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Nic Grobler, Tommaso Fiscaletti 12 Jul 2019 00:00
Star gazing: Presenter Ofentse Letebele is translating the format of some of the old planetarium shows for the new digital dome system at the Iziko Planetarium in Cape Town. (Hemelliggaam or The Attempt To Be Here Now)
Hemelliggaam or the Attempt To Be Here Now, is a project by Tommaso Fiscaletti and Nic Grobler that makes connections between the environment, astronomy and old Afrikaans science fiction novels
‘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 and 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. Die Hemelblom (The Heavenly Flower) by Jan Rabie.
The hemelblom was sent to Earth by a galactic council to ensure the survival of life by removing poisonous elements introduced by humans. It would feed on pollution, cover the Earth and wipe out most of humankind but leave fresh, fertile soil.
The project is curated by Filippo Maggia and is supported by the National Research Foundation and a scientific team from the University of the Western Cape. The original sound for the project was done by Alessandro Gigli. It is a growing archive of photography and video installations exploring existential aspects of the relationship between humans, the environment and astronomy.
The work moves between the reality of scientific sites, such as the Southern African Large Telescope and the Square Kilometre Array, and fragments of old Afrikaans science fiction novels. In particular, it references Rabie, one of the most existential, emblematic writers, whose 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) speak to these connections between earth and space.
The project is focused on people, landscapes and objects in the Western and Northern Cape, where there is a special connection with the sky. Chapter one of Hemelliggaam or The Attempt To Be Here Now, is on display at the Carnarvon Museum and Kareeberg Library until August.
For more information, visit hemelliggaam.com
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