It’s great when you can “interact” with the artist. You will remember that for the rest of your life.

The following post is a looong one – it is meant to introduce you to some of the reasons behind running our projects – you can also choose to look at the images and videos to get the idea – enjoy 🙂

HotstixI will never forget when we decided to go to Kippies one evening and Sipho “Hotstix” welcomed everyone by the door with a big smile and said “Enjoy the evening”. Wouldn’t it be great to have a cup of coffee with your favourite musician and discuss a few issues – or get in touch with him/her in some other way? Should artists be these mysterious beings (celebrities) that can only be seen on TV or a big stage by their audience? Is that actually what the artist want?

(photo from here)

Who is the artist?

NagyapoWhen I teach mathematics to somebody, he’s already standing at a certain degree of precision, maybe at a very low degree. He couldn’t get higher by the way that I call him idiot when he’s less precise; but I have to convince him that it’s worth coming up. Of course it’s worth only if he demands it. However, it doesn’t matter at all if one doesn’t have a demand on it; then we remain where we are…”

Source: Extract from László Kalmár’s letter to Miklós Szabó (Szeged, 19/2/1947) In: Kalmár László: Integrállevél. Matematikai írások, Gondolat, Budapest, 1986.]

Nagyapo - lecture

The WordPress team says ( and many others ) “Code is Poetry”, my grandfather talked about mathematics as if it was the highest art form ever existed, so for me everyone is an artist (and audience member) a bit (or a lot) like in what they call web 2.0 culture.

Anyone who has a passion for his or her work or hobby and is ready to say that there is no such thing as “perfect”.



There are many artists – or people in general – that interact with their audience in interesting ways – ways and means that we can also learn from.

They use these skills and tools because they think it is absolutely necessary for their work as an artist since without the input and feedback from their audience they can’t establish whether the message got through or not.

Here are a few artists that have developed their own special way of interacting with their audience. Artists, bloggers that I learn from every day.

Paulo Coelho and the Experimental Witch project…

Paulo Coelho is a great writer – and I love the fact that he finds blogging useful in his work – he also has discussions and Frequently Asked Questions on his blog that helps him get feedback from his audience – which would otherwise be impossible since he has a global audience with fans from all the corners of the world.

His latest project, The Experimental Witch is a new tool that helps him get his fans involved. He says :

Throughout my career as a writer, I’ve met people that trusted me without knowing me well and they have helped me, enabling me to follow my dreams. I’ve been visiting the pages of readers this last year and I’ve seen excellent works by actresses & actors, musicians, directors, etc.

That’s why I thought: why not make a movie together? I would retain the rights of the film based on my latest book The Witch of Portobello while developing this partnership.
Please follow the link to the website to read the Rules and participate to the Project!

Telling the story – Ethelbert’s E-Notes

Ethelbert’s E-notes

One of the responsibilities of an artist is to report on the world around him/her in a way that is simple and yet entertaining. Like Izz, Ethelbert posts his comments regularly on the day’s issues. He is also a teacher, a lecturer and holds poetry recitals – which helps him interact with his readers on a daily basis.

I met Ethelbert about 15 years ago – when I walked into the library at Howard University. He was very kind and was ready to answer all my questions and went out of his way to find interesting classes to attend during my short visit to Washington DC. I didn’t know then that he was a wellknown poet and a lecturer, quite a celebrity known worldwide. He has been blogging since early 2004 with daily posts in which he lets his readers and students find out about literary events, theater shows, concerts, interesting lectures, the poem he just wrote, the friend he just met – he also comments often on the current political situation, and anything else that he finds worth mentioning for some reason.

Click to visit his E-Notes and see how he tells the story of his Unviersity, his town, his community and more …

How Gilberto Gil and Vieux Farka Toure and many others take part in a new remix culture

CCMixterWhen it comes to music and especially jazz – each pieace is based on the piece played seconds before – each musician gets to be the performer as well as the audience in a very direct way. There is no time to ask permission – “can I please take this and add a bit of that to it” – instead this becomes the rule – building on each other’s work – and nobody gets upset.

CC Mixter SA

Gilberto Gil, Vieux Farka Toure, Peter Gabriel, DJ Fresh, Zap Mama and many others use the ccMixter as a tool to let their fans remix and build on their music – they set up “remix competitions” in which they make one or some of their songs available online in “raw form”, you can download acapellas, and other audio elements seperately and remix it with your own music. Once the remix is ready – you can re-upload it back to take part in the competition.

From :

This is a community music site featuring remixes licensed under Creative Commons, where you can listen to, sample, mash-up, or interact with music in whatever way you want.

Remixers If you’re into sampling, remixing and mash-ups grab the sample packs and a cappellas for download and you can upload your version back into ccMixter, for others to enjoy and re-sample. All legal.

Podcasters, directors and music lovers If you’re into music, browse this site to hear some of the great remixes people have built from sampling music on this site, all licensed for use under Creative Commons license.

The Wired CD

These musicians are saying that true creativity needs to be open, fluid, and alive. When it comes to copyright, they are pro-choice. Here are 16 songs that encourage people to play with their tunes, not just play them.
WIRED magazine, November 2004 issue (CD was included with magazine.)

Wired CD

From the Wikipedia:

The Wired CD is an album that was released in 2004 as a collaborative effort between Wired magazine, Creative Commons, and sixteen musicians and groups. The Wired CD was distributed inside the front cover of the November 2004 issue of Wired, which also featured a variety of interviews and bios of the performers. Unusually, the songs were released under one of two Creative Commons Licenses, permitting sampling and file-sharing of the songs. (Read more)

Maria’s blog – blogging the process

Follow me!

Eversince I “met” her in cyberspace her warm and friendly attitude towards her readers has amazed me.

She finds so many different ways to share her experiences while working on her play, Baaahhh!!! – the blog tells the story, she also adds YouTube videos and slideshows – actually she promised to work on setting up a Yahoo messenger version of the play 🙂 (Ok this was not serious…. or …. is it?)

Baaahhh!!! reading

Click to see Maria’s blog and the slideshow about the reading on July 14th.

Using open licenses

CC licenses

As opposed to copyright – open licenses (like Creative Commons licenses) consider also what the audience would like – not only what the audience “mustn’t do”.

Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry. You can use CC to change your copyright terms from “All Rights Reserved” to “Some Rights Reserved.” (From the CC site)

A video Presentation about Creative Commons Licencing

As I see there are many bloggers around here that have a CC badge on their sites including Kanute, Izz, Steve, and even Steve ….amongst others….

African conversationsAt ArtMarketOnline we also experiment with open licenses, one of our artists, Makh has recently published his first book using such a license :

Makh’s license


Monday9amTV – a film guy who becomes the audience for each film he makes


Nic is a special storyteller & blogger – he says it with short films – which are 5-6 minute interviews with people – he makes his films available free on his blog as well as YouTube:

“The films feature characters as varied as rock stars to the homeless, philosophers to the dying, and free spirits to those who fell in love. ” (from his blog site)

“The films appear to capture people ‘unplugged & naked’ and to provoke an exploration of what it means to be truly alive. They are a quietly provocative & a personally engaging study of the extraordinary hidden in the ordinary. ” (says the same About page)

It seems that for Nic – his audience is his paint brush and actually he becomes the audience every time he makes a new film. When it comes to the interaction with the audience – it feels as if his film project was based on the fact that he is “just an ordinary guy” who is “determined not to miss the experience of his own life” – and so he looks for different people and asks them a few questions in order to figure out what not to miss…- and then he lets the people take over. Click here to see his films on YouTube.

Me – by Nic Askew

There are infinite examples – these are just a few – I hope the message got through:)

… So what I actually mean to say with all of this – I think it is essential to notice that the audience is always there (be it one person or many) and it’s up to all of us to find our unique way to make them part of the performance …


We learn from every person we meet. Even if we don’t ask them questions.

Imagine ‘not meeting’ all the people you have met in your life – would you be the same person now? How do the people in your life influence you? Sometimes we tend to do what the others around do because …. well just because they do it. Sometimes we get totally irritated with others and say ‘that’s ridiculous‘ but we never think of the fact that they might have a perfectly logical explanation for the things they do’. I know I do ‘ridiculous’ things all the time 🙂 but I can assure you – I have reasons for all of those things. The reason is the people around me ( including all the bloggers I have discovered on the NET ) – they taught me unbelievable things – and most of them were not my teachers – they were just ‘around’.

Izzonline‘s posts all end with a quote by Voltaire – “Judge of a man by his questions, rather than by his answers.” May be I should ‘ask’ Izz why he chose that specific quote to add to each of his posts.

When we were kids – all we did was ask – ‘Mama why is it like this – why is it like that – but once we are adults – we tend to just ‘do things’ and we stop asking questions – we many times get annoyed when our kids carry on asking all those questions.

When it comes to artists – they are there for us – the ‘fans’ – the audience, the readers, the listeners – but do we get the chance to ask them questions? Do they have the chance to get feedback or answer questions about that poem, song or painting? I’d love to be able to ask Abdullah Ibrahim or Vusi Mahlasela a few questions so that I can get the stories behind the songs. Most of the time this is not the case – this is why it is great that I have the opportunity to ask questions from Maria about her play.

This is my second interview at – this site gives me the opportunity to carry on asking those questions – (not that you can’t ask questions otherwise 🙂 ) and figure out what the people of the blogsphere have to say about the reasons for doing the things they do.

What you need is a sheep!

Peopleized by: Szavanna – Saturday, 16 June 2007

Baaahhh An interview with Maria about her theater piece, Baaahhh!!!

Szavanna: Thanks so much for agreeing to answer my questions! Please introduce yourself in a few words.

Baaahhh: Hello there…my name is Maria Riboli, I’m an Italian actress/director who’s been living in NYC for the past 9 years…and I love it!!!

Szavanna: Please introduce your play in 1-2 sentences.

Baaahhh: BAAAHHH!!!( tells the story of what happens when one sheep decides it doesn’t want to follow the herd;)

A man, a sheepskin jacket and the mayhem of a bureaucracy.

Szavanna: What are your reasons for choosing this specific play?

Baaahhh: This project was born during a long Roman night spent talking about work, theater and life with a great friend and a professional who I admire and respect deeply, Stefano Genovese. At the time I was looking for a new project to dive into but I wasn’t having any luck…then Stefano told me about this play “Baaahhh!!!” (original title “Sako Ot Velur” by S. Stratiev). The passion for this play has captured me from the very beginning.

The irony and the comedy that ties this pièce together is universal: it could be taking place in Bulgaria, in Italy, or in the United States…any audience would be able to identify themselves, to laugh and cheer for our heroes and their battles against the windmills of today and to rejoice in the victory of Honesty and Tenacity of those “everyday” characters.

Szavanna: “Never give up on your dreams” – you say – tell me about one of your dreams and how you work towards achieving it

Baaahhh: I truly believe that we should Never give up on our dreams…this is my dream right now…this play, this project…I believed in it from the very beginning and I just followed my heart…that doesn’t mean that it’s an easy road, not at all, but you can’t go wrong if you follow a true passion…

You have to work really hard and you have to put everything you have, all your energies, in it…I do surround myself with people who have great sensibility, great talent and great visions…you always need other people around you that you can trust and that you can grow from…

Always try to reinvent yourself…follow your heart…follow your dreams…one of my lines in the show says “If you’re sixty and you wake up one morning and nothing hurts…you’re dead”.

I do want be able to look back and be proud of what I’ve done, and I want be able to say “I gave it everything I had”…

Szavanna: This is my 10th year here in South Africa – one learns so much when living in a new country – you have spent 9 years in the USA – how is your experience so far?

Baaahhh: I have to say it’s been great!!!

I’ve always been fascinated with the States since I was a child (my parents couldn’t figure out why)…when I was just 5 years old I used to say “One day I’ll live in NYC and I’ll be an actress”…little that I knew my dream came true (you see dreams do come true hehehe).

I have to say that I adore New York…I don’t know if I would be able to live anywhere in the US, like I wouldn’t be able to live anywhere in Italy…but NY is just an amazing place to be…you feel alive and I knew I was “home” the moment I put my feet “in” it;)

NY challenges you, loves you and hates you…you have to keep up with “her” (yup NY is a she)…but the amount of knowledge and experience that you get here in just a short period of time, is huge compared to what some people go through their whole life.

Szavanna: Our artproject, ArtMarketOnline ( is focusing on providing free support for all those artists that need some help using computers and the Internet, publish their books online or learn to take part in online collaborations like the projects of – what are your thoughts on such a project?

Baaahhh: I think it’s amazing!!!

Supporting the arts is supporting life, we need to be able to express ourselves, to communicate…without art you can’t grow…

I’m just so happy to know that there are organizations like ArtMarketOnline ( that offer so much support and for FREE!!!

Great great great job!!!

Szavanna: And last but not least – (I like to ask this question often) how do you see the role of art and artists in today’s world?

Baaahhh: Again I think it’s vital…but I also see a lot of very poor choices, just because they bring the big bucks…we need to see more original work, less revivals…we need to be more open to other cultures, other ways to live life…that’s when we’ll grow…

I think art in every form, from theater, to sculptures, to paintings, to music, to dance and so on, it’s one of the things we need to open our minds and make this earth a better place.

Arts give emotions…and that’s a very precious gift you can donate to another human being.

Baaahhh’s Page   Authors Page: Szavanna

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‘You are not in control. You are not in control of yourself. You are not in control of what you’re gonna get..You are in control of ……. no you are not in control’ – says Jamie and Duncan on the One Giant Leap trailer

Things seem to be happening to us all the time – and many times we feel – that we have no control of events happening in our lives. We tend to end up in situations – and we have no idea how we got there. I do believe that one can get the hang of it and get more in control of things – it does require some research – like the guys at One Giant Leap did.

Yvette’s mandalaWe have been skypeing with Yvette about various community, open source, open art projects like and Cultural Fusion – invest in art & peace at the International Free and open source software foundation – so many great projects – she is busy with and is looking for South Africans to join her projects – you can connect with her at . Looking forward to discovering more about these sites and her projects.

Cultural Fusion – if I hear the word I always think first of the film, One Giant Leap – so here it is :