Inspired by a current project proposal I made this lens, turned it on its head and animated an optical sculpture.
In 2013 I experienced my first Afrika Burn. There are no words that could possibly describe the experience. You drive through the last outpost of civilization on the West side of South Africa (sorry Calvinia) and then turn down an unforgiving tire chewing dirt road to the end of the world.
Obviously I read a lot about AB before this trip. What to take with and what to expect. One word caught my eye and stuck – “participation“. In the guidelines and well stocked informative website it states:
“We call it the “DO-ocracy”. Forget standing at the sidelines. Jump in with both feet and get busy.”
Well, I prepared and packed my little suitcase of mirrors and tested the waters with a theoretical project. If one could focus sunlight with enough mirrors on a combustible target we should get fire? Fire from the sky… right?
This initial test was a failure but the idea was a success. All the participants (I packed 100 mirrors and got at least 25 people to hold two mirrors each) believed in the theory!
So, back to the drawing board… I started preparing and mulling over ideas to make this project a success.
AB 2014 was fast approaching and with the help of great friends – Thomas König & Samuel Weisenborn – we built the sculpture and fine-tuned the details with contingency plans. Anything that could possibly go wrong was though off and sorted. Then Thomas slipped of the first rung of the stepladder whilst we were busy with the final coat of paint, one week before lift off, and broke his ankle. Disaster!!
Thomas, being who he is, kept the spirits high. He helped direct the packing as we needed his Land Rover to get down, flailing his crutches as we tied down the steel to the roof rack. We needed a four-man crew. Billy, Sam’s 20 year old son and Inglin, my son, made up the final crew. (b.t.w. Sam and Billy flew in especially from Germany, helped with the construction and made this project possible.)
“Cosmic Ignition” refers to bringing fire from the sky. It is a participatory art project that enables the spirit of participation and collective focus to achieve a common goal. The basic outline is to have volunteers help reflect sunlight from the sky on a “target”, igniting the combustible materials (newspaper and pine cones) and bring the Mother Flame to Earth.
The gods smiled on us and send fire from the sky. Guiding the light we ignited Cosmic Ignition and lit the Mother Flame.
Thank you to all you beautiful people who helped prove the theory right last year! Keep on giving and never stop participating!!
Studio snaps #1 is a test of how to post my galleries. There are exciting possibilities taking shape…
In 2013 I had a solo exhibition titled “Anomaly” at Arts on Main in the Maboneng Precinct, Johannesburg.
The show was held at Parts & Labour .
– a deviation/departure from what is normal or expected –
Our perception of the world and our powers of observation are shifting. In the new global village we consume and disperse vast amounts of second-hand information through PC’s, smart-phones, and television. But despite our enhanced interconnectivity we are more estranged from reality and each other than ever before.
Through this collection of interactive sculptural lenses, Anomaly offers the mind’s eye an altered view of our world. Using time-honoured traditional cold-working techniques, solid blocks of optical crystal are transformed into unique viewfinders.
Each step in creating an Anomaly is done by hand, from the delicate process of shaping and carving to the final 10-stage finish and polishing.
I manipulate angles of clarity, reflection and distortion to compel the viewer to look at the glass, but see the world within.
The first sculptures of the year are coming along nicely. They are for an invitational year long exhibition by the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust. This year’s exhibition is titled “Reflections”, which can refer to literal or spiritual meaning. (More details on the opening etc. will follow)
Their title, “Bullet Proof”, refers to the thick glass panes used in my sculptures. This glass dates from a tumultuous time in South Africa’s history.
These bullet proof panes come from vehicles used for riot control during the early nineties / late eighties, witnessing the stranglehold of apartheid faltering under the uprising to install universal democracy in our country.
Each pane bears testament to those times. In these sculptures they become a symbol of our personal lives, metaphors of being human.
Stone comes from earth, has weight and is ancient.
Steel is strong, malleable and manufactured.
Combining these elements and constructing the sculptures according to human dimensions I want them to “walk” among public life, as we do, reflecting their history and strength; reminding us of the path we have traversed to be right here, right now.
This is my first post on the personal website. I guess I’ll have to step up the learning curve to show the world what I am doing and who I am.
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