developed around a common theme: the feminine character. These can take the form of graphic designs, illustrations and photos. The coolest bit is the dressing room where you can dress your own sprite from head to toe as you see fit. An awesome site that more than lives up to its manifesto.
5nak is the online portfolio of off-thewall designer Andrey Akishev. Not content with an antiseptic corporate vehicle, the Russian whiz uses Flash as an artistic tool in the construction of a bogglingly beautiful website. The most striking aspect is its glorious minimalism and savvy use of negative space. The entire site is built around a vertically integrated homepage with seven drop-down menus. ‘Graphics’ stores thumbnails of Akishev’s art which can be viewed in their original sizes and even bought online. ‘Design’ contains examples of his work from CD’s to logotypes to T-shirts. ‘Aerosol’ sheds light on his beloved spray-painting while ‘Photography’ chronicles his foray with his Nikon Coolpix 4300.
lonely finger You remember that brilliant 5FM ad with the unnervingly mobile but painfully lonely finger? Well, Lonely Finger is now a star in (his? her? its?) own right. Gloo, the designers who collaborated with ad agency Net#work, in the uber-clever campaign have given the depressed digit its own site geared towards elucidating all that is lonely and all that is finger. The humour is jet-black and will make you wince and laugh in equal measure. The site is littered with sardonically funny little poems and left-field maxims. In the ‘Help Me Put On A Happy Face’ section Finger is coddled with a picture of cute puppies and exclaims, “Yippee, loveable friends… that will probably end up in a Chinese restaurant.” Not for the faint at heart. www.lonelyfinger.com/start.asp
www.dqbooks.com DQ Books greets you with a choice between French, English and Japanese before plunging you into a world predicated on unbridled creativity and tightly controlled insanity. It’s a ‘variable geometry project’ spawned by designers Festo and Telmolindo wherein they and their friends can express themselves without fear of censorship or attenuation. Their collections are sorted into digital books replete with flipping pages and spine indentations. It’s an absolute joy paging through these ‘books’ as the beautiful designs assault your eyes. These range from gritty critiques on consumerist culture to esoteric meditations on human frailty in varying media. French composer Avril augments the stirring visuals with haunting soundscapes. All in all it’s less of a website and more of an experience.
Layout by Tanielle Bell
In the previous issue, we called upon all Photographers, Designers, Illustrators and Visual Artists to participate in this competition by creating an original piece of work using the theme ‘personal vision for your creative future’ and incorporating something of themselves into the piece (figuratively or metaphorically). The aim was to explore and express the theme in an unique and personal way, by communicating their relationship with their work, and what their creative future holds. We’d like to thank everyone for participating. After a difficult deliberation, three winners were selected for their combination of skill, expressive nature and overall aesthetic of their work. We are showcasing the winners, and selected entries in the subsequent pages, starting with the first prize winner Simone Rossum. She will receive a full Adobe Creative Suite 2. The second prize goes to Dean Thompson. He will receive two Adobe software packages, Photoshop® CS2 and Illustrator® CS2. And the third prize goes to Simon Pienaar. He will receive one Adobe software package, Photoshop® CS2. All prizes are courtesy of Adobe. A further selection of entries are on our website, visit
1st prize winner
Simone Rossum Having worked in the Advertising Industry for almost two years now, I have come to realise that creativity is something that needs to be nurtured. One can easily become passionless and uninspired about design, if you are not in the right environment. That is precisely why I made it my mission to be part of an agency that helps me cultivate my talents and puts creativity above all else. I started hunting and found an opportunity in one of the leading creative agencies in South Africa. This bold career move helped me to discover and define my vision for my creative future. Rationale of my entry: I decided to interpret my vision through the use of tarot cards. As with the dawning of any new day, there is a lot of uncertainty about what the future will hold. This uncertainty is depicted in the white backdrop of my design. Some cards are turned over and some are yet to be revealed. The ‘wheel of fortune’ card with the by-line: ‘with the turn of a new page, uncertainty reigns’ strengthens this notion.
On the opposite side, I foresee a reawakening of the passion I have for design, to let ‘passionless days be no more’. The floral patterns suggest a creative unravelling, growth and nurturing of my talent. The card, which reads: ‘Let it unfold, grow, unravel, ignite’ attests to this vision. I have represented myself in the background of this card, as the high priestess. Linked to my creative growth, I foresee myself moving up in the ranks of creativity and making a name for myself in the industry. The owl, a symbol of wisdom, strength and perseverance portrays my life-long ambition of ‘reaching new heights’. I have recently started exploring my deep love for singing and writing music – and see myself nurturing this creative passion a lot more in the future. The card ‘let the songbird come out at night’ seeks to unveil this deep yearning.
1 ÂŚ Simone Rossum, Designer Joe Public
2nd prize winner
3rd prize winner
I tried to illustrate my future realistically, from where I am presently to where I aspire to be.
I’m not a New Age hippy…and I’m not in therapy, (often) that said I do feel a schizophrenic pulling apart of the various elements that are Simon Pienaar. The image you’ve just seen represents my hope for a future where my mind and life can find themselves in a unified and unrestrained creative existence.
I wanted to take you on a journey, showing all the hurdles along the way, depicting my frustrations, the things that hold me back and my unwavering determination to bring my goal closer to realisation. By 2010, I hope to be an Art / Movie Director, making films in Cape Town, but I know I will have to do it on my own without any help from those around me. Realistically my creative future will be tough and a lot of hard work, but the journey, and the final fulfillment of my goal will be worth it.
2 ¦ Dean Thompson, Junior Designer
The image represents me trying to reach the higher levels of my creativity, achieving a personal divinity in my self-expression. While money’s great and sex is fantastic, there is nothing quite like giving birth to a artwork. I believe that creativity is the fuel that keeps civilisation charging up mount Olympus. My vision for my creative future? To express myself
3 ÂŚ Simon Pienaar, Photographer / Designer
4 ¦ Piet Alberts Clay Ant Creative : Brand Design
6 ¦ Richard Myburgh Alexander Forbes Financial Services
5 ¦ Sean Smith, Art Director Chemistry
7 ¦ Michael Fitzmaurice 451°media
8 ¦ Brett Rubin, Photographer Street Heart
117 11 ¦ Joanne McLaren
9 ¦ Quasiem Gamiet Cape Media
12 ¦ Matthew Cooper, Creative Director Z° Zero Degrees Advertising 10 ¦ Julia Fell, Student Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography
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Cape Town’s most prominent artist, Buffy Brave Art, is sizing me up from the opposite end of the table. I say most prominent because it is very likely that on a daily basis Buffy’s work is seen by more people than any of the resident artists in the National Gallery. By SD 3000
He is responsible for the faces on the walls at Marvel, Mama Africa, the ever-changing artwork at Rafiki’s and even Caprice (which has now been painted over). “I live for the moment, that’s why it doesn’t bother me if one of the pieces gets painted over – I prefer it that way”, he says. Buffy lived on the streets for years, a result of dodging the army. He was addicted to heroin for 8 years, was a prostitute and scavenged for food and bits of paper to draw on. Down and out in Jo’burg, Durban, PE, Knysna and Cape Town his story sounds like the London pavement scribers in a George Orwell novel. When he finally handed himself in after years on the run, the police didn’t have a clue who he was. “It was a girlfriend who got me off the streets. She used to pay me R50 to fuck her but then she got arrested for hijacking a SAB truck and killing the driver in Khayelitsha.” Mama Africa helped him get off the junk in what he refers to as a schizophrenic time of his life.
It’s clear he loves women, I mean he really loves women – and they seem to have a soft spot for him too. While we’re doing the interview one of the waitresses hovers around – “I was with her this weekend” he nods, “my bed is on this platform and it broke so she came crashing through it” he laughs. “Women are number one, I always paint people I know, mainly women, some guys like tits, ass, boobs – I look at the pussy. I used to work on this mural outside Pickwicks and there was this beautiful German girl working there, I wanted to paint her so I used to run down, look at her and then run up again to finish the picture” After a mural is done he would lead the girl to it and show her the painting, which according to him would always impress them. “Is that the only reason you do it?” I ask. “No, but it’s a great way in” he replies with a smile.
Buffy sees his work as graff, even though he paints with a brush. He says he hates that graffiti artists have this elitist view that you have to use a spraycan. “No matter how you do it, just get it on the wall is my view”, he says. He’s a self-proclaimed undercover masochist. He has the Celtic horn god Cernunnos tattooed on his stomach. I ask him about these tribal influences, which feel present in all his paintings. “It’s all Celtic, it’s my roots” he replies, “my real name means patriarch, male domination”. Where does Buffy come from? I wanted to know. “That’s also a name that’s been with me from birth, my mother used to listen to this singer called Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Native American who used to sing Welsh ballads. If I was born a girl, my name would have been Buffy”. I ask him whether he likes the Native American Spur murals. He looks at me incredulously but then replies with a smile: “I would find an engineer and ask him whether or not he is a vegetarian. If he says no I’ll ask him to build a cannon that can fit an elephant. I would load the elephant in the cannon and shoot it at the Spur mural”. “Isn’t that a bit violent?” I wanted to know. ‘Violence’ being another theme that comes to the fore in some of his paintings. “There is room for violence in society but people are afraid of it. When you live in the moment like me, it comes with violence, you can’t think of the outcome or how it will affect people because then you’re not truly living the moment. I love life but I don’t believe in karma, it ruins your day.”
conrad botes attacking from within By Tamar Mason ÂŚ Images supplied by Conrad Botes
Conrad Botes was born in 1969 in the Western Cape. Part of his childhood was spent living in a prefab house on the edge of the Gariep Dam. Listening to Botes tell stories of the characters that peopled his childhood world one can see how he has been able to develop his eye for targeting the soft underbelly of Afrikaanerdom and by extension South African culture. It does not take much to imagine Botes out on Commando during the Boer War and it is this dichotomy between who he physically is and his mental space that makes his work so powerful. Together with Anton Kannemeyer, Botes is one of the founders of Bitterkomix, a rude almost abusive, cutting publication which the two started as students to jolt the establishment and enliven the lives of their gleeful peers, and which they still publish regularly. The Bitterkomix publications, still distributed personally by Botes and Kannemeyer, have grown to be something of a national institution. Botes proudly relates how one of their comics was the first publication to be banned in the free South Africa, and Claudette Schreuders tells how Kannemeyer and Botes were able to keep their supply of beer going through university with the sale of postcards that they made from Bittercomix Botes’ own favourite description of his work reads: “The sharp lines of his figuration coupled with the bold strident colours, the juxtaposition of symbols and subjects, serve to amplify the contradictions and exigencies of South African culture and society. Racial conflict, economic and religious status symbols, false values and cultural mystifications are at the centre of Botes’ crude, ironic, yet naïve attacks.” This extract comes from the catalogue of ‘In Fumo’, curated by Giacinto Pietrantonio.
Conrad Botes indisputably proves his status as ‘torchbearer of the Post-Pop movement in South Africa’ Botes elaborates: “With the comics, we’re dealing very specifically with a South African audience who know what we’re referring to. Originally we write them in Afrikaans, so many of the references are to things in Afrikaans culture. The paintings I make are much more personal. I can explain them if I have to - but I’d much rather not. People can formulate their own ideas about the work. I do them in a certain way that I enjoy so much and I hope other people will enjoy them too.” The Big Bad Bitterkomix Handbook was recently launched. The book contains a retrospective of colour Bitterkomix work as well as work by Botes and Kannemeyer. ‘We’ve decided to revamp the comics too, add a lot more colour pages and upgrade it from the floppy little booklets they used to be. And we’re using new publishers as opposed to publishing them ourselves’ says Conrad. Buy the book and engage with the sticky pink underbelly of our somewhat deranged society. Together with the book and his monoprints, silkscreens, lithographs and other work on paper, Conrad Botes indisputably proves his status as ‘torchbearer of the Post-Pop movement in South Africa’, according to Alet Voster from Art on Paper.
Botes mocks conventional notions of individualism and ‘humanism’, ranging from romantic love to self-flagellation. With his icons of atavistic males and females, including the ‘tortured soul’ and the femme fatale, Botes mocks conventional notions of individualism and ‘humanism’, ranging from romantic love to self-flagellation. Botes has been portrayed in critical literature as the ‘posthuman’ artist par excellence (Ashraf Jamal, 2004). That said, he gives the sweet sentimentality, typical of many of Post-Pop’s practitioners, a bittersweet edge in his latest work. Botes uses Post-Pop’s preference for ‘sugary infantilism’ to reflect on contemporary society. In such a society, religion is irreverent, violence is desirable, sadism institutionalised, and the individual triumphant in his existential crisis. Botes’ work achieves an interesting fusion of the pastoral with contemporary realities and aesthetics: flowers are often wounds in his works and birds are harbingers of doom. Detached hands refer to creativity (extract from The Rat in Art, a catalogue published by Erdmann Contemporary).
Conrad Botes’s work is represented in both local and international collections including the Sanlam Collection, Michaelis Collection, Johannesburg Art Gallery, The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) New York, Art Omi Collection (NYC) and the Francis Greenburger Collection (NYC). He has exhibited extensively throughout South Africa and internationally including exhibitions in Italy, The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, England and Germany. In 2004 he was awarded the VitaArt award and in 2006 he participated in the Havanna Biennale. Published courtesy of www.artprintsa.com
They may not want to admit to it but everyone knows at least one Blondie song. It’s easy to underestimate the pervasiveness of songs like ‘The Tide is High’ (curse that Atomic Kitten bastardisation) or ‘Heart of Glass’ but Blondie were always uber-canny pop tarts. In her day, Deborah Harry was the coolest girl you’d never sleep with. Nobody before or since has exuded such an effortless coolness and with-it-ness. With Greatest Video Hits, we get to see the band at the height of their powers. You’ll have to forgive the 80’s production quality (remember, it was still an emerging art-form). Watch them embrace disparate genres as pop, punk, reggae and funk while making it entirely their own. ZH
Moloko: 11,000 Clicks Category: Music
11,000 Clicks documents Brit electro/pop outfit Moloko playing the final gig of their year long 2003 European tour at the Brixton Academy. Their highly-charged performance is electrified by vocalist Róisín Murphy’s striking stagepresence and provocative panache. It’s the closest you’ll get to actually being at the concert. 17 additional live tracks include chart-topping singles ‘Sing It Back’ and ‘The Time is Now.’ Ed’s Film (keyboardist Eddie Stevens’ 24 hour rockumentary) blights the collection with cringeworthy kitsch and makes a career as a tollgate money-collector look more scintillating than rock ‘n roll. Sadly, his tour de force is a yodelling session by a Viennese fruit peddler. BB
Blondie: Greatest Video Hits
on d Brend Henry an by Zane
Depeche Mode were always the unlikeliest super-stars. At first thought, their synth-pop doesn’t seem conducive to massive venues. But somehow, they’ve become premier stadium rockers and with Depeche Mode 101, we get a glimpse of why. The first disc is the story of eight fans who won an opportunity to travel across the country and hang out with the band. It’s a fun ‘real world’ vibe as we meet the kids and get into the psyche of Depeche Mode fans. Disc two captures their performance at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena. David Gahan is a masterful frontman whipping through the iridescent lighting. This is a tour film of note split across two discs and captures the band in all their flouncy-shirted 80’s glory.
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Depeche Mode 101
Directed by: Steven Spielberg Starring: Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Ciaran Hinds, Mathieu Kassovitz, Geoffrey Rush Category: Drama
Munich deals with the aftermath of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics. While the world recoils in horror, Israel’s secret service agency dispatches a hit squad to track down those responsible for the tragedy. But along with their successes come questions of the morality of their mission. The cast is lead by Eric Bana and rounded out with Daniel Craig (Mr Bond, I presume, trying valiantly to pull off a South African accent), Geoffrey Rush and Ciaran Hinds. The film tries to maintain a high level of reality by incorporating handheld shots and avoiding non-diegetic music but is let down by a couple of contrived scenes belabouring the central themes of nationhood, honour and humanity. ZH
Directed by: Richard Shepard Starring: Pierce Brosnan, Greg Kinnear, Hope Davis, Philip Baker Hall Category: Comedy/Drama A hitman and a salesman walk into a bar… Sounds like the beginning of a joke but it’s actually the inspired premise for this jet-black comedy/thriller. Julian Noble (Pierce Brosnan) is a socially retarded professional assassin. He suffers from panic attacks when he should be pulling the trigger and Freudian flashbacks when he should be stabbing. He strikes up an unlikely friendship with straight-laced salesman Danny Wright (Greg Kinnear). Brosnan is brilliant with his ambiguous morality and cheesy moustache. James Bond is well and truly dead to him as we watch him stride across a hotel lobby in nothing other than cowboy boots and a saggy Speedo. ZH
Directed by: Osvaldo Cavandoli Starring: La Linea, the hand of Osvaldo Cavandoli Voice by: Carlo Bonomi Category: Animation/Comedy This eccentric cartoon phenomenon, ‘La linea’ was conceived by Italian satirical cartoonist Osvaldo Cavandoli in 1969. It is a masterpiece of graphic and rhythmic essentiality and the 2-3 minute episodes were used as fillers on TV where most of us met the protagonist of the series; this cantankerous little fellow is rather animated for someone occupying two dimensions and he speaks a lively invective of gibberish and nonsensical guttural tones while overcoming certain obstacles. At a time when the most cutting edge animations that graced our TV sets were Tom and Jerry or something from Disneyland, ‘La Linea’ represents taking design to the next level. This is a Collector’s item for anyone in design. BB
film-maker GREGG WATT
crossing lines with ‘cross line’ By Zinaid Meeran Photography by Gareth Stead
Cape Town filmmaker Gregg Watt is a selfconfessed lover of classical cinema. “I should have been born forty or fifty years ago,” he declares with a wistful grin. However, he also claims Jean-Luc Godard’s apostate Breathless, the flagship of the rebellious French New Wave, as his favourite film. It is this hybridisation of the orthodoxy of classical film style with the self-conscious experimentation of New Wave cinema which makes Gregg Watt’s award-winning films as much accessible entertainment as existential exploration. Watt’s short films Line of Fire (2001), The Dashing Diner (2003) and Cross Line (currently in postproduction) all involve lonely characters soldiering on in apparently hopeless worlds. Cross Line is particularly dark, with a cop haunted by phone calls from people he has killed. As Watt explains, “I like to portray characters who are isolated and alone.” He cites the innovator of classical film style, Alfred Hitchcock, as well as film noir, the
genre which exemplifies the lonely hero in a dark world of clipped conversation and silent action, as influences on his filmmaking. On the other hand, the seemingly intractable alienation from society experienced by Watt’s characters, as well as slow meditative long shots, detailed but enigmatic action and the occasional flurry of camera movement, also evoke the rebellious lament typical of André Bresson, Francois Truffaut, Godard and other French New Wave filmmakers. Watt describes his films, particularly Cross Line, as located in a netherworld which is strikingly “no place”. He provides few cultural reference points by which a viewer could fix the location of the narrative. For Watt this emphasises the dislocation of his characters and unsettles the viewer, “makes them work a little”. But, his film world seems less “no place” as an amalgam of the Anglophone western world.
short film CROSS LINE
Unintentionally, his films expose the globalisation of a Western-dominated pop culture. Watt intends to infuse the planned feature version of Cross Line with more South African flavour. Another feature project he is currently developing, Touch of Madness, will be squarely rooted in South African culture. Watt seems willing to enter the cash-injected playpen that is mainstream cinema. He is slated to direct a $3 million American creature feature to be shot in Canada called Brood X. However, he prefers to shoot in a light, mobile documentary style. Watt plans to shoot Touch of Madness with improvised dialogue and “only as much equipment that would fit in a van”. As Watt points out, “The thing about American cinema is they strive so much for perfection they tend to lose the freshness and the originality that comes from making mistakes. We need the freedom to experiment here in South Africa.” He ends his sentence, as always, with a generous smile.
The meeting of the traditional and the innovative comes to the fore again in Watt’s love of film stock on the one hand and the internet on the other. He prefers the warm glow of film to the cold pinprick mosaic of the digital video image, but he eagerly anticipates the internet-based distribution of film. He illustrates his vision with reference to Steven Soderbergh and George Clooney’s Section 8, which, though relying on the traditional medium of 35mm film and mainstream distribution, has also ventured into internet exhibition. Watt’s talent at blending the mainstream and the avant-garde could prove to his advantage as South Africa’s film culture becomes increasingly conventional. The openness to innovation evident in the late nineties and earlier this decade seems to be floundering in a film industry increasingly organised by bankers wielding flow charts and ledgers. Watt’s films, which manage to negotiate the fine line between artistic self-reflection and the rollicking carnival ride that is mainstream cinema, could prove a welcome antidote.
THE END www.greggwatt.com
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Other pet projects include a slick-looking website for Axe, a collaboration with Praekelt Consulting, and an online extension of YDE’s Dick & Jane campaign for safe sex. Both won Bronze birdie’s at the Loeries earlier this year, while a website they created for a local band, The Dirty Skirts, (of which David is also the guitarist), was a finalist at the Design Indaba’s Construction New Media Awards which is considered an award in itself. It is however, the website they created for Samsung’s range of MP3 players that collected the Gold and the coveted Grand Prix runner-up award at the same award ceremony. The site allowed users to mix and share their own house and hip hop tracks, vote for and receive votes on their tracks and finally hear the winning tracks played on 5fm radio. When I quiz Mark about the work he’s most proud of, he mentions the internal website they created for Coca-Cola to assist in the launch of their new ‘Coke side of life’ campaign. It’s really great doing something radical for such a big corporate brand’, he says. And it is radical, featuring a farting monster dog and scary looking ‘stretchy’ penguin, but this ties in well with the brand’s current surrealist ‘inside the vending machine’ ads. This particular piece of work can only be viewed from within the company.
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tales from the dark side MTKidu combine fine-art, animation, design and music in kicking at the boundaries of conventional music publishing. By Simon Dingle ¦ Graphics by MTKidu
The duo of Murray Turpin (MT) and Nicholas Nesbitt (Kidu), better known as MTKidu, bring together fine-art, Flash animation, design and electronic music. The cross-pollination of their creative talents culminated in the release of their first album, tftd 0.5 (Tales from the Dark). The release has earned the team some die-hard fans, as have their not-to-be-missed live shows that combine animation and sound production. “So I’m the art fag and Nick is the design homo,” adds Turpin. “And we met when I was dating Nick’s sister.” At the time, they were both experimenting with music production. “I began as a DJ, playing hip hop and break-beats, music production came as kind of a natural progression from there,” says Turpin. Nesbitt’s entry into music came at the age of 16 when he played in a pop-punk band called the Shirley Temples. When the band split up he turned to producing music on his own from his bedroom. The MTKidu team nine-to-five as creatives for hire, mostly producing soundscapes for commercials. Turpin does commissions on the side and is represented by Moja Modern, the contemporary gallery in Johannesburg, while Nesbitt does Flash animation and website design for clients. “The tftd 0.5 album brings together all of these disciplines, fusing electronic music with fine art, Flash animation and music,” says Nesbitt. “It represents the beginning of a series of works we plan to release.” The duo explain that they started out using Turpin’s collection of children’s fairy-tale vinyls to create their own narratives, carried by electronic music. The idea of combining evil characters from various fairy tales was appealing. Eventually, they arrived at the idea of combining evil characters they had created with actual historical figures from South Africa’s past. “Our country’s history is filled with colourful, interesting and even villainous characters,” says Turpin. “So we created a place where they all come together called The Dark Continent.”
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In the year 2002, Max Normal was the biggest South African Hip-Hop band in the country. They head-lined all the major South African Music Festivals, including Oppikoppi, The Easter Rock Festival, and The North Sea Jazz Festival. They toured Europe, collaborated live with such acts as Blackalicious and Nelly Furtado. They were on the front covers of all the magazines, and all over the TV and the radio. Then, at the peak of their fame, they broke up, breaking the hearts of all their devoted fans. Four years later, Max is back with a strange look in his eye.
DC: WHY DID THE ORIGINAL MAX NORMAL GROUP SPLIT-UP?
DC: WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO RELAUNCH MAX NORMAL?
MN: I wasn’t ready for the kind of attention we were receiving. I was used to underground hiphop audiences who hung on every word, and got shaken to their core when you came with the freshness. That gave me such a rush like you cannot imagine. A big sea of people freaking out to how cool we were without paying any attention to what I was saying was like a horrible nightmare to me. You know when you speak to someone, and you’re telling them something very important and wonderful, and you can see in their eyes that they aren’t listening. It isn’t a nice feeling. Then they speak back to you, but it’s like they are speaking in their sleep. It’s very freaky when people speak to you in their sleep. Underground hip-hop audiences don’t really exist anymore. This audience has transformed and merged with an audience that is much more invisible and advanced. These are my people. Back then I was not advanced enough to penetrate the gloom and to connect with these people. Now I am different. Now my light is strong.
MN: I have a lot of important and wonderful ideas that I would like to share with as many people as possible. Max Normal is very well known. I thought it was a good idea to use this name again. I have recently started a corporate entertainment company called Maxcorp. The Max Normal live band/brand is Maxcorp’s ambassador. Max asked all the original band members if they would like to join the new Max Normal unit he was putting together. They all politely declined due to other obligations. Max has since teamed up with the most sophisticated people he knows in real life to launch his new Max Normal project. He is working closely with Maxcorp co-founders Brad Armitage and Anthony Dart to realize this vision. Brad Armitage is Maxcorp’s managing director and co-founder. He is the former MD and co-founder of the Vida E Caffe Espresso Bar chain (voted by Wallpaper magazine as “The best looking coffee shops in the world, hands down”). Anthony Dart is Maxcorp’s creative director, designer and cofounder. He is the founder and CEO of the design powerhouse, Ontwerp (the masters behind the Lark music video). Max Normal is designed by Ontwerp.
The new Max Normal album/live show is based on an animated world Max Normal created with his business associate, Nthato Mokgata. The Max Normal album/live show is the soundtrack to a modern day African folk-tale called Spoek Mathambo. Max Normal and Nthato Mokgata use rap music to communicate this folk-tale with their audience. The folk-tale is about a black superhero from the ghetto, called Spoek Mathambo, who receives super-natural powers after experimenting with his gogo’s insangoma muti (his grandmother’s witch-doctor medicine). All the songs from the new Max Normal album/live show will work like scenes from this folk-tale. Each song from the album will receive a music video. All these music videos will play together like a fulllength animated feature film. These music videos will all be directed by Max Normal and Anthony Dart. Max Normal live shows will work like highenergy hip-hop, power point presentations. Max Normal has illustrated all the lyrics from the folktale. These illustrations will be used as visuals for the hip-hop power point presentations, perfect for the club or the boardroom. Max Normal and Anthony Dart are currently developing all the characters from the animated folk-tale into a toy range. Music, movies and merchandise from Max Normal.
I spoke with Maxcorp co-founders Brad Armitage, and Anthony Dart. DC: WHAT IS MAXCORP? AD: Maxcorp is a corporation first and foremost, which acts as the brand construct for the flagship brand Max Normal. The corporation was devised as a modular creative conduit to extend the ever expansive Max Normal sub brands, these include music, movies and merchandise to name a few, so its prime function is to facilitate new and current projects devised by the Maxcorp team. One example of such a project is Spoek Mathambo, Max Normal’s black empowerment project. Any new projects devised fall under the modular Maxcorp umbrella brand structure, automatically adding a sense of urgency, legitimacy and expertise. DC: WHAT IS IT LIKE WORKING WITH MAX? AD: Working with Max is exhilarating, demanding, amusing and challenging. What more could you ask for?
DC: WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT MAXCORP AND WHY? AD: I love the process of being involved from the beginning on a creative and well thought out project, being utterly bombarded by facts and complex creative problems. Taking good ideas and shaping them into creative and strategic manifestations, designing and improving them along a diverse range of media, so that they function superbly and simply. That is what I love the most. DC: WHAT IS THE SECRET TO SUCCESS? BA: Success is a multi-faceted concept. Great companies are defined by their discipline and their understanding of who they are and who they are not. But also, great companies must have the courage to examine strategic opportunities that are transformational, as long as they are not inconsistent with the guiding principles and values of the core business. At the root of this desire for success lie two drivers: Passion and Power. Both are critical to sustained growth and success, but focus too much on one and you will lose your grip on the other.
The Passion fuels the Maxcorpâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s expansion strategy. The Power is actualised once we achieve our targets. And so at Maxcorp we find ourselves on a precipice, at the edge of just such an opportunity, where we celebrate our sound as both the origin and the core of our business, and yet we have dreams of transcending those origins to become something much more. The secret? Find the opportunities to maximise your Passion and realise your Power! That is the Maxcorp way. AD: The secret to success is an absolute commitment to self and others, the realisation that only with complete perseverance and dedication to ones own sense of truth and talent can one achieve success. Being talented is the smaller part to a larger equation, this equation quite simply is consistent hard work over time as well as the courage to commit to this truth and follow this truth into very unpredictable and sometimes scary destinations. I asked Yolandi Visser how she would describe the new Max Normal sound. YV: High-Energy Hip-Hop: Next Level.
Look out for MUSIC, MOVIES AND MERCHANDISE from MAX NORMAL, launching early 2007. www.MaxNormal.TV
dance floor killers Dare to enter Sweat.X â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;s making-your-feet-itch world of mish-mash sounds and musical liberties. Rebecca Kahn investigates. Photography by Melissa Williams
It isn’t easy to interview Markus Wormstorm or Spoek Mathambo. Don’t get me wrong; they’re both hella nice guys, and more than willing to talk about Sweat.X, their latest musical endeavour. But their minds work differently to those of the rest of the world, and it takes a while to get into their universe. It’s a place of running in-jokes, big bootied women, jungles, stretch limos, BEE and dance-floor killers. Sweat.X is a musical adventure into this universe. Markus provides the beats, Spoek does the words. There’s a distinctly funky sound, referencing everything from early electro and wild style hip hop, to Bauhaus and Fela Kuti. But, unlike a lot of the ‘we’re so self referential we’re eating ourselves’ sounds that we hear all too often, Sweat.X is totally South African, and, at the same time, totally unique. ‘Sweat.X is a mish-mash of our mixed-up worlds,’ says Spoek. ‘It’s N.W.A and Sesame Street.’ It’s also a great deal of fun. Not only are the lyrics tongue-in-cheek jabs at the party scene (there’s a character called Drunk Again Jane who features prominently on one track) they also take some wonderful musical liberties. Markus has taken Miriam Makeba’s famous Click Song, isolated the clicks, and used them instead of the traditional cowbell sound. Lark’s Inge Beckman provides vocals on another track – gone is the mermaid voice we’re used to hearing – she’s a full-throated, sexy streetwalker here. According to Markus, the aim with Sweat.X is to have a whole lot of fun, while ripping up dance floors the world over. ‘We’re gonna rock the show anywhere,’ he says. ‘We’ve got a simple set up, so the plan is to go wherever we can, take the mic into the crowd at shows, and just see what happens.’
‘We’re interested in playing peculiar places, breaking out of the mould in terms of touring and gigging,’ agrees Spoek. ‘I wanna have beer bottles thrown at me.’ This plan is as much about growing the music as having a party. ‘Most of the growth comes during and after shows,’ says Markus. ‘It’s a living organism, and always evolving.’ While they’re dead set on having fun, both performers are also completely realistic about the local scene, and understand that, in order to maintain the momentum behind Sweat.X, they need to speak to international labels and tour outside of the country. ‘The alternative scene in South Africa is elitist, and people get bored quickly,’ says Spoek. ‘There’s excitement, and then it fizzles, until something else comes along.’ In a scene where, all too often, people have to be told what is cool, it’s refreshing to come across a project that manages to stick to its guns and be irreverent at the same time. They may be taking the piss out of the scene, but Sweat.X also has plenty to say, without preaching. ‘Somewhere along the line, people decided that being earnest was a kak thing’ says Spoek. ‘I don’t get it.’ While they’ve never intended to change the world, the truth is that many of the songs exist on several levels – they’re dance floor shredders and make pointed social commentary at the same time. While Sweat.X is still a work in progress, the plan is to release a limited edition EP by the end of the year, and play parties in Joburg and Cape Town to support it. Until then, have a look at their Myspace page (www. myspace.com/sweatx) to hear their neohebrewhebitchupinyourdiskomakingyourfeetitch sounds for yourself.
musicreviews by Zane Henry and Brendon Bosworth
saul williams Saul Williams
Saul Williams is invested with so much passion and talent that it almost bleeds from your speakers. On this self-titled album Williams toys with a plethora of genres and vocal stylings, flitting from hip-hop to punk to industrial to soul via his stream of lyrical hafiz. His spoken word impressionism is beefed up with bruising beats courtesy of Mickey P and a host of bigname collaborators. The tracks range from seething diatribes railing against bling-hungry posers to urgent appeals to the somnambulistic masses to get up and fuck with the system. I challenge anyone to listen to ‘Telegram’ or ‘Act III Scene 2 (Shakespeare)’ and not be resolutely inspired. No, the revolution will not be televised but it will have a soundtrack. ZH
Lark’s creative conceptualism is boundless. Potentially operatic, Inge Beckman’s lilting vocals invoke a mental frisson that is amplified by the emotive electronica and intuitive instrumentation from Paul Ressel and Fuzzy. Live favourites, ‘Spider’s Eye’, with its bassladen backing and the frenetically synthed ‘Bionic Mind’ never fail to inspire. The piano playing on ‘Yuralastine De Biao’ is beautiful and the host of instruments in Lark’s inventory extensive. Stirring string arrangements and the sounds of the harpsichord, flute and doudouk punctuate the weighty chords of the double and electric bass. Razbliuto refers to the sentimental feeling you hold for someone you loved, but no longer do. This reflective mood comes through in the album which is lyrically brooding in parts. It wouldn’t be Lark if it wasn’t.
the eraser Thom Yorke
Radiohead’s frontman has left with all but his guitars for this solo excursion. Opting for measured computer-generated beats as backing, Yorke serves up an ensemble of eerie electronic ballads. His characteristic lyrical gravity converges with the glyphs and glitches to impart an autistic ambience that some may find depressing. Aching vocals pitched over the powerful piano and Nintendo 64-bit blips of opener ‘Eraser’ hint at what’s in store for the remainder of the album. ’And it Rained All Night’ is solidly synthed, almost loungey, as Yorke envisages New York being swamped by floods and tries to decide how he feels about it. This is Thom Yorke. Don’t expect Radiohead. Like the opening line from ‘Analyse’, the album is a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy of endless possibility.’ BB
Lungelo is a man on a mission. He opened for Snoop Dogg on his recent South African tour and his album just hit the shelves. Collision is a combustible mix of pounding beats and soulful songcraft. Don’t try to label this stuff. It’s a gloriously confounding mess of genre bending. Check out the ass-shaking ragga flavour of ‘Dirty Girl’ shimmying up next to the hip-hoppity ‘M.I.C.’ Lungelo emcees, sings and plays most of the instruments on the album. Producer Ryan Beifus does a good job of keeping the project fluid and vital. But the ultimate star is Lungelo himself proving that it’s possible to straddle mainstream sensibilities and musical credibility. ZH
Nikhil Singh is strange. But in a really, really good way. With Pressed Up Black he turns his gloriously skewed creativity to music and yes, it’s bizzare. Elements of prog-jazz, baroque, goth, Boo!-esque monkey-punk conspire to sound like Bjork having honey-coated sex with The Dresden Dolls while Robert Smith from The Cure watches and does joyful little handclaps. Swathes of violas, vibraphones, and flutes swish through the songs. A few of them don’t make musical sense until you’ve listened to them a few times or after you’ve knocked back a few shots of Handy Andy. Pressed Up Black won’t be topping the 5FM charts any time soon but will reward adventurous listeners. south african
pressed up black Nikhil
ses keeping up with the jone It’s Saturday morning at Oppikoppi. My tongue is vacuum-sealed onto my palate. My head is stuffed with very dry cotton. Last night is a blur of whirling mosh-pits and intravenous alcohol molestation. But the irritatingly chipper crickets are already crick-cricking away and I have to drag my weary carcass out of my sleeping bag to meet one of South Africa’s fastest rising bands. I find assorted members of Love Jones sprawled in their Citroen tour van. The French car manufacturers sponsored the guys with a smoking ride to traverse the country in. The crazies apparently spent the night in their love-wagon after having driven up from Cape Town in a straight 18-hour sprint. The drummer is still passed out in the back seat. Front woman Esjay is cutting her toe-nails in the front. I haven’t showered yet. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to rock and roll.
esy of Sheer Music By Zane Henry ¦ Images court
“Love Jones has been together in some shape and form for a while now but this incarnation has been around since February. There’ve been a couple of staff changes but we’re very happy with our current line-up,” says Esjay. They came together in early 2005 when Esjay met Peter in a small Durban club where he was playing with local band Squeal. Esjay had just lost out on an American record deal due to bureaucratic bumbling and was looking to start a band. Three months later, Esjay and Peter hooked with bassist Steven and drummer Antony. And get this; they all share the same surname. Yep, you guessed it, Jones. If that’s not a sign then I don’t know what is.
After a few gigs, the band sadly had to say goodbye to Antony when his wife fell pregnant. This ushered in the arrival of Mike Goddard (hastily rechristened Mike Jones), formerly of Perez. With its heavyweight line-up now complete, Love Jones is aiming to take over the world, one backwater province at a time. They’ve played at some of South Africa’s biggest festivals, including this year’s Oppikoppi, Splashy Fen and a headliner at the Mr Price Pro international surfing contest.
Love Jones is aiming to take over the world, one backwater province at a time
They’ve released their self-titled debut album on their own record label and have been touring relentlessly in support of it. Love Jones is a sugar-high inducing rush of power pop and rock bravado. Their press kit has a banner saying, “Think the power of the Foo Fighters meets the pretty pop of Britney Spears.” The Foo part is spot on but Britney se moer. Esjay has more charisma in her big toe (trust me, I’ve seen it) than Ms Spears has in her entire overproduced body. The melodies are sweet but the lyrics are acidic. Beefy guitars and a taut rhythm section give the music more punch than an alcoholic Christmas party. Lead single ‘Kicks’ is a confection of rock sass and sugary pop. As persuasive as the album is, it’s onstage that this band truly comes alive. Esjay is a dervish of punk rock energy. “Being onstage is the best part of this whole thing. Long hours on the road, not sleeping in your own bed, it’s all very unglamorous until you get onstage,” she says with a dreamy smile. I look around at the dust and squalor of the Oppikoppi VIP area and see what she means. Her toenails trimmed, our interview done, we say our goodbyes. Damn, where’s that shower?
good • Thom Yorke
• The Raconteurs Jack White (The White Stripes) and Brendan Benson’s new band. Featuring the singles ‘Steady As She Goes’ and ‘Hands’ Mojo: “Imagine The White Album made by happy people” Spin: “The cool sound of hot days, fragrant smoke, and FM radio at ear-splitting volume”
The debut solo album from the Radiohead frontman. SL: “It takes some doing to exhaust this album” Stylus Magazine: “The Eraser is a triumph” Uncut: “What makes The Eraser great is Yorke’s singing” Mail & Guardian: “CD of the week”
• Harris Tweed
•J J writes honest pop songs and then turns them into sprawling Indie masterpieces. One of the finest debut albums of 2006. Featuring the single ‘Down Again’ as heard on 5FM, 94.7 and campus stations around SA.
In The Younger Harris Tweed have crafted a set of songs that reclaim pop as a thing of beauty yet have enough of an edge to elevate them into a duo of real substance. Featuring the hit single ‘Superfly’ as heard on radio stations around South Africa.
• José González
• Youth Group
Marie Claire: 5 Star Review “Very fresh and almost magical” Heat: “You need to turn this up and give it a good listen to fully appreciate its simple genius.” The Guardian: “Magical….a supreme talent” Also available – B-Sides Completed
Having supported Death Cab For Cutie and Coldplay, The O.C. TV show has turned Youth Group from indie darlings to chart-toppers thanks to their re-interpretation of Alphaville’s classic ‘Forever Young’ Australia’s hottest export of 2006 - A great set of melodic, dreamy, intricate rock songs.
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• Basement Jaxx
Following last year’s #1 selling Singles Collection, Basement Jaxx return with their fourth studio album. The Observer: “Crazy Itch Radio cements Basement Jaxx reputation as Britain’s gold-standard dance duo” Mojo: “A funny, funky and glorious stew”
• Lark Eclectic, original and unafraid, Lark produce a groundbreaking blend of electronic beats, audio manipulation and organic instrumentation. Mail & Guardian: “Unfortunately, this country may be a little too small for an album this grand” FHM: “The most inventive new band to come out of SA in years”
• Rodrigo Y Gabriela Rodrigo Y Gabriela have re-written the rules for acoustic guitar. They have reshaped its landscape using lightning speed, dynamic range and irresistible rhythmic invention. The Guardian: “Surely the most unexpected, yet deserved, success story of the year” “Hotter than a bag of Mexican chilli peppers!”
WIN AN IPOD Hi-Fi - stand a chance of winning an Ipod Hi-Fi, simply email the name of your favourite Just Music album and your details to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you can't find any of our new releases at your favourite CD store, please contact Just Music at: email@example.com or www.justmusic.co.za.
By JD van Zyl
These boards are operated by a Microcomputer Close Proximity Control Throttle and Braking System. In simple terms that means you can easily manoeuvre your board with great control, even in a crowd. The e-boards handle very much like a longboard, even though they are rather on the heavy side, and even at slow speeds their handling is excellent. The boards are claimed to have enough power to pull you up an 18° slope, but that said, they do operate best on a flat surface. With their oversized tires and trucks it is possible to carve at significant speed. Its EABS (Electric Absorbing Braking System) system means that braking doesn’t only slow you down, but also charge the batteries. Great to keep you going for much longer than a single battery charge alone would have. Six models are currently available in SA, with motor power that ranges from 150W to 800W, torque from 0.621 Nm to 2.86 Nm and top speeds up to 35 km/h.
Nobody does all-in-one-mom-tools quite like Victorinox – manufacturers of the original Swiss Army knife. First the Swiss company cleverly combined a USB memory stick with a pocket knife, now they say they’ve created the world’s smallest digital audio player. Imagine the look on your mate’s face when you slice a chunk of biltong with your army knife before inserting your headphone jack into the same Victorinox and plugging the headset into your ears. The player is available in sizes up to 2G. It plays MP3, WMA, WAV and Ogg Vorbis files. An external remote control, attached to the earphones, takes branding to a whole new level by using the famous Victorinox-cross as the toggle for cueing, playing and pausing. You can either opt for the player without tools, or have the full version and simply detach the player. www.victorinox.ch | 011 883 3059
www.fd001.com | 082 748 2868
wind me up
mini mega printer
It doesn’t matter how neat your new cellphone is, how many MP3s it holds or the quality of the pictures it takes. With flat batteries it will have little more use than a paperweight. The FreeCharge mobile phone charger is a portable energy source. It can either be charged through AC/DC current and used as a spare battery, or you can charge this gadget with its wind-up mechanism before releasing the energy to the phone. An interchangeable pod interface makes the charger adaptable to each specific phone and its requirements to ensure optimum charging and talk-time. You can even pop an accessory light pod on to convert the charger to a torch. Best of all, under wind-up conditions the batteries receive a conditioning charge that gets rid of the memory effect common to rechargeable batteries. This ensures that your cellphone charges to its maximum and will extend the lifetime of your batteries. This charger is small enough to carry with you, so even when you are in the dark and without power, you’ll never be out of touch.
As we strive to get our hands on the digital camera that packs the most megapixels, one element of making beautiful photos is often neglected; printing them. Enter Canon’s new PIXMA mini260. Its best feature is that now you don’t even need a PC. You can print directly from a card, camera or mobile phone. With its clear 6.3 cm TFT screen and Easy-Scroll Wheel, the Canon PIXMA mini260 makes PC-free photo printing easier than ever before. You can view, select, edit and print digital photos at a touch. Just use the scrolling wheel to select printing options on the screen. It is also possible to enhance your photos automatically with expert results. This “go anywhere, print anytime” mini photo printer with a convenient carrying handle delivers superior photo lab quality of 9600x2400dpi & 1pl. And when you are done, its slick and compact design makes it easy to be stowed away without it cluttering your work style.
www.freeplayenergy.com | 021 514 3800
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anniversary subscription deal celebrate one-year with us one small seed is celebrating its one-year anniversary, and is offering you a chance to share the occasion, with our ‘buy one get two’ subscription deal, so spread the love this summer and pass one on. A subscription costs R150 and includes postage fees countrywide. For subscription forms and details: visit www.onesmallseed.com or contact us on +27 (0)21 461 6973 or firstname.lastname@example.org
the first fifteen ¦ subscription cd give-aways The first 15 subscribers will be receiving one of three cd’s - ‘Deluxe’, courtesy of Torsten Fehsenfeld; ‘Pressed up black’ - Nikhil Singh, or ‘Our love has a special violence’ - The Wild Eyes, courtesy of omtd.
Pressed up black Nikhil Singh
Our love... The Wild Eyes
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