On the fly

Today was a fly day.

Last night I photographed a very smelly decaying mouse shrew. I found it on the cement back courtyard, left there by Mr Cat. I am sad when the cat kills gratuitously but sometimes the gifts are interesting creatures. The stinky shrew had a very pointy nose, big incisors on its top and bottom jaw that overlapped each other, for gnawing I suppose… (rodent comes from the Latin rodere – to gnaw)

I burned some sweet incense to hide the smell but the sweetness mixing with the putridness only served to sicken me. I ended up photographing with a nose mask on, the blue white dentist, nurse type. I felt very scientific medical and it helped keep the smell away as my own breath was circulated back to me behind the gauze.

To add to the malodorousness, I decided to also photograph rotten cooked quails eggs that had been waiting in the fridge for me and were now slimy and sticky. They added a sulphurous noxiousness to the mix. On top the stenches, to add the high note, I was farting, courtesy of a dinner from vegetables that had been in the fetid fridge for too long. What a smelly night, firmly living up to my nick name as a child.

I did open the windows and let in fresh, icy air before I went to bed. In the morning the lingering incense smell brought back the putrid smell too. I couldn’t tell if it was real or if the two were fused in my imagination. The house was also full of flies, those small flies that insist on sitting on you, only to persistently return if you shoo them away.

It was a lovely gentle damp cloudy morning and to get my dose of vitamin D, I went into my vegetable garden, which was now brown and haggard at the end of the summer fruition. The flies followed me outside, perhaps the stench was still stuck in my hair and eyebrows. I started weeding a small area to plant the garlic cloves that had spontaneously sprouted green shoots in my rather rank, mildewed fridge.

While weeding I noticed the black, yellow and white caterpillars that love all brassicas. They were eating the leftover rocket crop. As I explored further, they were everywhere in clumps of newly hatched siblings. They consume everything green and I wanted to at least revive my spinach that was overcrowded by tomato plants in summer. I pulled out the left over, already seeded rocket and threw the plants with hopefully many hanger-on caterpillars in the compost. Compost is the perfect place for worms. I always marvel how nature makes waste so essential to life and growth. The flies were still bothering me, buzzing in my hair and face.

The horribly persistent little buzzers followed me inside and would not leave me alone. It was time for the lethal weapon of the orange fly swatter. I rarely take it out, it feels too cruel and unnecessary to squash the pests and that leaves a mess, But the persistence of three little menaces became too much. I stood up with in swat mode with my brain focussed on operation destroy.

I immediately became giddy with the whirlwind mixture of strong negative emotions inside me. Swaying I reached for a chair and had to flop down, my tight grip on the swatter relinquished. I was completely off balance and had to find my centre.

After a period of rest, I realised that the little flies had collected on the window and all I needed to do was open it up and use the fly swatter to gently guide them outside. No more flies on me.

As a kind of a peacemaking gesture, I created a fly love image today. They wanted to come into union and french kiss. So here are my deep kissing flies.

Actually they are opposing sides of the same fly, so its really a falling in love with self, when two become one, non-duality.


On the fly

Danse Macabre

Today – I added another head to a shark, a double-headed shark – an anomaly created by me, it’s double tail was not that noticeable. I liked the powerful feeling of being a crazed, perverted god, mutating my creatures.

I worked on what seems to be becoming a “danse macabre”, two squashed frogs in a seemingly strange dance. Flattened form in an agonising ecstasy. On wikipedia, I liked the words of a poem from an anonymous “Totentanz” book Ob arm, ob reich, im Tode gleich (Whether rich or poor, [all are] equal in death. German can be quite humorous, onomatopoeic and poetic when it wants to be. The image is not complete, it takes a few days before the theme, subject matter and form emerges more clearly. I reach a point where i can go no further and it is only clear to me the following day what I should do next. I have learned not to fiddle in confusion, it only wastes time.

Had a lovely, spontaneous free laugh today. Judith, who grew up in Malawi and lives on the farm, called out a cheery greeting to me from afar. I was happy to see her and went over for a brief chat. Just then 4 frolicking donkeys entered our chatting over the fence space. The one light coloured donkey that i had thought female was mounting another donkey. It clearly was not female and its enormous curved black penis was very visible. We both simultaneously burst out laughing, genuine raucous, love of life, belly laugher, ending with a double high five, initiated by Judith. And still with big smiles on our faces, Judith articulated such a beautiful explanation of the bawdy scene, “Donkeys don’t hide their love, do they?” and we laughed some more.

What a life and death day…


Danse Macabre


My day

Woke up this morning with Nick Cave floating around in my inner space, after having watched 2 films about him. It was to be expected.

When I came into consciousness, i started thinking about the monstrous, the aberrant, the deviant, the hideous, the distasteful. I felt this is where we are as a civilisation, in the middle of the monstrous. Our politicians are monstrous, our political systems are monstrous, the inequality in the world is monstrous.

I realised that I have always had a deep connection and relationship with the monstrous in my creativity, using my art to exorcise my inner demons, yet also to reflect what i see as demonic around me. Genetic manipulation where we have very little idea of what we are doing, we are starting to have  monstrous effects on the climate, creating storms, droughts, hurricanes, floods. We are monstrous when we lack empathy for others and refuse to see their suffering.

I realised that even though my work is focussed on beauty and the transcendent, I want to bring the monstrous in. Today, i managed to do that, I gave a frog 2 extra legs, I gave a shark a double tail. Although these are just tiny slights, that perhaps some people might not even notice, it gave me immense satisfaction, like i was creating my own Frankensteins equal what nuclear radiation can do to living tissue. Of course i did look up those hideous images on the net, and allowed them penetrate into my mind, my unconscious will deal with them and spit them out at a later stage in my creativity.

I felt like this was quite a breakthrough in my work, adding depth to a feeling of superficiality I was having about it.

After all there is a dent in transcendent.



Grande Provence Exhibition

A friend studying psychology asked me to write ten sentences in diary form for her to do a text analysis on.

I found that I really enjoyed writing the text, I wrote about my creative process. I am in the thick middle of an intense creative process preparing for a solo show that has to fill an enormous wonderful space of 22m long by 8m wide at Grande Provence.

That bit of writing made me think, why not write further about your creative process, in fact why not write a daily ten sentences. And so this thread on my blog was begun, by serendipity at first and now continuing by choice.

Modern technology is just incredibly fabulous in the instant way it allows one to do this and have the possible whole world as an audience. Before I would have felt nervous about exposing myself. These days in my fifties, my attitude is what do I have to loose? I might bore a few people, but i will have a wonderful record of creative exploration as it was taking day by day.

My friend analysed my text Transcend-dent and this is the text analysis result

I have done a content analysis of your text. The results of KALI’S WORLD are: is…1. On an Events level, prominent events are of an INTRAPERSONAL nature, ie matters concerning you the individual and your thoughts and feelings; 2 on a Regulation Processing Level, you regulate intrapersonal matters with PHILOSOPHICAL regulation, ie abstract ideas the truth of which can not be fully determined; and 3 your Mind Process level is COGNITIVE, Ie you mind process is through perception and thought predominantly. So basically it means in your world according to that text, events are intrapersonal and processed through philosophical perceptions and thoughts.
Key terms are: monstrous (6), creating/ivity (3),my work (2), demon/ic (2), transcendent(2),  Nick Cave, inner space,films, consciousness,  aberrant,deviant, hideous, distasteful,civilization,politicians, political systems, inequality, world,relationship,art,genetic manipulation,climate,storms, droughts,hurricanes, floods empathy,suffering,beauty, frog, shark,slights, people, satisfaction,Frankenstein’s, nuclear radiation, living tissue,hideous images, internet, mind,unconscious, depth, feeling, superficiality, dent.
Or put another way, you regulate your intrapersonal events by abstract ideas, the truth of which can’t be proven, and you do this cognitively through perception and thought.
I always did enjoy philosophy and do treat my creativity as a tangible, visible philosophical exploration. But I am through with belief or expounding heady, abstract thoughts. Buddhism makes a lot of sense to me in the way it asks you to test its premises and teachings through your own sensate experience.
Grande Provence Exhibition

reality is a personal and collective story

Oliver Roberts,  Senior Features Writer Sunday Times, came to visit and to interview me about my work. Jackie Ruth Murray, photographer, filmmaker, curator and friend made the connection between us when she contacted various different media sources to publicise my beyond Beyond exhibition which she curated.
From our very first communication with each other, I felt a level of comfort with Oliver. I can’t say what it was, his informal way of communicating, his level of interest and a straightforwardness, his gentle ability to enter into your world? He was unable to publicise the exhibition because he explained that he likes to meet up with people personally and get a sense of them and their lives. What a relief in this virtually mediated world, the documentary filmmaker in me really was liking him more and more. Then I read a few of his articles and got a sense of the very visceral way he approached an interview and felt truly honoured that he had an interest in me as a creative being, besides the fact that he had written about the great of the greats like William Kentridge.
Then one day after a certain amount of backwards and forwards e-mailing, Oliver made the long journey to come and visit me in the middle of nowhere.  We got on like old friends and nattered for an afternoon, a night and the following morning (don’t read anything in here, its a long way to drive and one needs to overnight). It was a great honour to be seen in such an in depth way going a long way to heal my invisibility wound. He reminded me a lot of my intense documentary filmmaker self.
Now I pity him as he has to go away and makes sense of all my blah blah blah. But I also feel rather nervous as to what will emerge … did I reveal too much … I wonder what details he will put in and what he will leave out as he constructs the story? It’s a familiar process to me from the documentary edit space – where a story is created and presented like reality but is really just a story.
Then I remind myself to let it all go, not be too attached to my image, to my story, it’s all  concocted anyway,  what I chose to reveal, the language and concepts I chose to clothe the revelations in, even the notion of a self is constructed.
In truth I felt I made a friend from another part of South Africa from a different generation who lives a different life. He also loves animals and creatures and is imaged here in empathic interaction with the donkey family on the farm, father Pablo, mother Ariel and child Puck.
As I await the revelation of my “self” through another’s eyes, (print journalists will not let you see the article before publication), there is some aspect of what I call “me” who is watching from a distance with just a hint of a smile as I wriggle like a worm that has been taken out of the earth and placed under a bright light.
reality is a personal and collective story

candy striped orange pink flushed alien

I first encountered the magical moth when there was an unusual electrical storm in the Cape. Usually we don’t see lightning like that or hear the rumble of thunder. I was working late as usual creating light in the darkness and thats when I saw them, white beauties with pink blushes on their wings flapping against the closed window. Wow what incredible moths, I had never seen anything like it before and there were about 5 of them flapping seemingly desperate to come in. I opened the top part of the window and one flew in. That was all I needed, I would wait for it to reach the end of its natural life and then I could examine it from closer up. But somehow that moth mysteriously disappeared and I never saw it again. I began to wonder if I had hallucinated the pink flushed moths. Perhaps they were figment of an electrically charged brain. Many months later I discovered a white and pink moth again. This time I was not going to let it out of my sight. I created a motharium complete with flowers and a dark corner to hide in. I read that moths don’t like daylight and direct sun can kill some of them. And so my pinky moth lived in comfort although be it in seclusion for the last days of its life.

And here is the beauty, although the pink is more orange. Partly the loss of vibrance in death, partly the type of lights I use.

IMG_9896I took 70 photos of this moth in a night. I have to fall completely in love with everything that i photograph and this makes me want to see it from every possible angle with every possible lighting angle because each change presents something new. I am in search of the essence of a being, even in its dead state, there is something so unique to that creature in its form. This is what i explore and never know what it is until i see it in the camera’s digital viewfinder, glowing in the dark, late at night.

IMG_9961-EditI am always surprised as we miss so much with the naked eye. Look at this moths striped pippi langkous legs. Its candy striped body, so bizarre, so magnificent, so unexpected.


Insects are the original aliens.

candy striped orange pink flushed alien

black worm invasion

My adventures at night are far more interesting than what i do during the daytime. So last nights adventure…

I was at a gathering, perhaps a celebration, when i noticed that worms were crawling underneath my skin and they would come up for a breath of air before burrowing down again. I was fascinated and horrified at the same time, feeling earthy but eaten alive and invaded. I worked out that if i managed to grab these black like worms as they emerged and keep hold of them in the ensuing struggle while tugging hard, I could eventually pull them out of me. This resulted in a shocking amount of blood leaking out too. After much struggling and much blood, I managed to pull all of the worms out of me and felt an great sense of relief at this achievement. Relief from invasion, relief that the bleeding had stopped. Now I noticed that other people around me were struggling too with the same worm invasion and I began to show others how to get rid of their worms as well…


In honour of my dream, I post this image of mine

black worm invasion