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, 05 September 2011 02:00

Flipping Figures of Eight

By  Mehita Iqani
Ever feel like you're living life doubled back on yourself? Me neither. But the echoes, the returns, the patterns, the coming-back-to's: I feel them quite profoundly. That, and the newness.

My life has flipped a figure of eight on me. I started off in this one place at a tender age. It was a place unchosen, and that always rankled me. Back then I didn't even know I was supposed to find myself. All I knew was a certain highway that took me to school and that I should regularly put twenty rands of petrol into the tank of my 1979 Mini Cooper Special so I didn't get stuck on said highway on the way there or home. All I knew was some kind of sense that there was, surely, more to life than this. Fast forward: life happened and those things that were more found me (this is the thing: I don't live life, it lives me). A couple of twists in the tale, the flick of a few switches, a toggle of hemispheres once then again, and next thing I know, here I am again. But the city is like a new and improved version and so am I. Wherever you go, there you are. Wherever you came from, there's your due. Those that leave always return to somewhere. Home is home. Again. And I'm here and it's good.

The psychic intersections, the missed off-ramps, the wrong turns: all right, beautiful. The mistakes corrected (or not), the cringe-worthy reminiscences, the judging-it-wrongs and trying-to-get-it-rights: no problem. What is it all about, if not tying ourselves up into magnificent knots and then trying to make our friends laugh with the stories of how we tried to untangle them?

This issue's organizing symbol has been interpreted in some fascinating ways. The fetish blindfold, self-pleasuring, so many kinds of longing that feel like they'll never end, naïve promises of inexhaustible love, a pair of juvenile breasts in a wet t-shirt, vampire birthdays (what's the point?), eternal damnation (ha!), mathematics translated into art, crossing over from one sex to the other, getting all tied up, and definitely lust (a lot of that). And more: unsurprisingly (forgive me the predictable pun) the infinity symbol has a limitless set of connotations.

The counterpoint: the only reason we are able to imagine infinity is because of the scarcity of almost everything in the material world. There is only so much coal and oil on the planet: we'll burn both until we run out and find ourselves in a place of no return; only then will we realize we should have been more careful. Such is human folly. Fresh, clean water isn't easy to come by for the majority of human beings. Food, safety, primary healthcare: also hard to access for many. Not enough to go around - or so we're expected to believe, otherwise why would we remain complacent in seeing others go without? But apparently - so I'm told - some resources in life are infinite: kindness, love, pleasure, friends. But just because they're limitless does not mean they should not be treated with care. The more care, the more love. The more communication, the more pleasure. The more thought, the more kindness. The more effort, the more friends. This is how goodness becomes infinite - through cultivation. By being nurtured, it keeps unfolding.

What I'm saying is that nothing becomes endless without a little work. Infinity doesn't just happen all by itself.

--- mehita
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