Where some things are beautiful & everything hurts. (2018) is a browser-based multimedia installation that invokes critical race and digital culture theories - by drawing from cultural symbols that have been adopted and widely shared by individuals - as an attempt to queer standard media and representation narratives maintained in the collective imagination of the South African post-apartheid state . The browser-based installation invites the audience to engage and explore alongside the artist through an online experience, questioning whether black, queer and trans youth are able to take up space - online and offline - and go about making space for others despite the Rainbow Nation’s resistance.
Using music, photography, video, collage and writing, the artist imagines the possibilities that exist when we complicate our binary approaches. The viewer is encouraged to interrogate the many complicated ways of viewing, being viewed, questioning, being questioned, subjectivity and objectivity.
Following the release of 6LMAFUTHA and dick4disco, the artist’s initial musical offerings in 2017, the artist returns with 3 experimental ambient noise EPs; justice, Prince Moroka/ Browser History and Future Soundscapes For Past Tense Traumas.
Taking inspiration from ballroom music made popular by black queer Americans, industrial motifs, global protests and ideas of what space travel sounds like - the artist invites the listener on a musical journey that delves through childhood trauma, teenage infatuation, existential angst and political tension. The commentary created through news clips, field recordings of everyday household fixtures, and the sounds of animals going about their days results in layered, explorative dreamscapes that attempt to reveal societal bias, subjectivity and encourage reflection.
With writing ranging poetry, personal essays and a series of newsletters, the artist works through experiences of URL vulnerability, religious and sexual frustration, unrequited love, hope and possibilities. #Braambae is a concept zine that humanises Braamfontein, Johannesburg by depicting a flawed, ambitious and complicit character. Excerpts from Falling in Love with Priests, a forthcoming chapbook, contemplates young love, heartbreak, sexuality and religion through the lens of black masculinity.
Internet Treatz, a series of newsletters written by the artist and shared to a community of subscribers from 2016 to 2017 is an invitation into the artist’s browser history and heart. This is not a coming out story. is a short essay detailing the artist’s transition as a non-binary individual over the period of 2015 to 2018.
VIDEO + COLLAGE
Ever-evolving news cycles, early meme culture, and the South African digital landscape are inspirations that inform the virtual realities that appear in the video and collage series This is what it feels like to live inside the internet.
The overwhelming 360-environments transport the viewer "into" the timeline, exposing them to a cluttered simuation of daily streams of conversations. The media's coverage of the safety of women and children across the world, theory pertaining to the different ways in which identities are constructed, land expropriation in South Africa, and the banality of globalization are visually challenged and interrogated.
In Rare footage from the Warzone the phenomenon of the pink Rand, the decriminalization of sex work, Cape Town's water crisis and its raciallised and gendered effects, and the reality of South Africa as a warzone is explored.
The artist further engages with the narrative of their transition(s) through the video Trans*itions, which follows the artist through the city of Johannesburg. In this work, the artist considers current discourse around trans experiences, and puts forward the notion that transitions seldom end and are non-linear.
Through the use of photography, the artist works through the documentation of the lives of black, queer and trans residents of Johannesburg, particularly focusing on queer nightlife and culture. The series Crying in the club captures intimate moments in time, seeking to give rise to conversations around safety, accessibility and the state of queer nightlife culture in current South Africa.
The artist then turns the lense on themself, in self-portraits form the series dituku/ dinaledi and coverperson(s). dituku/ dinaledi allows the artist to confront questions of intergenerational dialogue and self-acceptance. coverperson(s) is a reimagination of early South African gay magazines, and the effects of limited perspectives and representation in queer media around the globe.
About the artist
Tiger Maremela, b. 1993 and also known as A VERY COOL TIME is a Johannesburg-based artist and strategist trying to make sense of the world by endlessly scrolling through the internet. Their multi-disciplinary works mainly range music, visual art, writing and performance. The artist is interested in the centering and amplification of black, queer and trans South African voices in the post-apartheid state.
The artist's work has appeared on Skin Deep (UK), Quartz (US), and the City Press, and bylines in publications like 10and5, Mail & Guardian and Made Magazine (US). They have participated in digital residencies with the Stevenson Gallery and Floating Reverie. Their most recent project 'Where some things are beautiful & everything hurts.' is a browser-based project that interrogates the constellation of complicated ways of viewing, being viewed, questioning, being questioned, subjectivity and objectivity.