Two weeks ago, I attended a four day 'sound-in-art' workshop at a farm called River Still, in the Groot Marico district, home of well known, controvercial South African author (and convicted killer) Herman Charles Bosman. (For anyone wanting to understand the deep nature of the Afrikaaner soul, his books are a must. A highly intelligent, artistic and complex soul) It was attended by 16 other artists. The setting couldnt have been better. Although exceptionally hot, we had the deep, green but refreshing Marico river to plunge in to. A labyringh was built a year or two ago by a friend and artist which is used to re-ground...or in my case...loose the plot...people needing to reflect!! There were some pretty annimated oppinions by Labyrinth loyalists about the 'square' structure built in the centre by the concerned and well-meaning owner.
The days were filled with drum and sound workshops, the latter being held next to a running river, lying down, eyes closed and just listening.......sounds made from a large variety of local and internationally made instruments, all making very specific and unique sounds. one instrument sounded like a whale and this ......out of the entire array......touched me deeply. Nobody else had heard it!!!!!!!! I went back to the collection and facilitator (who himself didnt know what I was talking about) and I played every one till I heard it and knew which one had made the sound.
We drew, painted, charcoled, everything related to the concept of how sound impacts on visual art. A very interesting journey for me personally (on all levels!!) and one which I would happily repeat.
The house we stayed in, was one of the original old farm houses. We slept outside on the open patio and were compleatly blanketed by the stars of the dark Marico nights. Idyllic but for the gunshots of some barmy hunters!!