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NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

RETREKS (article first published : 2000-07-10)

A new 16-page tabloid newspaper that looks at South African cities from the viewpoint of art and culture was launched on July 1. The pilot edition of Retreks: UnTITled Blurb, endorsed by the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology reveals cities as interesting cultural phenomena and explores Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban. Later editions will focus on other South African cities.

"The aim of this newspaper is not only to document the density of art and cultural activity and spin-offs occurring in them, but also to employ art - in its broadest sense - as a means of publicly visualising the experience of our cities," says overall editor visual artist Rodney Place. "Cities, like literacy, education and the means of production, are fundamental to the development of the public integration we call modern democracy and should surely warrant a focusing device.”

The idea is to “let each city speak and visualise for itself and to use the publication to begin the process of revealing - warts and all - the nature of each city's cultural density and future and to do this through the imaginative techniques of art.”

The section on Johannesburg was written by freelance journalist Boetie Tsepho Damane and edited by artist Steven Hobbs. Durban was explored by Carol Brown, director of the Durban Art Gallery and Cape Town is seen through a sliver of an exhibition entitled Lovephones, produced by artist and photographer Gregg Smith under the auspices of RETREKS Cape Town editor Robert Weineck for Public Eye.

"If it is possible to think of the three principal cities in South Africa as children brought up under the overbearing parents of apartheid," says overall editor Rodney Place, "it would figure that they would behave psychologically in the familiar way: Cape Town the beautiful eldest daughter, goody, goody keeper of the family heritage; Jo'burg the youngest spoilt brat with the want/bored/want ethic of grab; and Durban the middle kid who suddenly finds it might just be in the best position, brought up in the relative calm of neglect."

More details from ZAR Works on (011) 614-6841, fax (011) 614-0916 or email: zarworks@iafrica.com




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