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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Tuesday, 16 February 2010 02:00

Wandering wonders / Wondering wanders

By  Mehita Iqani
What shall I write about for my editorial? A good question, and appropriate to the theme at hand despite being rather predictable and clichéd. Then again, I have always rather liked clichés. To some degree, every question is a cliché, is it not? Rhetorically speaking, of course.

What will happen next? How will I get through this? Where will I go? What will I do? What will make me happy? Where will life take me? Will I choose it or will it choose me?

Sometimes I think that I am addicted to questions, especially those that concern the future and contain the word "will". It's not so much the answers that I'm interested in because I know that they are impossible to come by. It's more that rush of anxiety that comes with contemplating a variety of possibilities that unfold as tantalizing narratives with me at centre stage. Such questions are an enticing drug deflecting energy and commitment away from the now, where it is arguably most needed. Will-questions are solipsistic, selfish and egotistical; they are pointless in their impotence and vociferous in their control-freakishness. Questions framed around the word 'will' seem to think that if they make the demands to know vociferously enough, answers will be forced to appear. But what does it matter what will or will not occur, when life is ready to be lived whole-heartedly in the now? Easier said than done, of course, when there are colourful open-ended future-fantasies in which one can lose oneself rather than engaging with the dull certainties of the moment.

Do you understand? Am I making sense? Can you explain more what you mean by that? Where do you stand on this issue? What's your perspective on that problem? How would you compare or contrast this with that? How does it fit into the bigger picture? Can you give an example of that?

A lot of my time right now is spent trying to ask and answer questions, not always the same ones. It's what I do for a living. Higher education is fundamentally organised around questions which are key to the quest for knowledge. We ask them in the lecture and seminar rooms, they organise reading and writing, they frame and direct research. Teachers want students to ask questions and to question the answers they read and hear. Questioning is supposedly a mark of independent thinking, an indication of the development and exercise of critical ability. But they are relentless and prolific, difficult, challenging; they resist one-word answers. Questions signpost things that we find confusing, complex, enigmatic or puzzling about the world around us so that we can ask, "Why is it so? How is it so? What does it mean?" And by doing this, over and over again, we become entwined in the questions and entangled in the answers. It's a way of life for some; others may wonder, "Is all this questioning really necessary?"

A mind without questions is a mind at peace. Does such a mind exist?

Excuse me? What was that? Did I miss something? Who am I? Would you like a cup of tea? Are you free next Friday? What about the 27th? Is that the time already? Where did I put my keys?

Enquiries rise almost automatically from our minds and throats at almost every conceivable situation, and linger, dissipate, or are endlessly renewed. The thing that characterises humanity is, perhaps, our innate need to question almost everything that we experience, see and imagine. Questioning is our way of reaching out, it is a practice so deeply embedded in our consciousness that humanity would be lost if we weren't able to ask for and about things. The collection of work in this issue marries a variety of forms of expression with questions, some existentialist, others trite: What's  that making me itch? What is identity and why should I have one? Where do I come from? What if we were together? Why do I write? Is this genre of photography clichéd? What's for lunch? Are you scared? Is it fair? Does it make sense? Is there life after death?

And so on. It's an enigmatic issue, but what else could we have expected from ? but a collection of wandering wonders about the meaning of it all and wondering wanders through creative self-expression.
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