With just an hour to go until we call it a year – and what a year it has been! – here is the final instalment of our 2014 HIGHLIGHTS. We kicked things off with the posts most viewed by you. Then we poured over past posts to identity 9 trends in art and design that defined 2014. After that we turned the spotlight onto the words that accompany the pictures and chose our favourite excerpts from the many many interviews we’ve published this year. Earlier today we posted the best of our Friday Oh Wow feature. For the last edition we’ve chosen the ones that we loved – loved to see for the first time, loved to put together, loved to share with you and loved to look at again. We published over 1000 articles in 2014 so this was no easy task. We hope you enjoy.
2BOP’s recently launched ‘Litephase 02′ collection commemorates the 10th anniversary of the apparel brand. And for it they reworked and remixed their favourite pieces from the past. This is their teaser video that came out ahead of the lookbook and collection. We’ve watched it weekly since it was first released.
Talent: B-boy Bax | Directors: Brad Abrahams & Eeb Hajee | Production: Andre Bird | Shot & Edited by Jess James Harris | Second Camera: Neil Burton
In the first half of the year, fashion photographer and Self-Service Magazine’s go-to guy, Ulrich Knoblauch, visited the major Fall Winter 2014 fashion weeks and arrived home with some spectacular backstage close-ups of the collections in beautiful detail. The second half of 2014 brought with it a return visit for Ulrich who produced more incredible backstage images, this time of the Spring Summer collections.
Soon after the country’s first ever commercial mine (the Blue Mine) began operating in Springbok in 1852, more mines opened as copper deposits were discovered in the surrounding areas. As workers settled nearby, the development of small towns in a relatively remote area of the country was boosted. By 2007, however, most of these mines had run their course and production had stopped almost completely resulting in an uncertain future for the towns and people of the region. In May this year photographer Dillon Marsh presented the first set in a broader series of striking images that combine photography and computer generated elements in an effort to visualise the output of these mines. The full body of work is currently on show at Brundyn+ in Cape Town.
Right from the start there has been a strong visual aspect to Fantasma, a ‘superband’ fronted by Afro-futurist artist Spoek Mathambo. The producer/singer/rapper recruited diverse members from across South Africa – electronica producer DJ Spoko, traditional Zulu instrumentalist Bhekisenzo Cele and psychedelic rock guitarist Andre Geldenhuys – converging in a sound that’s unlike anything we’ve heard before. We were first introduced to the group in April this year, through a series of photographs by Kent Andreasen. Fantasma’s latest visual offering – released only a few days ago – is a new music video for ‘Eye of the Sun’, the lead song off their debut EP featuring Moonchild.
Director: Travys Owen | Wardrobe and Styling: Gabrielle Kannemeyer | Cinematography: Stan Kaplan and Travys Owen | Editing and post production: Dylan Wrankmore | Additional effects: Sabrina Ratté | Produced by: Sevi Spanoudi at Black Major
One of our interviews leading up to the FNB Joburg Art Fair in August was with Gerald Machona, a Zimbabwean-born multidisciplinary artist. One of the most notable aspects of his work is his innovative use of foreign currency (particularly decommissioned Zimbabwean dollars) as an aesthetic material. We see this in works such as ‘Ndiri Afronaut’ or ‘Ndiri Cross Border Trader’ – which both formed part of his solo exhibition Vabvakure (People from Far Away). Created in response to the violent xenophobic attacks that swept South Africa in 2008, the exhibition explored the notion of ‘foreignness’ or what it feels like to be a ‘foreigner’ living in South Africa.
Anmari Honiball‘s designs transcend trend and convention to flit gorgeously on the line between where art meets fashion. She describes her garments as a combination of “awkward form” and “personal comfort”, and lets each collection develop and evolve organically from its original source, be that coloured play-dough, or the migratory patterns of butterflies.
After being abducted from a marketplace as a child and forced to kill, Jose Joao had a vision in a dream one night and made the radical decision to risk almost certain death to act on it. He shared his remarkable story in a biopic directed by Dave Meinert of MacDuff Films, released in July this year. Since, the short film which aims to foster a dialogue about the effects of war, was chosen as a Vimeo Staff Pick and will be showing at CineSud in France in February 2015. Currently there is a Thundfund campaign running to raise funds to get Jose to CineSud to present his life’s story in person. Help him get there.
Director: Dave Meinert | DP: Michael Cleary | Editor: Lucian Barnard | MacDuff Films
Cape Town progressive rock band The Sleepers returned in 2014 with a haunting music video for their new single, ‘Mine’. Off the radar for the last while, the band has spent several years in ‘self-imposed exile’ fine-tuning a new sound. Mine, the first offering of this new chapter, is described as “a stark, introspective and dizzyingly powerful track”. Take a look at their beautiful website too. Fitting for their current direction is this incredible music video/short film photographed, edited, produced and directed by Craig Ferguson of The Public Pool.
Photographed, edited, produced and directed by Craig Ferguson with assistance from But Corpaci, Tannan Woods and James Ord. Aerial visuals by Skylab Productions
One look and it’s immediately clear that artist, illustrator and designer Black Koki lacks nothing when it comes to the imagination. Employing a mix of traditional and modern techniques, his work is filled with curious-looking characters layered with symbolism. To create it, he either works independently or together with fellow artist and long-time collaborator Ello as Love and Hate – a multidisciplinary visual studio that the two of them began in 2004. Ten years later we checked in with him to hear more about the many things he does and makes.
Filmmakers Noxolo Mafu and Lilian Magari study together in Grahamstown, but it’s an area further north that caught their interest for their debut documentary. Described as ‘a dialogue on street culture in Johannesburg’ Soweto Rising succeeds in providing an authentic and insightful look at a community that has been a birth place for political activism, trendsetting and cultural phenomena. Through the words of Soweto’s own Wandile Zondo (co-founder of the clothing concept store, Thesis), Mkay Frash (Hunting For Kicks, Boyz n Bucks) and Izikhothane members such as Don Dada, among others, the film tracks the influence of Soweto as a former “township” space on the pulse of contemporary street culture in Johannesburg. Not just another documentary film about Johannesburg.
The music video for Ragga Bomb, Skrillex‘s collaboration with British jungle group Ragga Twins, debuted in April this year and went on the win numerous awards throughout the coarse of the year. The video was directed by SA’s own Terence Neale of Egg Films and shot in a post-apocalyptic Johannesburg and Alexandra. The video features rival, scavenger, street crews in a burning city where fierce dance groups are preparing for an upcoming showdown. The feuding gangs eventually meet for an epic light sabre battle cheerleaded by drum majorettes and glow-in-the-dark mouthed dancers.
Production Company: Egg Films | Director: Terence Neale | Executive Producer: Colin Howard | Producer: Rozanne Rocha-Gray | Line Producer: Devi Lazanas | DP: Michael Ragen | Art Direction: Michael Linders + Wendy Fredrikson | Costume Design: Elmi Badenhorst + Richard de Jager + Sandra Smit | Choreographer: David Mathamela | Editor: Evy Katz, Left Post Production | Colourist: Craig Simonetti, Pudding | Visual Effects and Online Supervisor: Jean du Plessis, Blade Works Post Production & BFX
In early 2014 Carla Liesching, a South African born but New York based photographer, returned home for a solo show at the new Brundyn+ gallery. Carla’s work explores the gaps in between – the uncertain spaces where ambiguity resides and where new realisations of the self begin to emerge. Her photographs traverse an imaginary terrain, populated by uncertain interlopers, adrift on a sea of discovery.
Olivié Keck is a print maker who also works in embroidery, ink, installation, sculpture, and drawing. She’s also a professional illustrator on the side. Looking at her work, the common theme appears to be variety. But within this experimentation is a careful consideration – of these myriad mediums so that they’re by no means frivolous, and the honing and refining of ideas and concepts. In her illustration work, Olivié works by the motto ‘If in doubt, just do it loud’. The result is, well, bold, but also playful, humorous, and when in colour, delightfully bright.
We were wowed all year round by the collaborative collections of fashion designer Keith Henning and artist Jody Paulsen in 2014. For Winter their range featured exciting new prints developed by the duo, bold graphic knitwear, and colourful statement pieces, together with more classic black and checked pieces. Summer brought a new direction whiled simultaneously maintaining the sporty meets arty look that the two are known for. Their fascination with Japanese design is continued in wrap dresses, shirt dresses, mens trousers and a jumpsuit. The black and white looks in the collection are about creating classic pieces that can be pieced together in ways that feel new.
Michael Taylor’s “I Was Born Yesterday” opened at Whatiftheworld in September. The body of work follows the happenings (and mis-happenings) of stereotyped gentlemen tribes who come together in a spectacular staged race. The preliminary sketches that eventually gave way to each final image pervade the surface as visible traces of movement. The movement of men who, appearing theatrically in a colourful tableaux, are spread out in scenes of “nonsense rituals, uncomfortable teaming, unseemly gestures and small misadventures”. Caught in live action like this they come across as confident, youthful and eager, but their portraits indicate otherwise.
Born in Pietermaritzburg, David Southwood has been a practicing photographer for over a dedade – roughly the same amount of time he has spent observing, participating in and photographing the Milnerton flea market. In 2011 a collection of these photographs were published by Fourthwall Books, forming a powerful record of an outskirt economy seeking to earn a living through trade in secondhand goods. Making up another notable portion of his body of work is Roads to Places, which is divided into the series Nothing in Particular, In Between and N1 Highway. For the latter David avoids the spectacular or obvious to present an awkward, often empty public stage comprised of events, personalities and traces of habitation encountered while travelling the N1. His most recent project, Stowaways, examines the lives of a community of Tanzanian stowaways living under the National Road One in Cape Town. We interviewed him this year to find out about all of these, and what’s next.
We interviewed young South African photographer Xavier Vahed in September this year. His extensive portfolio consists of work across many genres within the field of photography, even extending to include film. Tradition, an exhibited project of his including both mediums still remains one of the personal high points in his career so far. It also happens to be a highlights of ours this year.
Written & directed by Xavier Vahed | Lighting & videography by Devin Carter | Starring Richard Lyster & Yolanda Hordyk | Music by Dinah Washington
Book design is a kind of art in and of itself, and nowhere more so than in the case of art publication design. Here, the design choices and intricacies of the printing process itself impart meaning and create another experience for the reader between the book they hold in their hands and the artworks themselves. Cape Town based graphic designer, Gabrielle Guy, specialises in the layout and design of art books, publications and custom monographs. She has worked with many of South Africa’s most renowned artist, galleries, curators and arts editors, and has developed a reputation for her careful attention to detail and considered approach.
With a gentle yet definite touch, Sarah Biggs paints surreal landscapes of hazy colour – sometimes dotted with a faint figure or few on a private quest of searching and discovery. At other times they’re left to exist without the presence of life-like forms, and the spaces at once familiar and foreign become the subject. Only a year after graduating from the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Sarah stands out as one of South Africa’s emerging contemporary artists whose work is characterized, in part, by highly unusual and often surprising colour choices.
The music video for ‘Holy Oxygen’, Okmalumkoolkat‘s latest single, opens with the words of Mother Theresa: “The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted, uncared for, and deserted by everybody”. In the footage that follows, we see Okmalumkoolkat’s Smiso Zwane as part of an alienated society who are under quarantine because of illness or social dysfunction. Discontent with their status as outsiders, the plastic-wrapped roamers journey out of the gritty wasteland to form an asylum where everyone is equally accepted.
Director: Wim Steytler | Cinematography: Wim Steytler and Peter Tischhauser | Editor: Marcelle Mouton (Deepend Post Production) | Stylists: Jana + Koos | Fixer: Kenosi Dlamini | Production Manager: Jacqui Buthelezi | Producer: Johnny Mabeba | Executive Producer: Gary King | Production Company: Picture Tree
As part of our Young South Africa series this year, we interviewed stylist Gabrielle Kannemeyer whose scope of work produced this year is astonishing. An art student turned vintage clothing entrepreneur turned stylist-to-watch, she lends her imagination, vision and impeccable taste to images made in collaboration with some of Cape Town’s most exciting young photographers, while building up a killer portfolio of her own. Her work has been published in a host of international publications – both online and in print.
Frané Els is a character designer, illustrator and animator from Potchefstroom with a bright future ahead of her. She’s currently completing her fourth year of study at North-West University, and recently bagged herself a Gold Craft Loerie at this year’s ceremony for her experimental typeface,UBUZU (which is the Zulu for ‘faces’). Look out for more from her right here in 2015.
Caroline Mackintosh has had an incredible 2014 and we’ve kept you updated with her latest a few times along the way. Having been signed to Supernova and having shot for the likes of Oyster and VICE US all during the past year, her career is rapidly taking off. We first chatted to her this year to ask her about her photography, her process and her future plans in our Young South Africa series. More recently we shared some of the shoots she produced while travelling Europe and the States, and just yesterday she put together our last #NowPlaying of 2014.
Growing up as what she describes as a “citizen of the world,” singer-songwriter Zaki Ibrahim spent her childhood living at different times in Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, France and Lebanon. She released a music video for one of the tracks, Draw The Line, in July this year. She says, “The draw the line story does show me, but not exactly. Coming from the Cape Flats and overcoming an environment with challenges such as poverty, drugs, sexual assault, and Post-Apartheid conditioning is no easy feat. Creating your own path and shining your light through adversity, taking everything that you’ve experienced and everything you are, is what the song is about.”
We premiered “My Heritage, My Inheritance”, a fashion film for Laduma Ngxokolo’s knitwear brand MAXHOSA by Laduma in April this year. After his resounding success of the 2014 A/W Collection seen at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Joburg, and the brand’s expansion into womenswear and homeware, Laduma hoped the film would convey the concept behind his brand while at the same time showcasing the beauty and quality of his products. The film was shot in one 22-hour day at Panavision Studios in Cape Town and is a collaboration with director TAKEZITO (Batandwa Alperstein).
DStv’s This Is Africa campaign was released last month to an overwhelmingly positive response. The TV ad/online video is all about showcasing the African continent in a good light. The brand message, “This is Africa. Not how they see it, but how we know it.” reflects the current sentiment of our generation. The message is about breaking down the negative stereotypes, and encouraging people to see the beauty, creativity and potential that exists among African youth. The campaign was made by Ogilvy & Mather Johannesburg.
ECD: Neo Mashigo, Mariana O’Kelly | Creative Director: Sibusiso Sitole | Writer: Kamogelo Sesing, Vuyo Mphantsa | Art Director: Marcus Moshapalo, Innocent Mukheli | Agency Producer: Simone Bosman | Client Service: Sabi Macu | Production House: Bomb Shelter Productions | Director: Teboho Mahlatsi | Producer: Marc Harrison
Originally from Bloemfontein, Gabriella Achadinha relocated to Cape Town in 2009 to study Film Production at AFDA. Hereafter she completed her honours in Film and Media Marketing at UCT and is currently working as a freelance production coordinator. While her passion for photography was not as immediate as her love for film, Gabriella now spends the majority of her spare time taking photographs and is building up a beautiful collection of images in the process. We spoke with her in April this year and then shared more of her beautiful photos series in August.
Earlier this year filmmaker/photographers Kent Andreasen and Tao-Farren Hefer, stylist Gabrielle Kannemeyer, hair and make-up artist Emma Launder and model Giannina Antonette headed out of the city to shoot stills for the very first edition of Pylot magazine, a new UK-based publication that features only analogue photography with zero-beauty retouching. They decided to go the extra mile by making a short fashion film to add another dimension to the project. So, while Kent shot stills, Tao filmed the arid surrounds, the little bits of life it offered up, and Giannina in motion bringing the frozen moments in Kent’s images to life. The resulting film is a beautiful collection of subtle gestures, visual tricks and is, in a way, a unique behind the scenes glimpse of the original shoot.
We’re ending off on a bit of a disturbing note, with this brilliant short directed by Ben Jay Crossman which accompanied the launch of Roger Ballen’s new book of photographs, Asylum of the Birds, in March. With nods to the Surrealist classic Un Chien Andalou and that scene in John Waters’ ultra-grotesque Pink Flamingos, it’s a weird and unsettling journey into the subterranean nightmarish world where the characters and creatures of his photographs reside. It’s an internal world made real, which compounds and confuses what exactly ‘real’ is.
Thanks for sharing the year with us! We’d love to know what your favourites of 2014 were, let us know in the comments.