Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Going to Stellenbosch can seem like reenacting the Great Trek if you don't have a car, but I was bribed to head out to the ECC Forward>March exhibition with the promise of two free T-shirts.
The End Conscription Campaign itself is a strange thing, it's hard to separate the lefty nostaganda (or propolgia, maybe) and the actual political impact the ECC had. I'm not trying to be a disgusting cynic, but sometimes these kinds of celebrations glorify something which was a tough reality. It reads more as a reunion than a serious examination of the past. And reunions are good and important. Considering that I was 2 when the Campaign was founded and in Standard 3 when it was disbanded, I should probably shut my flap.
The show Forward>March was similarly hard to judge, but this I suspect because it lacked a clarity of focus. The contemporary stuff on the show was very tenuously connected, often being loosely about war, or just conflict in general. Pulled together they read as slacktivism, a weak "dealing with issues" as opposed to powerful individual protest (although one suspects that all art is in fact slacktivism until it gets out of the gallery). Daniel Halter's Untitled (Zimbabwean Queen of Rave), one my favourite works, stood out here, as the connection between party and protest seemed appropriate.
The works of the older artists seemed dusty. One really wanted to see some of the vibrancy that the poster exhibition next door revealed. Many of these works are really important in the resistance canon, but where was the underground, the spirit of the times. Some of that was seen in the early Anton Kannemeyer Bitterkomix works, but I wanted more more more anger or something. It's hard to tell though, if this is my own disappointment with the past or if it is a disappointment in the show.
But the T-shirts made me happy.