Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Friday, May 14, 2010
[1.23] This is an old zoo. What we can do is imagine where the animals used to be. This looks like a funny shaped concrete swimming pool; there used to be water in here and crocodiles.
[3.00] Come and look very carefully -- on the ground, all around -- and tell me if you can see something that looks like an animal. You see his eye, his teeth, and his paws and there’s his curly tail and his ferocious claws. These are pictures of lions.
[12.30] Zoos are metaphoric landscapes. They often materialize a set of complex ideas around nature and culture and wildness and domesticity. This zoo told a little evolutionary tale from crocodiles to hyenas and foxes through to apes and leopards, through to lions. A biogenetic story as you walk through it with lions on the top.
A bit of a crazy thing…
[3.06] It’s a nice place to stay here…to rest, to do your things.
This place is a very good place because it keeps me safe. I go out in the morning, I go collecting my scrap. [2.36] If I get some iron, about 250 kg that is the loot, obviously. They pay you two rand per kilo. So multiply 250 times 2 so that is 500 bucks. I’m satisfied with that.
[1.57] This is not actual my workplace, I just come here and I rest a little bit. I collect the small things and then I put it together and when it becomes big then I take it with the other stuff and take it to the scrap yards in
[3.21] Many years ago I did work here with PWD, the Public Works Department. That was in the time of De Klerk, when De Klerk was the state president. This was a zoo for apes and that kind of stuff.
[3.54] There were lions as well.
[4.21] I don’t know where they took the lions.
[0.48] Friends started coming here, because there were seats here at one point. And those seats were the most comfortable seats on campus. They were padded and all.
[1.17] If you want to smoke, you come here. It’s off campus. And if you try and smoke on campus you get busted. We like a few other spots as well: the tree on the other side, the thrown. The thing is…this place is indoors. We used to have a place which we called the eagle’s nest, on the roof of the UCT graduate building. But that is blocked off now.
Act 2: "Africanness"
[9.38] The point of this landscape is that it’s an exemplary landscape. It is meant to physically embody a set of big ideas.
[8.50] This zoo is built by Cecil Rhodes, a British imperialist and expansionist who had two countries named after him, and who lived in the late 19th century.
[15.50] The most important thing about the design is the points of prospects and the axes. With the main university site the axis cuts from the flag tower at the University hall down the steps across the rugby field and then to the Summer House and that’s where the design is worked from.
[After 10.18] It is meant to be a little bit of all sorts of things. Englishness, the oak trees; a sense of location, the [indigenous] silver trees and the fijnbos; then the stone pines, which stand for southern Mediterranean classicism. Utterly weird, isn’t it?! But that’s the combination they were going for. And the lions are meant to be wild
[After 18.55] [Rhodes] had this idea that the
[17.57] The way I think it work is like this: there was a settlers’ society with the
[6.09] Do you recognize this? It’s a part of Dutch national history; it’s the outline of the castle in
During the struggle period this was the symbol of apartheid and now it is a tourist attraction.
Act 3: Looking Ahead
[23.40] No one knows what to do with [the zoo]. The university wants to turn it into a parking lot. But it is a bit tricky; because since there are monumental structures, they’re protected.
[1 -- Introduction] The Rhodes Will...provides that a portion of the Groote Schuur Zoo site, in extent approzimately 13 ha...be placed ‘at the disposal of any person to be utilised as a park, open to all members of the public.”
[4 – Development Proposals] The [current] development proposals...aim to conserve the existing man-made and natural landscape whilst encouraging its use by the public.
[4.1 – The Lion’s Den Restaurant] The lion’s den will be converted into a family restaurant with take-away facilities for hikers and visitors to the parkland. This can be achieved by enclosing with glass the existing barred cages behind the stone enclosure, creating an all weather dining area and utilizing the stone structure for additional dining space and kitchens. A wooden deck will extend over a portion of the lion’s enclosure creating a fair-weather dining area with...a magnificent panoramic view of Cape Town. An upgraded access road will provide for physically disabled patrons.
[4.2 – Parking] Parking facilities and toilets will be provided on the converted teraces of the Zoo site. The conversion of the terraces to provide parking will be carried out with a minimum of disturbance to the existing landscape by removing the defunct cages, resurfacing the area with brick paving, and linking the terraces by widening the existing pedestrian ramps. The arrangement...will provide 70 parking bays on the existing terraces with very little disturbance to the established landscape.
[4.6 – Zoo Relics] A suggestion has been made that one or two of the defunct cages be retained as relics of the former zoo. However, these massive cages are in a very poor state of repair, difficult to screen and architecturally without merit. It is therefore recommened that they be demolished, but that the level terraces on which they stand be retained and converted to parking or grassed over to provide a suitable space for future amenity use.
[5 – Development Control and Programme for Approval] A hiererchy of control will ensure that the development and management of the site will always be in keeping with the aims of preserving the present character of the site for future generations, as intended in Rhodes’ Will.
Monday, May 3, 2010
Dear Mr. Bittman,
I’m writing to you on behalf of my brother Scott, a Peace Corps volunteer in
I just returned home from visiting him in
Along with the enclosed letter, he asked me to send you a sample of Mozambican dried fish, which we purchased for you at the market in Ribáuè, the village where he lives. Unfortunately, I’m sorry to say that I was not successful in my attempt to smuggle the rather pungent parcel past customs officials on my way back to the
I have, however, included a few photos to give you a sense of what we’re dealing with.
If you would like to contact my brother directly, here is his address in
Scott Brennen /
He does, occasionally, have internet access [when he travels]. On those occasions he can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alternatively, I would be happy to facilitate any further communication and can be reached at the following:
Andrea Brennen / 21 Avon St. #1 /
Thank you in advance for your help. He, I, and our mother are all grateful. We worry about him over there, y’know?
Dear Mr. Bittman;
Can I call you Mark? Good. Mark, I need your help.
You see Mark, I live in the Bush and there isn’t much to eat. I am a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural in-land
And here is where you come in – you see, there is, in fact, another protein source. Mark, have you ever eaten Mozambican dried fish? Let me try to describe the experience.
Let’s start with bones. Lots of ‘em. Little bones, sharp bones, bones you can chew, bones you can’t. Bones that scratch as they go down; bones that scratch as they come back up. Next, add the smell of nearly rotten fish. No, not fully rotten, but you know everything one could hate about fish? Imagine that in concentrate. It smells like a practical joke, or like an afternoon fishing trip gone bad. It smells like forgetting your pet guinea pig in the basement for a month. Defeat, humiliation; yes, it even smells like Death. Now, salt. So much it makes you cry. Dirty, crunchy sea salt: big grains, little grains. It finds holes, it gets in deep. You taste it as you sleep.
So there it is, the three-part essence of Mozambican dried fish: salty, fishy bones. And here’s where I need your expertise: help me find a way to make this local product palatable. I could appeal to your sense of pity for a young American volunteering out in the Bush, but instead I appeal to your sense of exploration, of adventure. Let’s call it a challenge, perhaps your greatest ever: craft a good simple recipe for dried fish using nothing but a charcoal stove and locally grown foods. That means no electricity, no refrigerator, and no fancy kitchen equipment. I will include a list of what other ingredients are generally available here. Don’t worry, it will be short. Here in
Thank you and good luck.
P.S. In case you want to try some, here’s some dried fish.
Generally Available Ingredients:
Dried fish; infinite variety
Sugar, sugar cane
Grans: wheat, rice, corn, millet, sorghum, cassava
Sweet and regular potatoes
Greens: collard, pumpkin, sweet potato, cassava, mustard, cauliflower
Rats, grasshoppers, flying termites – yes, people eat these
Powdered milk / Sweetened condensed milk
I have these spices from home: