Ed's letter | Future imperfect
There’s a mother navigating two children to safety down a river — eyes covered to protect them from seeing a deadly force. There’s a zombie who’s starting to feel again; a group of women who’ve gained the power of conducting electricity; and a ragtag bunch of musicians wandering abandoned cities after a virus has obliterated America.
If you’re in the mood for a dash of dystopia these days, all you have to do is log in to Netflix or pop by your local bookstore. The end of the world is all the rage!
Of course, you need only look to the uncertainty of Brexit, the banal shutdown fast-food dinners served up in the White House or the protests in Zimbabwe to know that we’re an unsettled bunch. We’re unsure of how we got to this particular point in history, alarmed by the rise of tech (Skynet sound familiar?) and not especially optimistic about where we’re going as a species. Throw in an election in our own hood come April, and the strange days seem even closer to home. And stranger.
The end of the world is particularly popular when it comes to Young Adult literature. What does that tell you except that there’s no collective more disillusioned than our youth? #Feesmustfall anyone?
I’ve plunged you into a spot of depression and I apologise. This issue was meant to be future-themed, and when the team and I got chatting, we realised that ignoring the most zeitgeisty of prospective trends — the apocalypse — was impossible. But, how would we give it an effervescent spin? We concluded that if the world is going to end, you’d better go out in style — and with a sense of humour. Or die trying. So that’s what you’ll find here.
As for my doomsday plans, I figure it’s a good time to catch up on a bit of reading in my bunker. So, I’m going with nonfiction: the follow up to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale (out this year), The Hunger Games, and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, for a start. Plus, I’ll be shipping in container loads of whisky, obviously.
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum,
AND ANOTHER THING...
It’s one of my favourite events of the year, and a marvellous excuse for a Mother City jaunt for this Joburger. Yes, I’m talking about the Investec Cape Town Art Fair, which runs from 15 to 17 February. I love my yearly swan around, touching base with all the galleries and artists, but what I’m especially excited about this year is the emerging talent. In particular, I’ll be looking out for those from across Africa — including the Lagos-based photographer Medina Dugger and artist Armand Boua from the Ivory Coast.
Oh, and this year there’s an added highlight. The Strauss & Co Contemporary Art Auction is taking place in Cape Town during the same week. On 16 February, you’ll be able to bid on 107 especially excellent lots. I’ve got my eye on pieces by Brett Murray and Matthew Hindley. Or how about the work entitled Naked Man, by Marlene Dumas? It’s valued at a cool R1.5-million to R2-million. Check out the catalogue here.
And don’t miss the new David Goldblatt exhibition at the Norval Foundation opening in the same week.