South Africa: The Artist's Way in the Climate Crisis


At a time of planetary emergency, artists need to be more than artisans who produce commodities to be bought and sold for audiences' aesthetic pleasure. They need to reclaim their place as society's primary storytellers and disrupt the cultural narrative that's allowing predatory extraction of an exhausted and dying natural world.

It's late, probably close to midnight, but out here in the Tankwa Karoo, there are no watches. It's always just now-ish.

An iridescent moon tracks across the vaulted darkness, a spotlight above a stage where a rare piece of theatre is about to play out.

Six giant conical wooden spikes rear up out of the gravelly desert floor, towering over the audience, which looks like a skirt of ants spread out on the ground at a safe distance. The largest is a 10-storey colossus.

Fire will not be the towers' destruction, explains their creator, artist Nathan Honey. Fire is their completion.

Subterrafuge, an anti-fracking protest installation which stood in the Tankwa Karoo from 2014 to 2015, speaks to the shadowing interests of the gas hunters of the corporate mining world, according to artist Nathan Honey. (Photo: Michael Groenewald)

It is the autumn of 2015 at the AfrikaBurn music-art-self-expression festival,...

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