Dead March uses a 4 second clip from District 9, a popular culture film created in the last decade that is set in Johannesburg. The four second clip has been slowed down to 3 min, with each frame being digitally manipulated to remove the references of its original source. The short film featuring 70 frames shows the shattering of all the glass in contemporary Johannesburg’s CBD.
This reinactment of the 1896 explosion is acompanied by Handel’s Dead March from Saul, which was played by the Wanderers’ Military Band on the procession of the dead to be burried in the Braamfontein cemetary.
Stuck in a blur of history, Dead March, is stuck between a past that has occured but been utterly forgotten and a future that is yet to come but wants to be forgotten as soon as possible. Looping infinitely the piece allows no respite.
The Braamfontein 1886 Dynamite Explosion:
In Braamfontein, 1896, 60 tons of dynamite standing on a railway siding ignited. The explosion destroyed most of Braamfontein, leaving 200 identified people dead, countless unidentified bodies, 300 injured and 3000 people without homes. The resulting sound wave from the explosion broke all the glass in Johannesburg and was heard as far away as Krugersdorp (30km away). Occuring just a decade after the discovery of gold in Johannesburg, the growth of the city was so great that a few weeks later, no trace of the explosion was visible (other than a monument in the Braamfontein cemetary). To this day there is no account as to the exact position of the explosion, yet this event was of such interest to the rest of the world due to its spectacular scale and the interest in Johannesburg at the time, that the image and story of the explosion travelled the globe.
Dead March. (2012) Video, 720p, 2:57min.