Wetenskapsfikie in Hemelliggaam

Mail & Guardian

 
NEW PETROL STATION, CARNARVON, NORTHERN CAPE  “Greetings, Earthling. We come in peace. Take us to your leader.” - Alien in an old Petrol pump joke. Petrol pump found in the small town of Carnarvon near the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site - where there is an international collaboration around building the world’s largest radio telescope.

NEW PETROL STATION, CARNARVON, NORTHERN CAPE

“Greetings, Earthling. We come in peace. Take us to your leader.” - Alien in an old Petrol pump joke. Petrol pump found in the small town of Carnarvon near the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) site - where there is an international collaboration around building the world’s largest radio telescope.

WIP TEXT____

'For real, that is not a shadow, but an upright being squeezed up against the edge. Kind of like a human form with two arms and legs, a narrow, oval face framed by a cap looking like a bare skull, clothed in a blue overall that they only had a glimpse of previously. Dead quiet. Francois lowers the torch, lifts it again. One thing is for sure: this being is just as afraid as they are.'

From Die Hemelblom (The Heavenly Flower) by Jan Rabie, 2nd edition 1974, Tafelberg, first published 1971. Translated from the original Afrikaans by Nic Grobler.
The Hemelblom was sent to the earth by a concerned galactic council to ensure the survival of life on earth in the face of a new world war. The plant was specifically grown to remove the poisonous elements introduced by humans - feeding on pollution it would rapidly cover the earth and wipe out most of humankind but leave a new earth covered with fresh fertile soil.

“Hemelliggaam (Afrikaans: Heavenly Body) or The Attempt To Be Here Now” is a growing visual archive of photography and video installations, exploring the existential aspects of the human-environment-astronomy relationship, constantly moving between the reality of important scientific sites (such as the South African Large Telescope in Sutherland and the Square Kilometre Array in Carnarvon) and the imaginative fragments of old Afrikaans science fiction novels - in particular reference to one of the most existential and emblematic writers, Jan Rabie with the novels 'Swart Ster oor die Karoo' (Black Star over the Karoo, 1957), ‘Die Groen Planeet’ (The Green Planet, 1961) and 'Die Hemelblom’ (Heaven Flower), 1971. The project (still in progress) is mainly focused on communities, landscapes and objects located in the Western and Northern Cape, South Africa, where there is a special connection with the sky. 

“Hemelliggaam or The Attempt To Be Here Now” created by Tommaso Fiscaletti and Nic Grobler, is curated by Filippo Maggia and is supported by a scientific team including Mattia Vaccari, Lucia Marchetti and Michelle Cluver from Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of the Western Cape and the researcher Davide Chinigò.

The Original sounds for installations and video works are composed by Alessandro Gigli.

This archive is contributing to the Roadmap of the History of Astronomy in South Africa as promoted by the National Research Foundation (NRF) which is also one of the main sponsors along with Farnesina (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and international Cooperation) and the Consulate of Italy in Cape Town.

The Chapter one of “Hemelliggaam or The Attempt To Be Here Now” has taken the form of a travelling exhibition and is currently on display in Carnarvon in the Northern Cape - returning to some of the protagonists of the project. An indoor and outdoor exhibition has also been on display at the Iziko South African Museum & The Company’s Garden in Cape town, South African Astronomical Observatory, Observatory Cape Town, SAAO Sutherland visitor Centre & Sutherland Planetarium. Moreover the project has been on display in Basel, Switzerland, between the 2018 winners of the CAP Prize (Contemporary African Photography Prize).

On September 2019 a preview of the Chapter Two will be on display at Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Guarene D’Alba, Italy as part of the exbibition “Guarene Etna”, curated by Filippo Maggia (the exhibition will move to Catania, IT, in 2020).

The extended version of “Hemelliggaam or the Attempt to Be Here Now” composed by all three chapters will be displayed from 2020 in South Africa and abroad.

CURRENT SHOW
Carnarvon Museum and Kareeberg Library, Carnarvon, Northern Cape, SA (until August 2019)
info@hemelliggaam.com
www.hemelliggaam.com
Instagram : @hemelliggaam

DIE HEMELBLOM # 1 (FROM "DIE HEMELBLOM" BY JAN RABIE, 1971), CARNARVON, NORTHERN CAPE From  Die   Hemelblom  (The Heavenly Flower) by Jan Rabie, Tafelberg, first published 1971.  The  Hemelblom  was sent to the earth by a concerned galactic council to ensure the survival of life on earth in the face of a new world war. The plant was specifically grown to remove the poisonous elements introduced by humans - feeding on pollution it would rapidly cover the earth and wipe out most of humankind but leave a new earth covered with fresh fertile soil.

DIE HEMELBLOM # 1 (FROM "DIE HEMELBLOM" BY JAN RABIE, 1971), CARNARVON, NORTHERN CAPE
From Die Hemelblom (The Heavenly Flower) by Jan Rabie, Tafelberg, first published 1971.

The Hemelblom was sent to the earth by a concerned galactic council to ensure the survival of life on earth in the face of a new world war. The plant was specifically grown to remove the poisonous elements introduced by humans - feeding on pollution it would rapidly cover the earth and wipe out most of humankind but leave a new earth covered with fresh fertile soil.

FACE IN THE HOLE, SA NATIONAL SPACE AGENCY # 1, HERMANUS, CAPE TOWN

A planetary poster is visible through an educational face in the hole display at the Space Science Centre in Hermanus - South Africa's national geomagnetic research facility.

South Africa maintains a scientific base in Antartica where it is ideal to study the Southern Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly - covering an area where communication systems are more exposed and vulnerable to damages and interruptions caused by high levels of radiation from space. Together with the geomagnetic and auroral observation research done on the Antarctic, Marion and Gough Islands, SANSA Space Science promotes interest in science through science advancement programmes.

SANSA(South African National Space Agency) Space Science emerged from the original Hermanus Magnetic Observatory that was first established in 1941.

Text adapted from www.sansa.org.za.


TOM LEARMONT #2, SCI-FI WRITER, GHOST WRITER, ILLOVO, JOHANNESBURG, GAUTENG  ‘My three books are all about time, in them time becomes plastic, malleable, time becomes a thing which people can use as a weapon, time becomes a thing like where you can play a leapfrog war, you leap ahead in time, you get there earlier than the guy you are trying to destroy, you wait and when he pops out of sub metric space into metric space you zap him! That is where time becomes a theatre of war.’

TOM LEARMONT #2, SCI-FI WRITER, GHOST WRITER, ILLOVO, JOHANNESBURG, GAUTENG

‘My three books are all about time, in them time becomes plastic, malleable, time becomes a thing which people can use as a weapon, time becomes a thing like where you can play a leapfrog war, you leap ahead in time, you get there earlier than the guy you are trying to destroy, you wait and when he pops out of sub metric space into metric space you zap him! That is where time becomes a theatre of war.’

LUZUKO DALASILE, IZIKO PLANETARIUM PRESENTER, CAPE TOWN  ’Even at night, you are thinking: there is the universe and here am I. But all in all you are part of the universe, you know, the universe is you, the universe is me, the universe is around - the space we are living in is the universe. This is not just earth and your life and then the universe is over there - you are in the universe.’

LUZUKO DALASILE, IZIKO PLANETARIUM PRESENTER, CAPE TOWN

’Even at night, you are thinking: there is the universe and here am I. But all in all you are part of the universe, you know, the universe is you, the universe is me, the universe is around - the space we are living in is the universe. This is not just earth and your life and then the universe is over there - you are in the universe.’

SAAO # 1, SUTHERLAND, NORTHERN CAPE  ’My first three years I was working with other people, as I was undergoing training. From there on most of the time I was on my own. Sometimes for 14 hours in winter, just with a CD player, my night lunch and my coffee. Then it is up to you to make all the decisions.’  - Francois van Wyk, SAAO Night Assistant and service observer, Sutherland.

SAAO # 1, SUTHERLAND, NORTHERN CAPE

’My first three years I was working with other people, as I was undergoing training. From there on most of the time I was on my own. Sometimes for 14 hours in winter, just with a CD player, my night lunch and my coffee. Then it is up to you to make all the decisions.’

- Francois van Wyk, SAAO Night Assistant and service observer, Sutherland.

VOLCANO #1, SALPETERKOP, NORTHERN CAPE  A strange oversized koppie is visible on the horizon all the way from the South African Large Telescope near Sutherland - it turns out that this is not just any koppie but probably the koppie of all koppies in South Africa. The remains of a volcano believed to be have been active 66 million years ago, making it the youngest volcano in Africa south of the equator.

VOLCANO #1, SALPETERKOP, NORTHERN CAPE

A strange oversized koppie is visible on the horizon all the way from the South African Large Telescope near Sutherland - it turns out that this is not just any koppie but probably the koppie of all koppies in South Africa. The remains of a volcano believed to be have been active 66 million years ago, making it the youngest volcano in Africa south of the equator.

DETAIL, R354 BETWEEN MATJIESFONTEIN AND SUTHERLAND  Our consideration of what is large and what is small is constantly provoked as we experience the many details of the landscape. Even then as we use ourselves as a type of scale and our bodies are in turn observed by the landscape - it all becomes a loop of relativity. From the mere thought of what we consider the smallest atomic parts to the imagining of other distant heavenly bodies without measure. Everything can be gigantic and like small specs of dust - all at the same time. Are we the giants or are we mere minuscule sparks?

DETAIL, R354 BETWEEN MATJIESFONTEIN AND SUTHERLAND

Our consideration of what is large and what is small is constantly provoked as we experience the many details of the landscape. Even then as we use ourselves as a type of scale and our bodies are in turn observed by the landscape - it all becomes a loop of relativity. From the mere thought of what we consider the smallest atomic parts to the imagining of other distant heavenly bodies without measure. Everything can be gigantic and like small specs of dust - all at the same time. Are we the giants or are we mere minuscule sparks?

JAKHALS (LANGENHOVEN'S DOG), KLAARSTROOM, WESTERN CAPE (From Loeloeraai, by CJ Langenhoven, 1923)  '…I lost a friend a long time ago - a friend that I loved and who loved me. I will never see him again forever; but forever I will never forget him. Now, after all these years, there is not a day that passes without his image coming before me and I'm grieving about him. To him I was the higher being - a Loeloeraai of a higher existence. To me he was the ultimate perfection I found on earth, of love and faithfulness and virtue. And I lost him, and I miss him dearly. . .  I dedicate this work: To the memory of MY FRIEND AND DOG, JAKHALS’  From the dedication of  Loeloeraai , CJ Langenhoven, 4th Edition 1929, First published 1923. Translated from original Afrikaans.  Photograph inspired by Loeloeraai, CJ Langenhoven. Loeloeraai is a visitor from Venus, who spends about two weeks with a family in Oudtshoorn. They end up going on a small trip to the moon before Loeloeraai returns to Venus.

JAKHALS (LANGENHOVEN'S DOG), KLAARSTROOM, WESTERN CAPE (From Loeloeraai, by CJ Langenhoven, 1923)

'…I lost a friend a long time ago - a friend that I loved and who loved me. I will never see him again forever; but forever I will never forget him. Now, after all these years, there is not a day that passes without his image coming before me and I'm grieving about him. To him I was the higher being - a Loeloeraai of a higher existence. To me he was the ultimate perfection I found on earth, of love and faithfulness and virtue. And I lost him, and I miss him dearly. . .

I dedicate this work: To the memory of MY FRIEND AND DOG, JAKHALS’

From the dedication of Loeloeraai, CJ Langenhoven, 4th Edition 1929, First published 1923. Translated from original Afrikaans.

Photograph inspired by Loeloeraai, CJ Langenhoven. Loeloeraai is a visitor from Venus, who spends about two weeks with a family in Oudtshoorn. They end up going on a small trip to the moon before Loeloeraai returns to Venus.

 

Additional selection, can look at providing shortened captions if necessary.