Ralph Ziman’s “Ghosts” | Yarned & Dangerous

ralph ziman

South African filmmaker and artist Ralph Ziman photographed Zimbabwean street vendors wielding handmade replicas of AK-47s, adorned in traditional Shona style beading. The vibrant multimedia project, aims to highlight issues related to international arms dealing and its devestating influence.

Ziman, a street artist employs piercing colors and images that are arresting with knitted masks and beaded weapons. The obsession with guns and the power they provide is brought to the fore creating a bizarre and almost surreal image. The vendors who star in Ziman’s photos were not at all directed in how to pose with the weapon replicas. Yet, when observing these pictures, one senses that the weapons are dangerous totems to behold.


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Exhibition | ‘Archival Impulse’ by Ayana V. Jackson


Ayana V Jackson Drop your chin_Dress my hair, 2013. Archival print 111 x 111cm.

Ayana V. Jackson, Drop your chin/Dress my hair, 2013. Archival pigment print, 111 x 111cm

29th August – 7th October 2013,

The much anticipated new exhibition by American artist Ayana Jackson will be opening on August 29th in Johannesburg at Gallery MOMO and will run until 7th October 2013.

Synopses from the artist past and future exhibitions follow:


Does the brown paper bag test really exist? / Will my father be proud? 2013. Archival pigment print (Ed of 6).

Archival Impulse: The real work of this series does not exist in physical form. It exists in the imaginary; in the space between my reference images, the spectator’s private thoughts/memories/associations, and the reenactments themselves.

At its core, it considers the chapter of photographic history that was underscored by the period of colonial expansion. It considers the role photography played in the architecture of racialized thinking. It considers the potentially violent exchanges between photographer and “subject”, while at the same time considering other interactions between them and looking for traces of agency.

Archival Impulse takes its name from Hal Foster’s idea that by confronting the archive new systems of knowledge can be created. In this case I confront late 19th and early 20th century photographs taken during the period of European colonial expansion. To do this I draw on images sourced from the Duggan Cronin collection created in South Africa, the works of unknown photographers practicing throughout the global south at the time, as well as documentation of reconstructed villages and “native” performers that were touring in Europe’s Human Zoos.

The scholarship of Susan Sontag, Elizabeth Edwards, Okwui Enwezor, Jennifer Bjorek, Pascal Blancher, and Tamar Garb are also informative.   In reading and comparing these texts I have found multiple angles for entering, interpreting and appropriating my reference materials. As visual experiments these final images aim to draw out the multiple ways the originals can be read: ethnographic, anthropologic, pornographic, historical documents, curiosities, etc.

My process involves identifying reoccurring motifs in the original images, interrogating them, performing them, and last, reconstructing them. My primary intervention is in my deliberate choice not to situate the “subjects” in the scenario.

I do this first to bring attention to the fact that these early photographs are theatrical performances written and directed by the photographer and subject alike and as such are fictitious; second to ask questions around the photograph’s potential as agent of propaganda; and last, if not most importantly, to transform this theater into a space where new narratives might emerge.


Death, 2011 Archival Pigment print 145cm x 145cm Edition 6

Poverty Pornography: At its root is about the power of photography. Its motifs, methods, interests, and ultimately its effect on the collective memory.   While I have narrowed in on particular moments in photographic history and certain genres of the medium, this is not a conversation aimed at supporting binaries between the West and non-West, Colonial power and formerly colonized, Black and White, Rich and Poor, but rather to locate what I believe to be photography’s role in supporting, if not sustaining those binaries and the possibility that society as a whole is as much a beneficiary as a victim of photography’s might.

In Regarding the Pain of Others, Susan Sontag writes;

The frankest representations of war and of disaster-injured bodies are of those who seem most foreign therefore least likely to be known. With subjects closer to home the photographer is expected to be more discreet …The more remote or exotic, the more likely we are to have full frontal views of the dead and dying…It seems that the appetite for pictures showing bodies in pain is as keen, almost, as the desire for ones that show bodies naked…

It is here that the series Poverty Pornography finds its genesis.

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GoetheOnMain | Call for Proposals

Photo credit: Lerato Maduna

Photo credit: Lerato Maduna

GoetheOnMain was developed by the Goethe-Institut South Africa and launched in May 2009 at Arts on Main in Johannesburg as a non-commercial, artist-run project space. The multi-disciplinary GoetheOnMain has since hosted a wide range of exhibitions, workshops, events and performances; including visual art, literature, film, music, dance, and theatre projects.

The GoetheOnMain space itself implies a certain conceptual frame – that of the city, or a sense of ‘urbanity’: a focus on the human relation as much as built environment. Previous projects at GoetheOnMain have dealt extensively with politics of space, noting the stratified city, gentrification, issues of access, and a loss of the ‘center’ so typical of many world metropolises, but also of the personal as political – focusing on private narratives, identities, eccentricities, and broader global issues affecting the city dweller.

Project realisation: March to December 2014.

Find the application here. Deadline for submissions: 15 August 2013

With thanks to ContemporaryAnd.


Call For Entries | Encounters Masterclass with IDFA Bertha Fund


With an ever-increasing demand on the limited funding resources available for filmmakers, it has become crucial to present a persuasive proposal and sound finance plan to potential funders. During Encounters South African International Documentary Festival, six participants will be given the unique opportunity to meet IDFA Bertha Fund manager Isabel Arrate and receive one-on-one counsel and guidance on their proposals.

With previous experience in festival production, programming and film financing, Arrate has been fund manager for 10 years.The IDFA Bertha Fund is the only fund in the world solely dedicated to stimulating and empowering the creative documentary sector in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and parts of Eastern Europe.

Interested parties should send not more than:
1. A one-page synopsis of their film
2. A budget summary
3. Provisional finance plan (not compulsory)
4. A one-page biography, including complete contact details (telephone no, city of residence, home and work address)

To:  Nikissi Serumaga (manager@encounters.co.za) on or before 4pm, Monday 27 May 2013.

Selections will be confirmed by Friday, 31 May 2013.

The 15th Encounters South African International Documentary Festival runs from 6-16 June 2013 in Johannesburg and Cape Town.

For more information, visit Encounters.



Ten Cities, is a global and culturally revelatory project that is documenting the social practice of going clubbing. It is the brainchild of Goethe-Institut Kenya in partnership with Adaptr and C/O Berlin. The project spans two continents, 10 countries and three disciplines (music, photography and writing).

The cities involved are Berlin, Bristol, Johannesburg, Cairo, Kiev, Lagos, Lisbon, Luanda, Nairobi and Naples. The criteria set down by the project: cities with highly developed club cultures with outstanding musicians, cities with specific local forms of music and characteristics in terms of urban development, or home to well established subcultures and subaltern public spheres and voices. About 50 DJs, producers and musicians are teamed up therefore enabling them to produce music together and exchange their knowledge about the club scenes in their countries.

The European guys are not teaching anything to the African colleagues. That would be ridiculous. The bridges are built by producing music together. The symmetrical and equal exchange is crucial here. — Johannes Hossfeld, Director of Goethe Institut Kenya

As a culture, clubbing is one of the most dynamic cultural forms worldwide with regards to space and the public sphere. It is also a space for experimenting with identities and lifestyles. Musicians today keep in touch with global pop culture viathe Internet which in turn, inspires local creativity and finds its way back into the Western world. However this Eurocentric attitude, often leads to a lack in both the appreciation of the African cultures within which all western styles of club music have their roots, and in the physical exchange between musicians and activists between the two continents. The Ten Cities project answers these concerns through a combination of music production, photography, and interdisciplinary research.


TEN CITIES Luanda – DJeff, DJSatelite, LucioAquilina, MarcoMessina


TEN CITIES Luanda – Concert Luanda


TEN CITIES Luanda – MC Sacerdote

A research project comprising of 23 researchers will use the perspective of club cultures to explore and investigate the term of the public sphere. They will work on essays and studies about those partly unknown music scenes and their sub cultures; ten photographers will capture the same on an artistic level.

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DISCOP Africa Conference Program 2013


The DISCOP Organization supports the commerce and the production of film, television content and adaptation rights in new markets, and plans two annual industry gatherings, DISCOP WEST ASIA in Istanbul and DISCOP AFRICA in Johannesburg. In 2005, Basic Lead entered
a strategic partnership with the US based NATPE organization to cross promote DISCOP and NATPE events.
As a B2B annual event, DISCOP Africa supports the development of Africa’s television content production and distribution industries by providing participants with adequate exposure and services to help them license their content and find co-production partners.
All DISOCP Africa 2012 participants registered as Producers can take part in the FORMATS FROM AFRICA™ pitching competition to take place on Thursday 1 November at 3 PM in the DISCOP Africa 2012 main conference room.

The FORMATS FROM AFRICA™ initiative has been launched to seek and promote original TV formats created in Africa which can begin as local successes and end up as international hits. Ten shortlisted candidates will be invited to pitch their formats live in front of a qualified audience and a judging panel of African and international programming and coproduction executives, format commissioners and distributors, and advertisers, who will choose three winners to be rewarded with:

1. US$2,500 in cash to further the development of a pilot based on their format.
2. Expert guidance provided by major format production companies, to help ensure the winners’ vision is translated into a successful end product.
3. A complimentary MEETING TABLE exhibiting package during the 2013 edition of DISCOP AFRICA.

Eligible candidates interested in entering the pitching competition must be registered for DISCOP AFRICA 2012 as Producers. Find out more.


Update: Amirah Tajdin’s Future Work

Film still from 'Walls of Leila'

Film still from ‘Walls of Leila’

Film still from ‘Walls of Leila’

Film still from 'Downtown Tribes'.

Film still from ‘Downtown Tribes’.

First up, is Walls of Leila which is a love story set in Cape Town South Africa that chronicles the life of Leila, a young Cape Malay girl who falls in love with an American boy, Derek. Kenyan filmmaker Amirah Tajdin and her producer sister Wafa Tajdin are currently working on this film which will be their first feature.

They ran a very successful kickstarter campaign last year to raise development funding for phase one of the project. Ciné Kenya received an update from Tajdin that the team have just begun the production financing phase as the second draft of the script has been completed.

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