archive - issue 13

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  • /

    By Ruth Barker
    On the QWERTY layout of my computer keyboard, the symbol / appears beside the questioning symbol ?. They are represented together on the same key, and
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  • Apartment / Containers

    By Vincent Bezuidenhout
    These diptychs are the start of a series of images I have been working on regarding the visual landscape we choose to surround ourselves
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  • I returned home after my first year in college to discover my younger sister had turned gorgeous. This was a disappointment, but not an
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  • Butterfly

    By Adriana de Barros
    The pupa, a silk wrap of emotionsIsolated, within breathing, wanting to bethe intense pronoun of selfIt is silly to be one's own pronounShe giggles
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  • Collage

    By Claudio Parentela
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  • Drag and Snap

    By Leigh-Anne Niehaus
    This series is inspired by the childhood game of "snapdragon", which allows for simplistic and delightful decision-making through random selections of colour and number.
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  • Evidence of Life

    By Tamlyn Martin
    Below is an extract from a series of 11 poems created in parallel with visual artworks. 5. Memories laced with visceral realityFlooding herThe gentle
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  • Forward! Slash!

    By Travis Lyle
    You think you're a forward-thinking kinda person, do you? Lemme be the one to break it to you, sunshine – you're as lame as the
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  • Human/Nature

    By Lydia Anne McCarthy
    This series explores moments between nature and human beings that are at once idealistic and unsettling. Each picture is an independent narrative, but placed
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  • Immigrants

    By Stanley Onjezani Kenani
    you want to livenothing leaveto liveyou swimor like fresh sardinesyou are packedin boatsyou leaveto live.  you leavegold in the belly of Africaoil in
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  • In Between

    By Tania van Schalkwyk
    Raised in an Arabian land of heat, fire and temper,sometimes the calm of England clamps downlike damp in a bathroom with no windowand a
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  • Letter to the Editor

    By Elan Gamaker
    Dear Sir/Madam I should like strenuously to object to the subject matter ("/") of your current issue. It must first be mentioned, however, that it
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  • Or: a line drawing

    By Gabeba Baderoon
    Pencil and nothing. Her face turned almost entirely away. Forehead, cheekbone,jaw,the bun low in her neck,shoulderand down,the long linejust enoughthen left alone.
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  • p u n c t u a t i o n

    By Ula Einstein
    Einstein works with a diverse range of media, including drawings and installation with fire, thread, and blades. The series of drawings and installations with
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    By Sean Hampton-Cole
    Keys. John speaking. 'Lo?Good morning. May I speak to Bob Mitchell please?Bob in Bonds?I'm not really sure. I'm trying to...You want extension 125. This
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  • Pretty Babies

    By Peregrine Honig
    With the premise that "/ " presents what is IN and what is OUT, the "Pretty Babies" series explores the fashion industry's well-published and syndicated DOs
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  • River Bank

    By Mario Sughi
    The symbol / is intended initially as a symbol of division. A real or unreal line divides the girl from the water, the girl from
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  • Scissor

    By Charlotte Gait
    There was a time when you and I were connected by iron, acid, vitamin and blood. Where every mouthful I took was with the
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  • Seasaw

    By Sol Kjøk
    Here, the motif is conceived of as a seesaw (the typo in the title is intended, as this drawing is part of a series
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  • Series Seven Up

    By Noel Fignier
    Text by João Branco Kyron, HipnóticaThe collision is imminent and in the fraction of time left, the eyes shut and the vision is superbly
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  • A battle over samoosas between the snobbish Cinderella and a homeless electrician is mediated by Cinderella's boyfriend JJ. The samoosa battle is conflated with
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  • Wayne Porter, freelance journalist, donned his anthropologist's birthday suit and hit the bowling alley. Bar the bowlers hat tipped gently off centre, the man
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  • The Incised Wound

    By Joanne Hichens
    "Please, for me, Dave," I placed my hand on his, and really, no begging, just asked him nicely, "Lay off the booze tonight." Whether
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  • He had been driving for hours through that unstable, somnambulist night when he fell asleep at the wheel. He awoke with a start and
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  • The space between.

    By Mehita Iqani
    It's a handy little line, the one that we use to make our options known. Either/Or. Paper and ink or binary code? Its clichéd,
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  • Un Hombre Fuerte

    By Tamo Vonarim Written these words are, at times of a subconscious flow – whether they are mine, I don't know. All I know is that I
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  • Unbroken Awareness

    My life is now a floating shellI am a vessel on that river.The storm, the ship, the sea,Whose shores we lost in crossing.  I
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  • Untitled

    By Wilhelm Saayman
    This series of images, made using pen and ink, photographs and Photoshop, explore alternate/dream realities.
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  • Untitled

    By Aryan Kaganof
    /At R550 rand I thought I'd rather die/ My mother: can I trust this woman?/ I thought the Romans were coming, dinkum/ …and always
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Monday, 14 September 2009 02:00

Eyeballs, Fish-heads and Bubbles

By  Mehita Iqani
My life, like yours perhaps, is lived in full-colour and it is zooming and determined and breathless and racing – and it lingers for no one. Least of all me.

All too often, to my fist-clenched impatience, life politely requests that I take a seat, or a numbered ticket, and wait. It will be with me shortly. It continues to zoom and race and arrange its affairs – MY affairs – but without the necessity of my involvement. And in these moments I am forced to pause. I do not want to pick up a well-thumbed trashy magazine from the waiting-room table and leaf through it while I wait for my name or number to be called. I want to carry on with my business of making decisions, doing things, being in control. But increasingly, of late, I am forced to pause. The flow becomes suspended in the pith of my soul, whatever cause it is I am seeking to develop cannot advance, things beyond my control have forced me to stop, I am in a traffic jam and need to wait things out – with grace, preferably. In these moments of limbo, I do not know what will happen next, which way will events turn, or what will become of me. I am forced to accept that nothing is known or certain. The future is held in anticipation, the flow and movement of my life is halted and frozen, and I am forced not only to stop but to contemplate the magnitude of change that is about to come… any second now. So then, for me, the ellipsis is lived as an experience of change to come, that has not yet come, and the stillness of having to watch and wait for it to arrive… or not. It is frustrating.

Also, there is everything of the unspoken in the ellipsis, it is a symbol of the unsaid, the unsayable. When letters and spaces melt away and resist being fixed and shaped into solid linguistic form in the most crucial of moments – that one chance to express the truth of a slippery feeling, or what exactly is missing from something, the shape and extent of a knot of anxiety in the guts – the unsaid cannot spill over into articulation: it is mute. What I am trying to say is that it is exactly when trying to say something and knowing that it is unsayable, that expression melts into a blank space, full and pregnant with meaning and communication but somehow impotent and lost, never to be recovered. And it is in moments like this that we submit to the failure implicit within every act of creative expression. Will we ever understand each other? Could the glimpses that we offer into our minds and thoughts and experiences ever be more than simply that, glimpses?

It is exactly … as a space of frustration, pause, hesitation or inexpressibility that is taken up and explored in so many dimensions in this latest issue of ITCH Online. Ironically, although words, images and sounds are by their very nature and materiality committed to attempting to articulate the ineffable, the collection of works curated here seems to acknowledge, above all, the futility of those efforts. Or… could it be that even though we all know that there are some things that cannot or should not be said, and thus replace them with a short row of dots, we nevertheless gain a deep pleasure from the beautiful frustration that is the fruit born of the acts and processes of creative expression? What I have learnt from the contributors featured in this issue is that life's invitation (or instruction) to moments of pause, which at times frustrate me, can be understood in terms of eloquence and space, instead.

The works collected here suggest an infinite number of things. … is a breath held, expelled, or stilled… It is a solo walk in the desert, a dreamlike rambling through a surreal landscape… It is the freedom from commitment to the next thing, an open ending… It is negative space, context and permeable boundary all rolled up into one... It is a possibility of microscopic concentration... It is at once irreverent and heartbroken (a bald head can represent a satire or a moving tribute). It is a piece of a puzzle and a sense of continuation… It is the impossibility of (inter-species or inter-lover) communication... It is eyeballs and fish-heads and bubbles... It is underwater noise... and sailing... It is that moment before suicide and after redemption... It is violence and fantasy and confusion... It is a life frustrated by a world war and two continents... It is clichéd: it is also so much more...

So, until my number is called… I'll just breathe, while I tighten and loosen the knot behind my ribs.
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