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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Friday, 03 March 2006 02:00

Clichés for the tense / temporal / temporary / transient

"Hold to the here, the now, through which all future plunges to the past."
Embarrassing as it is to admit that I have tried to read Ulysses (yes, the one by J-j-j-j-j-james J-j-j-j-j-joyce), there was at least one sublime line that stuck in my head (the rest seemed to decompose into a morass of punctuation-less textual confusion. What, I, a simple reader, asked, did J-j-j-j-j-joyce have against the humble comma?):

"Hold to the here, the now, through which all future plunges to the past." At the risk of sounding cheesy (but for what else are the hallowed reflexive columns of an "editorial" intended?) and clichéd (ah, but I love clichés), I think that this issue of ITCH is one of these types of portals, through which potential energy becomes incarnate, then passes on to the hallways of the done. ITCH was always intended as a platform for work that was unlikely to be supported by mainstream media, and in this mandate I think we have succeeded. You will notice, if you are familiar with earlier issues of ITCH, that we have reshuffled things in order to make more space for more writing. (If you're not familiar with earlier issues of ITCH, don't worry about it, but feel free to buy them). Since we launched in our very enthusiastic fashion, we've learnt a couple of things and our mandate has crystallised: ITCH is as a quality print space that supports and prioritises literature in South Africa, with a secondary, but no less committed, focus on supporting new creative visual work. Fine. Back to the cheap philosophising.
The sense of the now being a tangible space that touches on both the future and the past is powerful. There is something about committing ideas to ink and paper that solidifies it and offers potency, which is why I have always been adamant that contemporary South Africa, ("now" South Africa) needs another three dimensional, hold-it-in-your-hands literary publication. ITCH has done its best to offer this service to the creative community, but it has not been easy. Our future, like any future, is uncertain, so I will not make promises about when our next issue will be due. Suffice it to say that it will be as soon as is viable. In the meantime, there is something celebratory about the notion of now, a kind of "live for the moment" energy that enlivens us. I'm thrilled (and I use this word with impudence) that this issue exists, that you can hold it in your hands, that you can hold to the now, and that the work of almost 30 creative activists has been brought to your attention. Each piece stands alone. Although thematic and inter-textual links are inevitable (such as the recurrence of the word "fuck" – it has been mainstreamed, it is no longer a curse tucked under the consciousness; the contemporary obsession with digital media; ideas of self; the generous use of… ellipsis dots… they are they new —) I'm not going to bore you by trying to convince you that there is a theme connecting all these pieces. The theme is dead; you don't need one. The thread connecting the works on show here is the fact that they are innovative, interesting and captivating and that they nuzzle one another between the covers of ITCH. What connects all the works in this issue is that they are pieces of the creative future. This is particularly the case for the words: I have no doubt that there are some writers within these covers, published for the first time perhaps, who will go on to make a significant impact on the literary, philosophical and journalistic landscapes of our times. The literary future, with them, is plunging on to the past through the pages of ITCH. Perhaps they will remember the humble, struggling, perpetually broke, trying-to-make-an-impact, hoping-for-survival, "creative submissions" magazine that first published them, one day. I for one am struck by the distinctiveness of some of the new voices on these pages; my faith in "the future of writing" renewed (not that I ever lost it). Sometimes, I cannot work out what can be said and what can't. What is the point at which one must withhold information? Is forthrightness a virtue or a complication? I'm starting to learn (perhaps I'm finally growing up) that self-censorship is a tool of power. What people don't know, they want to know, and if you know it and they don't, you might be able to hold them in the palm of your hand for a while. For me, this is theory, not yet practice. I don't buy it. Maybe no one really cares about how honest I am, how loose my fingers on the keyboard. I've allowed this "editorial" to be "personal", because I think that it might be my last. And I want to say some things to anyone who might care to listen: I've worked for years at taking ITCH down the potholed road from concept to reality, purely because I believed (and believe) that it was important and because I wanted to be part of something important. I've been a volunteer worker for creative expression since ITCH was conceived and born, and I plan to always be able to section aside enough time in my career to continue to do this kind of work. It's been an honour to be able to create a (albeit flawed, albeit temporary) channel for the future and I will always be grateful to the contributors who (mostly) trusted me with their work and (usually) appreciated gaining mindshare in a radical media experiment. While ITCH offers now a tangible window into the future with its presence, its future presence is not assured. But the presence of five magazines in the past makes our future deliciously open and my personal commitment to keep thinking about new ways to channel the creative future adds a little cinnamon to the pancake of time. All this talk of past, present and future is making me a lot less tense. So, until whenever. —––– mehita
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