The First Iteration
Uduqko is an idea exchange combining artistic, spiritual and scientific knowledge systems to create experimental communal spaces for culture creation.
This is an account of its first expression as it happened through my eyes.
Uduqko took form as musical performances, artistic interventions, exhibitions, film making and is a currently ongoing domain of research by myself.
The Statue Series - A series of films and real world rituals which were performed and filmed at historic statues of colonial figures in and Around Cape Town South Africa.
Although presented in video format the true “medium” of these works were as real world performances. Although in some instances the only observers were the members producing the film - often just two of us- these actions in spacetime were composed and improvised to contrast symbolic representations of oppressive colonial regimes with mythologised representations of culture and science which were historically damaged or destroyed by Colonial enterprise. It was an attempt to re-contextualise the epistemological paradigms of colonial empires with the indigenous knowledges they sought to annihilate.
Our thinking was that the mere act of making these interventions would be enough to make present and living these ideas which we in our bodies and ancestory represented.
In my mind it was the mountain, and air, the land itself which bore witness to these acts. Our actions subtly influencing nothing if but the flow of subatomic particles in the space by our bodies movement, the air we breathed, the moisture which left through the pores of our skin and the vibrations of our voices which stirred the spaces. Spacetime was like a page that we wrote the cursive script of our dreams upon through this combination of acting with carefully considered intention.
Both the performances by Ca’mafeu and the performance of the filming itself were like etchings in time and space. Forever those are events in those coordinates of moment and location. To any observers the event would be characterised by the slow, calm and partially rehearsed movements by Ca’mafeu and the rapid, omnipresent improvisations of my filming process as I attempted to capture the dream in a net for others to see.
In this respect these collections of films which I understand (in the context of my own subjective life) perfectly encapsulate the dream of Uduqko. Like the quality of the mystic spaces found upon the tops of mountains, it is like a pond which contains the infinite spectrum of data, unfiltered, and uncorrupted by limited synthesis. An infinite ocean of information from which any real scrutiny may reveal vast cosmic truths well beyond the capacity of comprehension by the human mind. Yet there exists there a content which fundamentally, resonates with our spirits. A thing that we might not be capable of understanding but which without a doubt can be felt and even channeled into artistic creation.
The importance of these interventions goes beyond the sociopolitical. It draws attention to the fact that there is more to be discovered than alluded to by the old colonial and new Western epistemologies. It is inspired by the fact that other cultural paradigms of knowledge still exist and access these realities. The importance in making this point is beyond its political implication - it is the illumination that there are more questions to be asked, and more answers to be found. That our artistic, cultural and scientific legacies are not abstract expressions or bodies of knowledge but are literal ways in which we interface with reality. It is the observation that our interface is what determines what kind of information in the universe becomes accessible to us, and that a diversity of interfaces is not only beneficial but necessary for a true perspective and study of nature.
Just as those moments are etched into time and space, the moments of love and friendship which constellated them exist there too. Despite the changing nature of the world and the entropic tendencies of physical reality. How we paint these pictures of our lives and the people we choose to do this with have significant impact not just on us but on the world around us as well.
This was a combination of our own personal experiences and praxis and their direct influences, which were often from cultural and scientific paradigms which existed outside the European hegemony.
The statue series (as I informally refer to it here) was made through the considered efforts of Sam Seth Ca'mafeu Fortuin and I. The different films were made with significant assistance from Carl David Saldanha and assistance also from Thero Makepe.
It is difficult to do the job of isolating who's ideas were whose and who did what job through the process of making these works, and I personally feel that it is not important. Sam and I were each deeply involved in these processes and this wouldn't be possible had we not had one another to bounce off of as we did this. I know for me the challenges and victories which constellated this set of experiences played a strong role in shaping my character as it stands today. Perhaps more so than any other episode of experiences thus far in my life.
This was a vision to which I was wholly committed to. The entirety of who I was and a large part of who I still am is encoded in the moments of these films. I feel I no more own it than any other person owns the land it was filmed on. All I know was that it represents a deep part of me and anyone who sees it will come to know those things too.