Monday, 27 June 2011

hotel bedford

ek het in 'n vorige post (22 Junie) oor die GREAT oosthuysen-familie geskryf waar ek tydens my fiets-reis in die oos-kaap in februarie 2011 oorgebly het. in kort : 'n familie wat hulle deur en harte vir my oopgemaak het, sonder om my van 'n bar of soap te ken. chop-chop het die ys gesmelt, die soundsystems uitgerol, gepartykie laat die biesies bewe. die pa, andre, het vir my 'n CD opgeneem waarop ek 50 minute se klaviermusiek speel. my eerste vol-lengte opname! ek het laas week een van die tracks op my blog opgelaai. hou die spasie dop > nog meer gaan volg(-;

hulle seun, diaan, het die sondag oggend "Hotel California". saam met sy kitaar gesing  - wat 'n engel van 'n stem. ek het die woorde van die song http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eagles/hotelcalifornia.html gevat en dit omskep in >>>

hotel bedford

vir die oosthuysens in bedford

op 'n helder ooskaap straat, warm wind in my hare
koel geur van skaduwee's wat oprys deur die blare
daar voor aan die groen kant van die straat
hoor ek hoe glimmerende klanke met my praat
my voete groei vlerke en my oë word helder
ek't gestop vir die nag of drie
daar staan julle in die deur
ek hoor hoe adam blaf
en ek dink by myself,
'hierdie is die knus sonhuis EN die koel oase van 'n sterregewelf'
julle vat my fiets en wys my die weg
daar was stemme deur die gang,
wat aan my ore kom hang...

welkom by Hotel Bedford
so 'n lieflike plek
wat jou gees en lyf opwek
soveel liefde en plesier in Hotel Bedford
enige tyd van die dag
kan jy dit daar vind sonder om te soek of te wag

haar stem is die van 'n aktrise, sy het 'n huis van spieëls en klippe
en 'n fan-club van kinders en engele wat hang aan haar rooi, rooi lippe
sy het baie mooi, mooi drome wat sy op haar vlerke neem
en hoe ons kon dans in die valentynsnagte
soele sweet en soene bly klou alomheen
sommige dans om te lewe, sommige lewe om te dans!

so roep ek die kaggaberg,
asseblief, bring my 'n glas koelte
hy antwoord, 'sorrie, ons is uit; ons het dit nog laas bedien in die 
voorjaar se soelte'
en nogsteeds klink die stemme van hier naderby
wek hulle geeste in die middel van die dag wat agter my kuite bly ingly
en ek hoor hulle sê...

welkom by Hotel Bedford
so 'n lieflike plek
wat jou gees en lyf opwek'
soveel liefde en plesier in Hotel Bedford
enige tyd van die dag
kan jy dit daar vind sonder om te soek of te wag

hulle weet hoe om te lewe in Hotel Bedford
wat 'n wonderlike plek om die tyd te verwyl
daar waar jy in die oase se skadu's kan skuil;
die liedere van 'n suiwer seunstem kan hoor sing
en die sketse van 'n meisiehand oral om jou sien uitkring

kitare teen die muur
koffie op die vuur
en hy sê, 'kom speel die klawers van die yamaha,
ek sal jou opneem vir die nageslag, sê net ja'
en tussen die klankmeester se kabels
roep ek my galoperende vingers bymekaar
en ek speel diep in die rekenaar se geheue in
en voel en hoor hoe die klanke my hart oorwin

...

die laaste ding wat ek onthou, ek't my rooi perd opgesaal teen 'n wolklose
lug
en uit die hittegolwe van Poseidon gevlug
ek kon die roep van die pad nie langer ignoreer
om die lesse van die swerwers verder te leer
die portier sê,

ons is geprogrammeer om liefde te gee en te ontvang.
jy kan enige tyd jou gang gaan
maar jou hart sal bly om na Hotel Bedford te verlang.

24 februarie 2011

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Letter to a cameraman at Afrika Burn

I have written in a previous post about my disjointedness about seeing a performance of myself at AfrikaBurn on youtube. The cameraman, Gilles Chevalier, a charming man with  a wonderful eye and spirit has posted the youtube video a bit more than a week ago. I saw some great footage of his of the AfrikaBurn experience. Initially when i saw the video of me performing i was very positively moved, but since then people have been questioning me about nude AfrikaBurn photos/videos that is doing the rounds . thanks to all for the interaction. yet it has all made me feel more unresolved than before. the best thing i could think of doing was to write to Gilles.

Dear Gilles,

i knew somewhere along the line you would read my "dilemma" blog i posted a few days ago. it has been such whirling times in my soul the past week. contradictory times. it is my first week that i have been so fully present on facebook, watching videos and surfing the net. i used to be very anti social media, mainly because of the "unreal" spatial aspect of it. but now i see more of the good qualities in it, like its brilliant power of communication.

in the past week i have had so many conversations about the nudity thing  that my brain is so split. i know you say the problem is not me being topless in the video, but my performance itself and the sound quality of the video. yet i think it ALL plays a role in my mental uprootedness.

(to see the video of me and Justin inserted in the Fata Morgana youtube film by Herman van Wyk that i have seen after your one, did not challenge me – and strange – there i was in the complete nude. maybe the reasons for this is that the video is mainly centered around the burning of the Fata Morgana, it is quite celebratory and  the inserted footage of me and Justin is rather fleeting. the video is much shorter, just under 2 minutes and it is less intense and raw.)

to view your video stirs a few things. it is my first full-on youtube appearance of a raw performance piece – a piece that literally goes back to the soil of the earth to discover a more primal, elemental power of being. even if i did it as a public performance at AfrikaBurn, it was a very personal and intimate journey with my own Self, within the universal theme of heritage and creativity. i had my reservations about performing it. you mention that the sound quality is not the best, one does not hear my voice completely -  that could not be helped. it is one of those things with performing the way i do in the Tankwa -  the space is SO big and scattered and people are all over the place. it is impossible with an unplugged voice to reach everyone (and the camera mic). And the other thing is that the video is a shortened version (about 11 minutes) of the whole 30-40 minute performance, not conveying the complete narrative< but hey, i understand youtube exhibits videos that are  striking, short and sweet (-;

my main statement in my "dilemma" blogpost of seeing your video was me feeling uprooted and out of place > it is not the video and the nudity that made me uneasy  - it is the context in which it is placed - one of the wi(l)dest platforms of social media - youtube. there has been one person verbalizing to me that i make too much fuss of it all. yet i believe my feeling about this displacement is valid. to take nudity out of its natural context and paste it onto a wider "Public Wall" will stir many. it has stirred me. if i stand naked it may appear as a confidence in myself. which it is. yet it is a vulnerable confidence - a naked and expressive body and soul that still craves to feel "together, protected and contained".

all the good friends i have made at AfrikaBurn, including you, have given me such a solid sense of belonging. i have never felt quite so inspired, challenged, free, loved and so incredibly happy as at Afrikaburn. it is a very kindred connection that joins the AfrikaBurners together. that connectedness is not present in cyberspace. that is exactly one of the reasons for creating festivals like AfrikaBurn -  to bring people together in REAL time and REAL space, to unlock mythical and primal energies in ourselves; to express our souls in an extraordinary togetherness in an age where our souls are being so challenged and chopped up to fit into "default" roles ruled by distorted and unnatural man-made norms and systems.

as i told you in my previous mails, the visuals of your video is so incredibly striking, the composition and editing so beautifully done. forgive me for not mentioning the good qualities of the video in my previous blog. that was pure neglicence on my part by being so spaced out by all these external dialogues happening. i have been so exuberantly alive and expressing myself at AfrikaBurn. to be back in the post-AfrikaBurn space, unleashes so many afterthoughts and questions from varied people. lines have been blurred there. i love the blurring! yet i am back in the default world and somehow i need to function here as well; it is hard, but i do. is the InterNet part of the default world? do i need to care so much? i want to be so ferociously myself in ALL spaces. so i have to make peace with my full being being present in ALL these spaces. i can not be so fussy. i should relax about all of this. be cool and let myself flow, as i know i can.  this is why i have joined the cyberspace and facebook community. there is value to be got and added there.

if you ask me the question now: would i like to have the video on youtube, i would answer "Yes". man has recorded their journey since time immemorial – from rock paintings all the way to youtube. let me not be fearful of this story of mine being told and recorded.

seeing that i mentioned my "dilemma" with this youtube video in a previous post, i think it necessary to post this letter as a resolution. Gilles, no hard feelings from my side. i am happy that you made a great video.  i am simply a feral woman fearing any form of captivity. but then, one is only free when one has stopped fearing.

x
Lara

Friday, 24 June 2011

To my fellow Afrika Burners - a poem for you all


I miss my Burning Family so much. You have crept deep into my heart.

I want to share a poem with you

The Pulse of Fire

from this wild dance i stumble over my feet
the wild energy
still clinging around my calves
i tiptoe guardedly with
the pulse of fire that pumps firelight through my veins
it can only be fertile fire
that is so alive
and colours my blood red-hot
so that I can look out over the plains
like newly fired clay
and feel decades of survive
beating through my blood
the fever of the will charges through the flaming tunnels
with an insistent rhythmica
it reforms my feet into
primitive pulsations of dance
that flames over the skin of earth
tautly strung muscles tremble ritualistically
like resonating songs over vocal chord and plains
yes, indeed! fire's captured energy knows no equal
fire speaks in one language
that all clay and skin fathom without cerebrality
it is the embrace of fire
that teaches us to love
it is the unrest of fire
that teaches us to know no peace
unquenchable phrases of fire
siss steam sing

fired body is now alone,
in her vitrified melancholy,
so fiercely alone

photo: Francois le Roux

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Direction of Fish / Rigting van Vis


In March this year I was part of a colloborative exhibition/show in Parktown, Jhb. The fellow artist was sculptor Coenie Strydom. He assembled 18 of his ceramic and cement sculptures for which I wrote 18 complementing poems. Here are two of the pieces >


rigting van vis I

vis-kop-en-vin wys die rigting aan
waar ons heen moet gaan:
na die water-katedrale
waar ongehoorde liedere
deur wier en alg breek
en die water-hamonieё
my lyf be-vin
en my ge-aard-heid
distilleer tot
hierdie nuwe
vis-bestaan
-
direction of fish I

head and fin of fish show the direction
in which we must go:
to the water cathedrals
where unheard songs
break through moss and kelp
and the harmonies of water
re-fin my body
and distil
my being into
this new
fish existence



rigting van vis II

soos katedrale-klanke
klink die see deur die holtes
van die skeletale oorblyfsel van
vis
roep sy oogholtes hunkerend
na die nat glimmer vinne
wat eens die soet smaak van die getye 
geproe het
-
direction of fish II
the sea sounds like cathedral timbres
through the cavities
of the skeletal remnants of
fish
the hollow of his eyes calls longily
to the wet glimmer fins
that once tasted the sweetness
of the speed of tides

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Pols van Vuur

Pols van Vuur by Lara Kirsten

Herewith my first sound appearance on my blog!  It is me improvising on the piano!

[play the track while reading the poem below]

I am playing on an electronic piano of the Oosthuyzen family I met in February this year in the quaint Eastern Cape town of Bedford. It was during my first cycle journey of the year; I stopped over at the schools in the small towns and gave workshops in Afrikaans poetry and where there was a piano at hand, we made music as well!

I was staying over at the hostel of the Bedford Country School when friend, Hessie in J-Bay suggested I make contact with the Oostuyzen family living just next to the school. Hessie emphasized that they have a sound studio (-; I loaded my bike, waved the school kiddies goodbye and trekked next door. I made contact and lo and behold, this vibrant family opened up their home for me for the entire weekend. Andre Oosthuyzen, his wife Rika and their two beautiful children, Diaan and Coreen are the "music" and "arty" family in Bedford. 

And what a weekend we had. It was Valentinesday the Saturday and sommer in a jiffy they organised that I play piano for the Dance that evening. Andre is also a brilliant DJ, so after the formality of dinner and civilized piano music we had the djol of our lives. You can not imagine that a mother of two can party so exuberantly as Rika! Go Girl!

Anyway to get back to the recording - I never thought I would do a recording on an electronic instrument; I just prefer the wood, ebony and ivories of a REAL piano. Yet I grabbed the opportunity when Andre suggested the idea of recording. On the Sunday in their livingroom, amidst noises coming from the television, computer games and chattering I recorded a 50 minute CD. (That is the wonder of this electronic instrument - you play directly into the computer so no external noises are picked up.) Andre, well-versed in sound engineering quickly sorted all the tracks and voila, burnt the CD and gave it to me to take on my journey. The collection of 23 tracks is a mix of classics, blues, jazz and improvisations. I have used the CD as a demo; and it has been opening a few doors of opportunity and sharing! 

To have ones music on disc is such a powerful tool. And even more powerful now that I have discovered the tools of the internet and uploaded a track onto The Net. Technological gadgets and programs are so much part of our First World existence, and yet I am dumbstruck by the possibilities and convenience it adds to one's life.

The track featuring here was inspired by a filmmaker and friend of mine in Stellenbosch, Pierre Lombard. I initially called the track "Son op die R63". I had visions of Pierre making a short film of this long and beautiful road, the R63. I cycled on that road in the sweltering heat of that February sun. I now changed it to "Die pols van Vuur" (The pulse of Fire). My Afrikaans poem below adds an extra dimension to the music. Read, listen and enjoy!

die pols van vuur

uit die wilde dans steier ek
die wilde pas
nog taai om my kuite
trippel ek vreesbevange met
die pols van vuur wat fakkels deur my are pomp
dit kan net vrugbare vuur wees
wat so lewendig in my binnenste kom sit
en my vel rooi-warm verkleur
sodat ek soos ‘n nuut gepoleerde beeld
oor die plein staar
en dekades van survive
in my rooi bloed voel klop
die koors van die wil kom met die vlamme-tonnels
deurgelei met ‘n indringerige ritmika
dit hervorm my voete tot
primitiewe passies dans
wat vlam oor die vel van aarde se kontinente van klip
styfgespande spiere tril ritualisties
soos uitgegilde liedere oor stemband en vlaktes tril
ja, wragtig! hierdie vasgevange energie ken geen gelyke
vuur praat in een taal
wat alle klei en vel sonder serebraliteit kan verstaan
dis die omhelsing van vuur
wat ons leer om lief te hê
dis die onrus van vuur
wat ons leer om geen vrede te ken
voortstuwende frases van vlam
suis stoom sing

nou is beeld van lyf alleen,
in haar geharde melankolie,
so bitter-alleen

day in day out


day in
day out
i look to find traces of you
in the folds of the city
on the edges of the wind
i catch phantom-parts of you
a shoulder here
a cheekbone there
but never the whole you
i scavenge alleys
sniff torn newspapers
all that i pick up is
signs of your unwhererabouts

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A great connection

I am staying over for a few days at the home of a good friend, Maggie Verster. She is The One who has rigged me up with my blog, my facebook, twitter and gmail and helped to set-up my blackberry to perform like a mini-wizard! We met in Hogsback where she is based for some weeks in a year. For the rest of the time she lives with her family in Jozi and she opened up her home for me whenever I pass by. She has wonderful wifi connection so I can connect, update and upload to my heart's content. 

Maggie is an Educational Technology Specialist. For REAL. Can you imagine someone like this crossing my path? I am blessed to the max! It is one of those relationships one can so easily take for granted, because of the free flow of interaction. Yet I need to send a special note of gratitude to her. I can run to her with almost any technological heart ache and she will find a remedy! I know you are reading (and administering) my blog, so you will read this, dear Maggie.

Maggie and I connect in a wonderfully flowing and comfortable way. She is such a spirited and enthusiastic woman. In her company any mood of heaviness and despondency evaporates. She has been a great support to me. If I can call anyone a fan of mine, she is definitely it - the best you can possibly imagine! Around her I feel the confidence of a lion on the hunt. As an artist astir with so many mind and body flights she has a way of reconnecting many of my loose running threads. Initially we had passionate dialogue about the pros and cons of cyber-networking. Before I met her I was rather reactionary about the whole C-generation and its workings. To be honest, I was simply uninformed.

Only two months ago I started to accept all my Facebook requests, tweeting and blogging. Lo and behold, I am now quite addicted...I love photographs, writing and communication... so all these tools were created for me!!! I understand why I rebelled against it – the fear of being sucked in.. And ooipelooi I am so sucked in!! I love crossing boundaries. It was bound to happen to step into this realm!

Maggie > ek onthou my en jou dialoog aan die begin  >

ek se banaal
jy se kommunikasie
ek se ydelheid
jy se opvoeding
ek se tentakels
jy se omhelsing

jy het vir my 'n wereld oopgemaak wat my eers skrik op die lyf gejaag het.
'n wereld wat my dizzy, f*kkin dizzy maak.
maar sonder druk of stoot het jy my in die wonder web ingetoor.
ja hierdie wereld toor met my kop
dit maak my duiselig
dit oorweldig my
dit stimuleer my eindeloos
 - ek sit tot wie weet watter ure in die oggend op jou wifi -
dit daag my uit
dit verskuif my grense
dit laat my ril van plesier
'n wereld met nimmereindigende poorte
wat my soos Alice – weirdly wonderful – laat voel

I feel so well connected – on so many levels – thank you,  Maggie. You are much loved and appreciated!
x



Monday, 20 June 2011

Shakespeare in the nude

When I start poetizing about nudity then you should know I do take the matter of the bare skin very seriously! I felt so inspired that I took one of Shakespeare's famous sonnets and transcribed it into this:

Let me not to the marriage of clothes
Succumb to illusion. Nude is not nude
When it covers the uncoverable,
Or colours the contours to recontour:
Oh no, it is an ever-fixed state,
That looks on shame, and is never shaken;
It is the compass to all bodies,
Whose senses are challenged yet sharpened.
Nude's not society's fool, yet erotic mounds
come under the knife of moral scrutiny;
Nude deceives not in the face of exposure,
But bares it all till shame loses its name.
If nude be proved as the true right of skin,
We are forever redeemed from this senseless sin

The original Shakespeare (Sonnet 116):

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with this brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error, and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.

Dilemma

I have seen a youtube video of a segment of my performance at
AfrikaBurn - the piece where I was born from the ground, naked with
only a panty on.
Initially when I saw it I was quite excited and flustered. He first
and last time I have appeared in youtube videos was with a poetry
performance in The Netherlands 2 years ago. I was fully dressed then
(-;
The cameraman who uploaded the video on youtube 2 days ago only asked
me whether I mind him uploading the video AFTER the fact. I initially
told him, no worries, and I didn't feel any worries. The fuller
stirrings of this dilemma only started hitting me now.
The context of my performance was at Afrikaburn where one is
surrounded by likeminded people. It is a safe space for the creative
and expressive individual. I do varied performances from strict
classical music recitals, standard performing poetry events, to
challenging, primal, cathartic stuff like this STOF piece at
Afrikaburn. I am quite comfortable with the many facets and roles of
my creative "personae". (It was and still is a long journey to reach
full confidence.)
Yet, I am starting to feel very vulnerable, exposed to see this
youtube video. People's responses have been quite good so far. I think
and hope it's going to be mostly Afrikaburners who'll watch the video,
but hey, Lara, don't be SO naïve. I hear youtube is far more popular
than facebook. (!) Must I feel flattered to have my (naked) presence
on youtube? Must I feel ill at ease? The worry is not the performance
as such - one can scarcely hear my voice. It is the nudity. People
sometime can not see beyond the flesh to the deeper meaning. I have
moved many boundaries in my mind and body, yet I still have a solid
sense of decency, respect, timing and placing. I perform in the nude
in special circumstances, like at a "freedom of expression" festival
like Afrikaburn. The context is of utmost importance. The piece was
directly feeding off the ground, and interacting with a live audience
who was relatively open to and prepared for the idea and theme (and
the nudity).
To have it wam-bam on youtube now seems to me somewhat out of place,
uprooted, disfigured... I can go on oh so dramatically. Why make a big
deal of it? I will, because I feel and think things through. I put
myself out there with great circumspection.
Mm.. The internet can be an untameable beast.
What to do? I don't feel shy. I just feel ever so slightly
uncomfortable. There is quite a lot of photographs of me and other
nude Afrikaburners doing their rounds on the Net. We don't have
control over it.
I hear you saying: if you had a problem with publicised nudity then
you should not have been running around and performing naked in the
first place! Afrikaburn is a heaven for photographers - not just
because of nudists, but the incredible beauty of the colours, the sky,
the artworks, the costumes, the stress-free and attractive demeanour
of the people. I know many moments there are being recorded on film.
That is very much part of the Afrikaburn joy - to archive the
beautiful spontaneity and expressivity.
Afrikaburn is a happening that can and should not be kept under cover.
The spirit and ethos of the fest should spread wider than the Tankwa -
respect for nature; primal dialoguing with the elements; creating a
tolerant space for the free and creative soul; engendering a loving
and compassionate community; installing a gifting economy to replace a
capitalist, consumer-driven society; advocating a mindful,
self-sustainable lifestyle. The deeper meaning of Afrikaburn is not
fully comprehensible from an outsider's perspective. Photos, video and
stories do their utmost best to share what happened there.
I go in the nude with a sense of playfulness, innocence and integrity.
I would like to see the public's perception of nudity broaden with
tolerance and understanding. But we live in warped times. I am comfy
with my nudity in public, mainly because i have an innate attraction
to what is natural and honest. Yet I am not that innocent that I do
not know that nudity can be wrongly judged AND misused. No one has
ever been nasty about my nudity, because I move in mostly open-minded
circle of friends. I do not wish to provoke or lustify like MTV
videos. I wish to make people aware of a childlike spirit that
obstinately clings to the bare skin. (Why can children be barefoot and
bare-bodied and not be frowned upon in public?). It is a naïve wish
perhaps, but I would like to see a future where the paradisiacal state
of innocence, freedom and naturalness will return.
To be comfortable with myself in the Tankwa comes quite naturally, but
to be comfortable to see my semi-nudity spread over the desensitized
space of the internet is quite another.
My mind is unresolved, and a wee but unsettled. Please let me know
what YOU make of it all. Communicate with me on this, please. I am
interested in your opinion.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

From the soil

From the soil I learn the rhythm of wind and water
Soil from which woman climbs to feel her skin fully
Soil sings from every corner of her body
Trembles the fertility of soil straight through the soles of her feet
Soil is happy to feel woman treading
her spoor deeply
She presses her lips and chest firmly to the earth
Feel the vibration of mineral strength
She knows it is a myth that she was pulled from the rib of man
Her gut tells her that she was forged from the spine of earth

Friday, 17 June 2011

face (of) the earth

Photos taken by Timothy Honey

I have returned to my blog

I have had many of you wonder where I have disappeared to. Some of you thought that I am still in the Tankwa.. i wish. I am in Jozi - good ol' JoBurg and Winter has properly settled into the bones.
Where do I begin?? After such an incredible experience as AfrikaBurn end of April, I have been so in touch with a reality that filled my veins with so much life, love, exuberance and creativity. I can give many reasons for not blogging after my extraordinary cycle trip and the Afrikaburn experience. The most obvious reason is simply that I was swept up into such a real life, a life that could not be "documented" in cyberspace. The places in my soulspace I have been to defies any journaling, somehow. Once again, i am bugged by the banality of publisizing my life like this. Yet I am making peace with the idea. Good thing - or bad thing?? - I have started to be more active on facebook, and I will be honest, I have found it rewarding and challenging. At night when I go to sleep, the last thing I see is facebook messages on my blackberry. and the first thing i do in the morning is fumbling my hand till it falls on my blackberry, put it on and wait for all the bells and rings to announce all my mails, twitters, sms', bbm's. What I feared will happen has happened - the cyberspatial tentacles have me in their full grasp, and I have started to grow an interesting frown-line between my eyes because of the intent look I focus on the small bb screen! haha! the blackberry frown!
So , jah, how do I reconcile this cyberspace with the ritual space I have been stepping in during and after AfrikaBurn? By doing what I am doing now - stepping right into the wonderful communicative space of the internet and sharing the Great Story that this life is making me so beautifully part of!
How do I start relating the ritual space I have stepped into? Ritual I do not use here off-handedly. It is a space where one plays a role that is so fully you. Even if one puts masks on, or step out of one's clothes - it can all be a place of true reflection of the inner spirit - and AfrikBurn creates such a space. I had to go to the soil of the earth to find my ritual space.  The piece I performed "Life Vitrified / Klei Verewig" turned out to be quite a success - the Afrikaans text I memorized were quickly supplanted by an improvised text. The audience, especially the children, were quite enraptured by this woman being born from the bowels of the earth. It was quite something to see how the audience numbers grew as I went to lie down into the hole I and volunteer "grave-diggers" dug the day before. Many people saw it as "the burial piece" - but I need to state that it was more of a birthing piece, a connection made with Mother Earth, and such a real connection it was. The Tankwa soil is rather rocky, so I came out of my performance quite bruised. What pains and wounds artists will suffer for their art! The piece fed directly on the theme of this year's Afrikaburn  "Stof - The Primal Mud". I dialogued with the earth as a means of exploring identity, femininity, heritage, respect for the earth and the stuff - STOF we are all made of. I intended to perform it at least twice during the fest, but the gravity of the performance was such that I could only handle one performance on the Saturday (the Friday I intended it to be performed, a wedding took place at Afrikaburn - and I could not compete with the festive mood that was in the air!).
Most of the art work at Afrikaburn is "installations" of such mindblowing proportions. It takes so much resources for the creative minds and constructionists to rig their artistic and pyrophiliac visions (-; I find it awesome and moerse inspiring, especially at night when the artworks are set alight. I felt my contribution should be more modest - seeing that I don't have the resources and practicality to erect installations. And yeah - that is what most of the artworks at Afrikaburn is - erections - and I want to balance this very Masculine energy with the Female one - going into the earth. Armed with only body, voice, soul and soil I think I created a very needed installation.
The first thing I felt after the performance was a lostness, a strange sense of misplacement. But soon a more sure sense of Self took root. I felt changed. A confident layer of who I am, and what I can offer the world as a woman, a poet and a performer. A broadened sense of body and soul took shape. When I saw the video footage of videographer Gilles Chevalier I was astounded at how raw and honest the performance actually was. Two things made me nervous about doing this thing: the hard rocky soil covering my body could have easily cut-off circulation in my legs. The hole was not very deep, and yet the ground that covered me was incredibly heavy. The second nerve-wrecking aspect was the fact that I am alone in what I do. I have a vision of the message I want to bring over, and yet one deals with factors inhibiting that.  The one thing - I insisted on performing in Afrikaans, yet well I knew many people in my audience are not versed in Afrikaans. Afrikaans for me is a language of the Stof, of the African Stof and soil. To do such a performance in a tongue other than your mothertongue would have defeated the entire feel/message of the piece. Reconciling all the complex facets of the Afrikaans-tongue, performing in the semi-nude, rolling around the mud and stof, challenging people's expectations of "performing" made it an event I will not forget. For me it was not performing, it was ritual, it was life, it was necessity as much as breathing. If my poetry needs to take me to the muddy breast of Mother Earth to discover truths and faces of myself, I will not stand in the way.