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Sound and Silence

when necessary, use words

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October 2008

Interview: Brendan Smithers

Brendan Smithers is the prime mover and “Drill Sergeant” for the Upsetters, who created The Turbine for Africa Burns 2007 and The Wish for 2008, as well as being involved in the creation of the San Clan (Man) itself. As much as anyone else he has made his mark on the Festival, predominantly in his large scale work. So what thoughts lead to such powerful, iconic pieces?

Night
The Wish : Night

It started with The Turbine in 2007… Continue reading “Interview: Brendan Smithers”

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Soop – Sound (Waves) Out Of Place

“Which is more musical; a truck passing by a factory or a truck passing by a music school?”  John Cage

Welcome to Moop

One of the many delightful new ideas brought to us via Burner Culture is that of moop – “matter out of place”. Meaning predominantly litter and detritus, but also things inappropriately placed. One of the 10 Burner principles is “Leave no trace”, and is designed to make us wasteful westerners think twice about how we interact with the environment.

Afrika Burn (and far more so its parent Burning Man) is not a simple back-to-nature event, despite a strong stream of green awareness and survivalist minimalism. It is more than that, and incorporates at times almost impossibly complex structures bordering on madness, and requiring truckloads of materials and months of preparation. The central piece of Tankwa Town, The Wish by the Upsetters, for example, is an 8 M high spherical installation of hoops within hoops, meticulously designed, transported and assembled for the pleasure of all. Continue reading “Soop – Sound (Waves) Out Of Place”

An Economy of Grace

I have been reflecting on Afrika Burn 2008, with 2 articles, a general synopsis called “AB08 scorecard” and a cheeky cultural crit called “Soop – Sound (Waves) Out Of Place“. But now I want to get to the heart of the experience, from the point of view of the theme camp that our community set up, Sanctuary. Continue reading “An Economy of Grace”

AB 08 scorecard / Syncroblog

Update:

Afrika Burn 2008 Syncroblog:

Also see

We are back from the burn! Just thinking that causes the dust to rise.

Next Monday 27th October 2008, we are inviting anyone to Syncroblog with us; to participate see this post.

But to get the ball rolling, here is my initial scorecard for AB 08. Bear in mind this view is personal, and I did not visit all the camps and attractions I would have liked: Continue reading “AB 08 scorecard / Syncroblog”

Dream Forest

Last night I dreamed:

  1. David Bowie, older but statuesque and charming, is in our midst. I open conversations with him and he demures, chatting briefly, but ultimately remains aloof. He turns in for bed, perched loftily atop a triple bunk, out of reach.
  2. I go into a supposedly familiar general store expecting to see a supposedly familiar Indian shopkeeper behind the counter, but the Indian has been bought out by the Chinese. In his place are 4 Beijing-Olympic-style hostesses in shiny canary yellow dresses, all smiling. Alienated, I leave the shop and see the old owner who looks like Mac Maharaj, in a coffee bar sipping a latte.
  3. I enter a decrepit, Orwellian room with about 20 light switches, only 2 of which actually work, and dimly at that. An apocalyptic news bulletin comes on the radio from an Indian politician talking about mass outbreaks of an incurable virus. I panic, and yearn for the Brubecks (my university lecturer Darius and his wife Cathy), an earlier life where I knew what was what, who was who, and what I had hoped for. The soundtrack could have been Bowies “Five Years”, although it seems like it was only 5 weeks. Shades of Cloverfields, 1984, and I am Legend.

What sayeth the soothsayers?

Afrika Burn 2008 syncroblog

Calling all … all blogging burners, survivalist aesthetes, desert rats, sacred activists, uberjollers, gonzo journalists, hippies reincarnate, diehard libertarians, cultural creatives, nieue afrikaanians, glocal emergents, even just voyers, lurkers and wannabes.

Going out on Monday 26 October 2008, participate in a post-AB08 synbcroblog. Reflect collectively on our experience in words and images.

For those who haven’t done so, a syncroblog is a peer-to-peer similtaneous blog posting, in which you contribute your offering together with links from all other participants to theirs. This way we can host in our usual online space but still be linked to each other. Once your post URL is ready, submit it to me here via a comment and I will compile the list of participants. You can then copy and paste it into your own blog post.

So on Monday 26th (1 week after the event), first thing am, I will create the list and post it here. Copy it and edit your offering, and the syncroblog is away. It’s a great way to get an overview, and for lazy press hacks to purloin plenty of excellant material concerning local Burner Culture. But, in a gifting economy, plagiarism is impossible, right?

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