archive - issue 10

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    By MJ Turpin
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Untitled

    By Wilhelm Saayman
    This series of images, made using pen and ink, photographs and Photoshop, explore alternate/dream realities.
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  • Let's go there

    By Leigh Le Roux
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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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  • /

    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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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 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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    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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  • 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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Sunday, 25 May 2008 02:00

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 next person who also thinks they're pretty damn special. God loves all of his little children, doesn't he? Dunno, we don't talk much anymore. I talk to the plants rather, they don't gimme lip. Take the issue of indigenous plants, for example. With all the bonsai classes you've been to, and all the books you have, you're still as dim as fog when it comes to the real issues. Why? Because you've accepted the notion that you've got it down, that you're well informed. Lemme tell you – nobody will ever get plants down, because it's such a motherfucker-size field of knowledge. Ask any botanist or hort. It's enormous, and it grows every time some clever explorer comes gasping outta the bush with a previously undiscovered specimen in his shaky paw.

The issue of exotic plants puts people on edge, whether by cause of people being opposed to their extermination (exotic plants, darling, not people) for nostalgic reasons, or being in favour of their extermination on environmental grounds. At the core of the issue is a common misconception that many species of plants are indigenous by default; people assume that because they've been part of the landscape forever they must be African. That logic is dangerous and would class AK47's as traditional weapons by association. Tsk, tsk, misguided plant lovers. Best check your facts before locking horns with a well-informed plant fundi at dinner over that lovely glass of Merlot. Things could get messy.

A tree like the lowly wattle does not elicit as much moon-faced sighing from "forward-thinking" people as does a specimen such as the jacaranda in full bloom. No wattle-loving protesters waving placards for a plant that most recognise as roadside scrub, oh no. No contest, it seems, in the mind of those whose memory lanes are lined with prolific purple blooms. Floral fascists. What a pity then, that they, as with the lowly wattle, shall all have to be cut down to size. Entirely. Lovely tree, the jacaranda. Beautiful plumage. But they're pining for the Amazon and as such should see the business end of a chainsaw, every last one of them. The fact is that they don't belong in South Africa, and have few redeeming features. One of these is that they make great perches for strangler figs. Another is that jacaranda wood has a lovely grain and light colour, making it perfect for bowls and sculpture. For those who verlang na die ou dae, it would be best to take a Polaroid before they all go to the big chipboard factory in the sky. Take a deep suck on your G&T, tannie. It's time for the chipper to sing.

As far as those not-so-lovely wattle trees go, we have a philanthropic eighteenth-century bishop to thank for this Australian plant's successful invasion of KwaZulu Natal. The story goes that in his magnanimous wisdom, this misguided missionary took it upon himself to provide the locals with an eternal supply of firewood. This he achieved by scattering wattle seeds at the roadside while on his meandering ministrations, which covered a substantial part of the province. We now have a handsome crop of wattle, which unfortunately compounds soil erosion problems and thrives in the absence of natural enemies. Makes good firewood, though. But then so do bishops, but it's against the law to burn them.

The issue of invasive alien plants serves to highlight a general ignorance of the importance of indigenous flora on the part of South Africans. Most of us have the reckoning of a 6-year old when it comes to identifying plants – it's a shocker, it's true, but a lot of people, when pressed, could probably only identify three kinds of plants: Tree. Bush. Grass. Oh, wait – maybe four if you include "Cactus". Typically, when looking at plants we tend to be most enamoured with the pretty and the unusual, which, if applied in human terms would translate to only having eyes for supermodels and circus freaks. Which sounds about right when you consider the images that capture our attention in the media. Oh, how fickle we are.

Consider the jacaranda; lovely tree, beautiful plumage. Now, where's my chainsaw?
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