Sunday, 18 May 2014

Tankwa Three

During Afrika Burn I have attended a good few burns, but perhaps none as intimate and accessible, yet disturbing, as the burning of the Tankwa Three. This is my photo story of this burn.

(it seems that Blogger is messing up the aspect ratio of my pictures - please click on a photo to display it as it is meant to look. I am working on this...)

The Tankwa Three was (is) an art installation by “BitterwithBlatjang”, a creative collective comprising five friends: Lyle Moseley, Alila Hofmeyr, Rupert Jordi, Philippa Dewey and Dan Hartford.

 Dan explains: “The Tankwa Three is an interactive art piece where burners engage with three strangers to the desert, attempting to include them in the burner community in any manner of their own design.

From blank figures the Tankwa Three develop identities over the course of 6 days as burners clothe, paint and create them.

On the eve of the burn, it emerges however that these hitherto benign figures, when repositioned spatially in the desert, are in fact in conflict as two of the figures are distinctly persecuting the pleading third figure.

Burners arrive to an altered narrative from the previous days and soon realise that they have been implicated as forming part of a mob intent on the execution of the third figure. A tire is placed around the victim´s neck, it is doused in petrol and the audience are invited to necklace the sculpture.

Participants, through their engagement and personal identification with the sculptures, form relations that are horrifically severed. We wish to raise the point that the victims of such gruesome acts are indeed members of the community and in burning these figures we are hoping to facilitate the participants’ reflection on a sombre and relevant reality.”

I think some of the faces in the photo story below show that BitterwithBlatjang had, in fact, succeeded in facilitating the participants’ reflection on this reality.

Here is a poem Dan sent me:

The Tankwa Three,

Naked, adrift in desert and sea,

Lost and lonely in the cracks of community.

Clothe us, create us,

Care for, and cradle us.

As it is a matter of must,

That in each other we trust.

Yet beware your lust for what is just.

~~~ * ~~~

That's all Folks!

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