ISSN: 1477965X
First published in 2003
3 issues per volume
Volume 12 Issue 2-3
Cover Date: December 2014
Jozi Rhythmanalogues: Measures of sense and nonsense in Johannesburg’s automatic writing
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Authors:  Mocke Jansen van Veuren 
DOI: 10.1386/tear.12.2-3.309_1

experimental film,rhythmanalysis,phenomenology,African cities,Johannesburg,graphic scores,indexicality

The city of Johannesburg pulsates with rhythms that are driven by some of its most fundamental characteristics: pressured economic activity, the mingling and movement of bodies, commuting, and a history of race and class segregation. The collaborative Jozi Rhythmanalogues project attempts to make sense of these rhythms by employing sensory experience as a process of explorative thought. In the course of this project, public spaces are documented over long periods through time-lapse films, which are analysed to reveal patterns of movement. The resulting graphs, representing a kind of ‘automatic writing’ of the city’s rhythms, are interpreted as a graphic score by musical ensembles, producing music, sound and noise. This article reflects on the explorations of spaces, methods and concerns that has led to the development of the Jozi Rhythmanalogues project’s different manifestations, and looks at the ways in which two very different ensembles have interpreted the graphic score. The key questions that emerge relate to the nature of the information that is captured or ‘written’ in the graphs, and what it means to attempt, over and over, to make sense of this information. The idea of ‘sensory thought’ is critical here, as the project in its entirety is concerned with the work of the senses as a thinking process. This phenomenological angle is complicated by the flirtation with abstract data in the measurements that comprise the production of the graphs, revealing a question of movement between poetic and analytical modes of apprehension.
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