March 14, 2017
March 6, 2017
first published here: http://www.culturenet.hr/default.aspx?id=75287
March 3, 2017
first published here: http://expcinema.org/site/en/events/avant-noir-volume-1
January 26, 2017
January 13, 2017
Say It With Flowers
A found footage bouquet arranged and abused by Aryan Kaganof. Film material shot by Charles Weich between 1948 and 1973 was mashed up with the soundtrack to Brief Encounter. The result is an indictment of the pathological whiteness that manifested itself virulently as “apartheid”.
produced by Stephanus Muller for Africa Open
January 12, 2017
Say It With Flowers
A found footage bouquet arranged and abused by Aryan Kaganof.
Film material shot by Charles Weich between 1948 and 1973 was mashed up with the soundtrack to Brief Encounter.
The result is an indictment of the pathological whiteness that manifested itself virulently as “apartheid”.
produced by Stephanus Muller for Africa Open
December 25, 2016
October 31, 2016
Whilst Artist In Residence at the Film & TV Department of Wits University in August 2014 I noticed that there was a lot of what used to be called “agitation” going on around the campus, led primarily by students aligned to the EFF. The disjunct between what was happening “on the ground” and the way film was taught in the department was acute. There was something surreal about the way students were lectured about Dziga Vertov in the subterranean basement where the Film department is located, without ever being encouraged to train their camera eyes on the reality around them. This was clearly what the program to decolonize education was all about; making arcane, obscure Eurocentric curricula relevant to the times and the condition of the black student body. I spent the 5 weeks I was at Wits following the activities of the students who were mobilising for decolonisation, a call that, in March 2015, would be taken up by the Rhodes Must Fall movement at UCT.
Exactly a year later, in August 2015, I took advantage of my position as Artist In Residence at STIAS (Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study) to film the Open Stellenbosch movement that was challenging the remnants of white power operating at Stellenbosch University. OS gave me full access to their meetings and organisational activity for the five weeks I was there, resulting in a film they were bitterly unhappy with and that STIAS refused to screen. Extreme polarisation and a breakdown in the possibility of communicating between students and University management appears to be the current state of affairs. I have made these films in the hope that they will contribute to a better, deeper, understanding of the issues fermenting in this incendiary generation. These are not traditional documentaries but constitute episodes in what Zimasa Mpenyama describes as “a living archive”.
October 21, 2016
Transcription of recording – Hilde and Dan Apolles
DA: Yes, I used to dream out whole concertos with Chopin in the background. The thing… when we’re young we all loved Chopin for his uh… he’s so human and and and romantic uh… I mean that is a stage when you be… when you start to look at girls and so on and Chopin is definitely the influence.
HR: So did you did you did you play Chopin for your…
HR: Sweetheart at the time or…
DA: Oh no, I… Ja, ja… definitely. Chopin was on my list…
HR: And your own composition?
DA: No, I never played my own compositions.
HR: [Exclamation] Oh, that’s terrible.
DA: I don’t… I don’t know if you know Walter Swanson, or if you had heard… Uh, I used to play to him. He was… he was…
HR: Your own compositions?
DA: Yes, yes. And and he was he he wrote something about the the music that I wrote. But he he he took, he took up Chopin in it. He could hear Chopin.
SV: He could pick it up…
DA: Did you hear the Nocturne or… that I played… that my own work?
HR: I’ve heard some of Inge’s work on it uhm but not much yet.
HR: So, but we will certainly listen, you know…
SV: Unless you want to play again. [everyone giggles]. Uhm, so do you still compose?
DA: No no no no no. Not at this stage anymore.
HR: What is it about Chopin, except for being romantic, and uh that you like?
DA: It’s it’s just the brilliance of the the piano style that… and and… technically he is difficult to play, but uh, I enjoy playing Chopin. Uh. I used to play the A-flat Polonaise at at concerts and so on uh, but uh… When I was a student, I used to play lunch time con… not lunch time concerts… lunch time intervals. There’s a… there was a piano and I couldn’t wait for the bell to to ring for the… for the break, the tea break, to rush to the piano just to play.
HR: Did you listen to… did you have recordings of…
DA: Oh yes. Many many many.
DA: And I had many favourite com… uh uh uh pianists in my lifetime, like Vladimir Horowitz was one. Ashkenazy, uh… The Beethoven fans… I was I was a Beethoven fan in in those days too. Uhm, there was a pianist, uh, he passed away in the fifties, I think, Bacchaus, Bacchaus.
DA: Wilhelm Bacchaus. He was a Beethoven expert, so uh. The modern pianists, they are good, they are very, very good technically…
HR: Ja. Very brilliant, ja.
DA: …but they… I think they lack the intensity of the the old masters. Rubenstein…
DA: Dinu Lipatti… You know him?
HR: No, I don’t.
DA: He was a Chopin expert.
DA: But uh… the piano is my instrument…
HR: And uh, at the time… the recordings, where did you buy them? During… did you come come to town and buy them at Hans Kramer or…?
DA: No, no, no, no, no. In in in in those days, you, you didn’t buy, you didn’t buy, I didn’t buy records. I recorded from the radio.
HR: Oh, wow.
DA: You know RS… RSG?
HR: RSG, ja.
DA: RSG, and the the the the English uh programme on on on SAFM, on the radio. Those two programmes had many, many uh classical uh uh uh uh programmes… they had classical pro… they had a classical… you had classics every day of the week.
DA: Now you have it… half an hour and…
HR: If you’re lucky and then half the, half the movement.
DA: If if if… and… Ja, and if you’re lucky to… you you you don’t hear a a full symphony anymore over the radio.
DA: You know? That type of thing.
HR: So at the time, did you record it on a on a on a tape recorder?
DA: Tape recorder.
DA: No, I still have an old tape recorder. Not a recorder, a an old tape playback…
DA: … that I can… I’ve got… I’ve got many uh uh recordings of those days…
HR: And you still listen to them now?
DA: Yes, yes…
HR: Oh, you do?
HR: On the tape recorder?
DA: On the tape recorder yes.
HR: Oh, wow.
DA: And then I bought at the uh uh FMR, they had, they had one… once in a month on a Saturday morning… FMR radio station at at the ArtsCape, in those programmes…
DA: They had uh uh… they had a rec… a record uh uh sell out, once a… the first Saturday of every month.
DA: And I bought stacks and stacks of recordings.
DA: LP’s dating back to nineteen hundred.
HR: Oh, right.
DA: Carus… from Caruso’s time. I even have recording of Grieg playing his own music, I have Rachmaninov playing his own music, I have uh Pachman… You don’t hear these composers anymore… uh, uh, these pianists anymore. Uh, uh, but, but they recorded on those piano rolls even. You know?
HR: Those those those…uhm…
HR: …paper things? Those cylinder thingies. Ja.
DA: Ja, ja, ja. They recorded on on on that…
HR: DO you have an instrument to play that back with?
DA: I had a piano.
HR: Oh, you did? Like Tillie Ulster. I know she… Tillie Ulster also had one of those pianos where you can put in the roll.
DA: The roll, ja. I still have the piano but I took out the the mechanism…
DA: And now I’ve got a a piano that sounds like a grand piano.
HR: Oh wow.
DA: Because it’s such a big thing…
HR: Ok. So did… that piano, was it in the family…
DA: It’s twice the size of
DA: …twice the width of that piano.
HR: How did you get that piano? Was it something…
DA: I bought it from from a a piano tuner.
HR: Ok. Long time ago? Or…
DA: No, no. A few a few years ago.
DA: And then uh…
HR: Cos it’s very unusual those things.
DA: Ja, and then then then… well, you don’t get those rolls anymore…
HR: Anymore, ja…
DA: …so I told him to take, to take out the the mechanism, so I can have a a a loud, a bigger sound box. And now I’ve got a a upright grand piano.
HR: Well, it was great to, uhm, sit in the little bit that I heard but uh… and great that you’re here. [Laughs]
DA: Ok. I’m glad that you liked the music.
HR: Ja. And curious to hear what uh…
DA: I can play you the Nocturne for her [referring to SV]… she’s still young…
SV: I would love that. Thank you. [everyone laughs]
[Everyone move to the piano]
DA: I thought you were going to hang on the piano here…
SV: Thank you very much. That was wonderful.
HR: Is this your na… your nocturne?
HR: How, how do you find this piano? To play on…
DA: [pause] It, it, it’s good [clears throat]. It’s good… uhm… I don’t know if it’s my fingers that’s that’s, that tends to be slippery or if it’s the keys that’s that’s a bit slippery but my uh… especially the black ones… It’s almost as if the…
HR: So your own piano has more grip?
DA: I think my fingers are… I I think the grooves of of… like an old tyre that’s getting… losing its…
DA: …grip…. [everyone laughs]. But but otherwise the piano is is is fine.
HR: Tell us about the work. Is this the one you composed in the fifties?
DA: Ja. All my piano works were composed in in the in the fifties. [clears throat]. I’ve got an example there….
HR: Did you, did you sort of sit in front of the piano and it just came to you or did you actually sit with the music and did you write it down? Did you work it out?
DA: No, no, no… I never worked out music. I never worked it out. Uh, I got inspiration. I got uh uh like a motive and and the motive would then develop on its own.
DA: It would just expand as it, as you go along.
HR: Ja. And did you notate it while you working it out, or did it, was it just all in your memory?
DA: No tape. In those times there weren’t any tapes. Not that I know of.
HR: But you wrote it out in in in in notation, or not?
DA: In… yes, in staff notation.
DA: I wrote it out on the nearest piece of paper that I could put my hand on… [giggles]
DA: …before I work out the the the tune….
DA: …or the motive.
SV: Did you do it at the piano or away from the piano?
DA: Away from the piano. Ja.
SV: Away from.., Wow.
DA: I would perhaps wake up in the morning and I know that I, I uh… there was a time in… we were writing our matric examination and then I got… and I think it might’ve been this tune but uh… there were so many, uh… while I was writing and it was the German… I did German as one of my my subjects and uh… while I was writing German, suddenly I got this inspirit… inspiration and then I… Now we used to write with, in ink, and we had…
HR: Not pencil?
DA: …one of those… no no no not ballpoints. That was before the time of ball points.
HR: Oh, a… proper ink…
SV: The proper ink pots.
DA: Proper ink ink yes.
HR: Ja ja ja.
DA: Ink. It had a little tube inside that you had to draw the ink in and then you could write the whole day with it. Uhm [clears throat] and and to dry the ink…
DA: I used to write… I wrote one of my pieces on a piece of blotting paper in the final examination.
DA: Now that is… inspiration just just came anytime, you know, and then I could just write it, [clears throat] drew quick lines and uh treble clef. There wasn’t time to write the bass clef. The bass clef came later on. But uh the motive… Now the motive is like a little tune that comes to you from nowhere and then…
HR: In the middle of an exam. [HR laughs]
DA: Anytime. Anytime. In the middle of the night.
HR: Or in the night. Ok. And you just had to write it down.
DA: I had to write it down.
HR: So you would wake up in the middle of the night and put it down?
DA: Oh, if I if I got it in the middle of the night I would…
HR: …do that….
SV: And then would you go back to the piano to fill in the… the left hand? Or did you also write that away from the piano?
DA: The le…?
SV: The left hand. When did that happen?
DA: Oh oh oh. No no no that… the tune would then develop and as the tune develops, it… I would, I would always carry a a a manuscript paper with me and then, where ever I am, sitting on a on a on a rock at the beach or whatever I would write it. But it’s all from inside.
HR: From memory.
DA: That is long before I came to the piano. Most of the work has been written down already.
DA: Most of the ideas.
SV: That’s incredible music imagination.
DA: The the the piano only came in later on to to fill in, you know, the chords and so on.
HR: Did you did you write for other mediums as well, like singing or instruments?
DA: Yes yes yes… in in later years I I composed for for the church choir. I composed quite a few pieces for the church choir.
HR: Mm. Alright. And are they still being performed?
DA: Yes, by the… by the… by the church choir, the church that I belong to. Moravian church. Ja. They normally have music festivals, uh singing uh festivals once uh once… uh in Cape Town and and next year they will have it in in the in the Feather hall in Port Elizabeth. — saal. I have it there. And and… most of my works have… choral works have been performed by the combined choirs of Eastern Cape and the Western Cape.
SV: And when did you start composing? Did you do it still when you were quite young at school? Or when did you deve… ah well, uh, ja. When did you realise that you can compose or that you compose?
DA: I I don’t… I can’t really say. Maybe when I was round about twelve, thirteen.
DA: I started playing the piano when I was four.
HR: Oh wow.
SV: That’s very early. Did you start playing by yourself or did you have a teacher?
DA: By myself, yes.
SV: Oh wow.
DA: My my first… my first… uh uh uh music lesson uh uh formal music lesson I I think I was twenty-six or something. Twenty-six or twenty-seven years old.
HR: So you’re very self-taught?
DA: Self-taught yes.
HR: Ok. Even even notation and all that stuff self-taught?
DA: Ja. My mother, my parents they were they were good musicians. My mother was a a a solist in the… a soprano and my father was a very good pianist and organist. Uhm… My mother’s brother, my uncle, he was also an organist in the church and maybe I got the genes from them.
AK: Good genes.
DA: Yes. Uh. So.
HR: It was lovely meeting you. I’m going to get going.
HR: I will touch base again with Inge to hear how it’s… but it’s great that it’s been documented and it was wonderful, it was a privilege to hear you play. Thank you.
SV: Yes. Thank you very much.
HR: Thank you so much.
DA: And thank you for…
DA: For your interest and staying to listen to to some of the pieces.
SV: Next time I’ll lie underneath the piano.
HR: One underneath and one on top.
July 30, 2016
July 29, 2016
Aryan Kaganof & Isidore Isou | 2012 | 19min 52sec. | 16mm | no dialogue | South Africa |
The system’s thought, the thought of the social organization of appearance, is itself obscured by the generalized sub-communication which it defends. It does not know that conflict is at the origin of all things in its world. Specialists in the power of the spectacle, an absolute power within its system of language without response, are absolutely corrupted by their experience of contempt and of the success of contempt; and they find their contempt confirmed by their knowledge of the contemptible man, who the spectator really is. Guy Debord
July 27, 2016
CCTV FOOTAGE FROM A MENTAL ASYLUM IN MUNICH WHERE ALL THE INHABITANTS BELIEVE THEMSELVES TO BE CONTEMPORARY DANCERS
Aryan Kaganof | 2016 | 4min 31sec. | video | no dialogue | Germany-South Africa | music – Enhänta Bödlar |
“I, too, overflow; my desires have invented new desires, my body knows unheard-of songs. Time and again I, too, have felt so full of luminous torrents that I could burst – burst with forms much more beautiful than those which are put up in frames and sold for a fortune. And I, too, said nothing, showed nothing; I didn’t open my mouth, I didn’t repaint my half of the world. I was ashamed. I was afraid, and I swallowed my shame and my fear. I said to myself: You are mad! What’s the meaning of these waves, these floods, these outbursts? Where is the ebullient infinite woman who…hasn’t been ashamed of her strength? Who, surprised and horrified by the fantastic tumult of her drives (for she was made to believe that a well-adjusted normal woman has a …divine composure), hasn’t accused herself of being a monster? Who, feeling a funny desire stirring inside her (to sing, to write, to dare to speak, in short, to bring out something new), hasn’t thought that she was sick? Well, her shameful sickness is that she resists death, that she makes trouble.”
― Hélène Cixous
July 14, 2016
June 28, 2016
June 16, 2016
Everything slips away from me. My whole life, my memories, my imagination and all it contains, my personality: it all slips away. I constantly feel that I was someone different, that a different I felt, that a different I thought. I’m watching a play with a different, unfamiliar setting, and what I’m watching is me.
The Book of Disquiet
June 14, 2016
Whilst engaging with Walter Mignolo about his ideas on the pluriversity, multiplicity, decoloniality etc I had an idea about to make a film that would adequately convey these ideas; not merely by being a film ABOUT the decolonial option, but by, in its form, actually BEING that very option.
So here it is. What I did was film a 90minute discussion with Walter in my office at STIAS, edit it into 11 sections and then display those 11 sections simultaneously, whilst using sound as a guide to move from scene to scene. In this way I constructed a possibility of narratising the complete 90minute conversation into a possible 11 minute experience, whilst not pretending to tell the whole story, in deed, making clearly explicit that the whole story is never told in media (perhaps also not in unmediated “reality”?).
The idea of this work is to provide audiences with the complete sound files so that any audience could construct their own “flow chart” of sound through the 9 image frames, thereby allowing for the construction of a myriad different stories out of the “one story” of the UR-conversation.
I hope in this way that work serves to also illustrate Walter’s notion of thinking-and-doing, whereby theory is never divorced from praxis but are always working together, being together.