In a somewhat questionable marketing endeavour, the Eastern Cape Region has been sign posted, ‘Frontier Country’ and indeed this is what it is. Historically it is the site of the 9 Frontier Wars and much brutal conflict and living here presently can still seem the edge of nowhere by comparison to many major South African metropols. With Grahamstown at the heart of it, it is also a cosmopolitan space not without vestiges of past pain but - like many colonial outposts in a post-colonial time - it is no longer a satellite to an absent motherland, a mere microcosm of elsewhere, but also a world unto itself.

A potential space of intellectual, debate rather than military conflict – geographically isolated from metropolitan trends – a melting pot of many places, a crucible. In more recent history, this frontier space has been a site of culture, of experiment. Home to an annual arts festival, how is it that Grahamstown with a population of just under 140 000 can command so much creative imagination in novels, plays, poetry and art? Frontier, Border, at the end of the world but not about to fall off – merely at a vantage point to observe a view to come.
- Rat Western

DISCHARGE 2012             COLOUR COLLOQUIUM 2010             SYNTHETIC DIRT 2011

Monday, March 12, 2012

Deadline for Proposals: 19 March 12 noon

The year is 2012.  Let’s party like it’s 1999.

There are many conspiracy theories which surround this date of 2012 which draw initially from an interpretation of the Mayan Long Count calendar, incorporate New Age beliefs and use pseudo scientific or actual science misconstrued and miscalculated for the purposes of predicting some grand event.

But that’s just an excuse.  There is nothing quite like the heightened drama of a conspiracy theory to give human life that idea that there is something to look forward to – a Revelation! The truth will be revealed! And after that? How about…The End of Days.

It’s a marketing event!

This is how the hysteria surrounding the possibility of doomsday has manifested not through complex signs and symbols - available only to those with arcane knowledge – but through mass media, popular culture and marketing endeavours.

Plotting our calendar, after Valentine’s Day and Easter there is quite a big gap before Eide or Yom Kippur.  December 21 is the date for catastrophe prophesised…mmm…but that is too close to Christmas…

So, tell you what, we’ll do it midyear - late June/early July.  Armageddon is not coming to Los Angeles or New York or London.  Japan’s had enough mass grief.  We can do it here in Grahamstown.  It’s backwoodsy enough to convince a couple of alien aircraft to do a fly-by.  Maybe we can even work in a few crop circles?

What are possible causes of mass disaster?

So we will take these ideas, package them nicely, and present our concept.  We’ll get everyone we can in town to be involved – we can sell plague masks from broken trolleys; some guys with donkeys can be the four horse men of the Apocalypse.

But so many here already live the Dystopia..... and it’s none so evident than when Festival rolls around.  Doomsday must have come and gone.  Damn, the devolution was not televised!

Okay change of tack, it’s not an apocalyptic narrative we’ll be packaging but a post -apocalyptic one.  We, the Grahamstonians, are the survivors of some grand catastrophe.  We have survived because we live away from the main centres.  We are forewarned and pre-armed.  The apocalypse has shaken us but we have not been destroyed.  In late June/early July 2012 the last shuttles of survivors from major metropoli will arrive….

Now we just need to work on what they will experience….

If you would like the complete document, outlining the call for proposals please email me and I will send you one.

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