I was locked into the artSPACE durban Gallery by the owner, Claus Bradke, to stand vigil for a 12 hour period, from 1800 to 600. During this 12 hour night-vigil I performed certain masculine trials such as hitting a punchingbag as well as performing military drills and exercises. Alone in the space, I documented these performances on camera and video.
At 6 am Bradke released me from the gallery whereupon I then ran a 2,4 (the army standard fitness evaluation test of 2.4 kilometres). Running to the old SADF Natal Command Precinct in my army uniform, I carried out three rituals using my own blood, which I had a nurse draw from me. Much as early man did in dark caves around the world, I marked three specific sites in the old military precinct with my handprints. The first site was the two sentry houses that new conscripts would pass through on their way to being inducted, leaving their civilian lives behind. The second site was the old Natal Command Church, while the third was the towering ceremonial arch of the main entrance facing the Indian Ocean and Durban’s Golden Mile. This part of the performance was documented by a photographer.
By marking this historical military site with my bloody handprints, I indicated not only my physical presence in the institution but also my coming to terms with my complicity with Apartheid and its war machine. The trauma of this relationship is alluded to through the thirteen hour process of physical trials and bloodletting which preceded a cathartic public ritual within the old military precinct. This performance was a presentation of lived experience, in an attempt to foster understanding and to initiate transformation.