September 1, 2015
Termites — also known as white ants— are the mortal enemies of ants. Ants capture them and maintain a war to the death against them. Both species compete for the same vital space. Termites gnaw wood and other organic material. Ants can be carnivorous and will even eat others of their kind if the need arises. During the summer, ants store grains and seed as winter provisions.
Termites descend from a family distinct from that of the ants (termites are distant relatives of the cockroach), but they have a system of social organization that is very similar to that of their enemies. Both species build nests to inhabit and develop modes of social life, modifying nature. Some species of ants build their nests in tree trunks, others by gathering and folding leaves to live inside. The majority of ants excavate the soil to form galleries and rooms that are perfectly organized. This is the modified land where they raise their civilization. Termites also construct their colonies—which are similar to isotopic domi—in rafters or the soil. Termite colonies in the soil are hillocks that can reach great heights and take forms that stimulate the imagination. In fact, termite colonies seem artificial designs that make one realize that the best landscape art is found in nature itself. It is only necessary to learn to look.
This erases the dividing line between the world and art, a line created early on by ideological instrumentalization and its taxonomic methodologies. Nature is aesthetic in itself.
more info is here: http://ev2.co.uk/jisa/research/content.html
August 31, 2015
August 29, 2015
August 28, 2015
by Willie Burger
Stephanus Muller’s Night Music is the sort of book that makes one believe in the power of the written word, in the possibilty of language to get things said that are in fact unsayable, but that, if a person keeps talking carefully enough, become nonetheless communicable.
There are many things that are actually unsayable: a life is one of them, because whatever one manages to say about your own or another’s life, can never do justice to the full person. There are too many aspects, too many perspectives and simply too many mysteries to ever give a complete account of a life. Music is also something that cannot actually be spoken about. Because the moment that you try to say in language what exists in another medium – that communicates through another medium – it is already a lie, an attempt to invoke meaning and impose in words precisely what can not be understood nor contained in words.
Night Music is at the same time a life story and a novel. On the one hand it is a biography of the South African composer Arnold Van Wyk (1916-1983). On the other hand it is a novel about a fictional character, Werner Ansbach, a musicologist who has been wrestling for years writing his biography of the composer Arnold Van Wyk.
Ansbach is struggling because he is aware of his own prejudices, his shortcomings, his inability to really understand his subject and to impose a coherent grip on the wealth of material that he has collected over the years. On top of which he is struggling with his mother who has Alzheimer’s, with moles that are burrowing in his garden and with his perverse sexual impulses and desires. Consequently Night Music is actually a sort of “autobiography” of the fictional Ansbach through which an exceptionally detailed, lucid and exciting life story of the composer Van Wyk emerges.
This description might sound confusing and possibly give the impression that Night Music is merely the presentation of a neat row of postmodern tricks, whereby the barriers between fact and fiction and between fictional characters and real people are undermined. Furthermore Night Music consists of a mixture of different text sorts such as diaries, history, music analysis, photos (some printed in the book, others as loose photos inside it), fiction, scores, interviews, crests and even scientific information about moles, all woven together.
But Night Music is in no way ‘ordinary’, it’s not even an ‘ordinary’ postmodern Pandora’s Box. In these three volumes everything has been woven together in such a fascinating way that a compelling story has come out of it.
Night Music consists of three books that are published in a slip case. And this Pandora’s Box of books, with their many photos and lists and even the complete score of Arnold Van Wyk’s piano concerto, “Night Music”, tucked in an envelope in the back of one of the books, is a work of art. Fourth Wall Books have made an exhibition piece out of it – which contributes to the contemplation of what the essence of art actually is.
The first two slim books contain all the footnotes and references to the immense wealth of factual information collected, and make possible the use of Night Music as a scholarly reference work about the life and work of Arnold Van Wyk. The third book of over 500 pages is the riveting novel/biography/autobiography – a book that eludes all attempts at categorization.
To tell a story is to select certain incidents and to arrange them in a specific order. This is why it is so difficult for Ansbach to tell Van Wyk’s life story. Every decision to select a certain event, and to place it in a specific position in the context of the whole, leads to a different meaning of the event as well as the whole. It is immobilising to try to tell a story without in some way exercising power – without imposing one’s own ideas on the subject. And to tell the story without telling the story is impossible. But this is precisely what Stephanus Muller has achieved in Night Music.
Night Music is a profound reflection about what it means to compose music and what it means to write about music, what it means to write about a human life, about how to weave language and story together in order to get a grip on the world, about the (un)trustworthiness of memories that always incline towards narratives, about the violence that we do to life with our attempts to find meaning through narrativising, and about art.
This is an exhilarating text, sometimes extremely sad and often screamingly funny. The only other Afrikaans writer that withstands comparison with this work is Marlene Van Niekerk – in particular her Memorandum. At times the book brings WG Sebald’s novels to mind, especially Austerlitz and The Emigrants. But Night Music is ultimately not comparable to any of these. You have to experience it yourself.
translated from the afrikaans by aryan kaganof
first published here: https://www.york.ac.uk/news-and-events/news/2015/events/south-african-jazz-2015/
first published here: http://ewn.co.za/2015/08/28/Open-Stellenbosch-meets-with-Parliament
August 27, 2015
first published here: http://desistfilm.com/cant-get-enough-aryan-kaganof/
keep reading this article here: http://witsvuvuzela.com/2015/08/27/court-victory-for-suspended-wits-students/
first published here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26168186-the-ballad-of-sugarmoon-and-coffin-deadly