Wall piece exhibited as a set of two boxes next to one another.
Edition size: 5 sets (ten boxes in total)
Wood (variable), glass, sandblasted text. First set (Imbuia) 2003; second set (American walnut) 2014; third set (partridge wood) 2014.
Measurements for each box: 44 x 54cm long, 18.5cm deep. Space between the two boxes at least 10cm, but variable
Two ballot boxes (dyptich) with the voting mouths sealed up, on each ballot box are eight words describing privileged voting practices that benefit only some voters in a community.
Box 1: gerontocracy: the rule of old men; chirocracy: the rule by the 'strong hand' often at the 'hand' of military force; logocracy: the rule by fancy words (spinning and lobbying); oligarchy: the rule by a small group of privileged persons; plousiocracy: the rule of the wealthy; phallocracy: the rule of men only; coprocracy: Koster's word for "the rule of shits"; hierocracy: the rule by the church
Box 2: chromatocracy: the rule by people of the same skin colour over people of a different colour; kleptocracy: the rule of thieves; hoplarchy: military rule; xenocracy: the rule of foreigners; kakistocracy: rule by the worst citizens; heterarchy: the rule of an alien force; cormorancy: rule by a greedy and oppressive class; albocracy: rule by ‘white’ men or Europeans
In 2005 I read a fascinating definition of democracy on the notice board of a minority black university in Washington. It said:
Democracy: Two wolves and a sheep voting over what to have for dinner.
The feelings and interests of people on the ground are often ignored or bypassed by a cleverly rigged democratic process. In the old Apartheid South Africa white people were hoodwinked by being told that the country was indeed a true democracy when in fact it was an oligarchy (rule by a small group of privileged persons), an albocracy (rule by ‘white’ men or Europeans), even a logocracy (rule by fancy words also called ‘spin’) and perhaps the prime example of a kakistocracy or coprocracy (Koster’s words for the rule by the worst citizens, literally ‘the shits’). CLOSED BALLOT spells out sixteen such anomalies that tend to occur when people are kept from having a say in the affairs that affect them.
Few countries are indeed a democracy in the true sense of the word. Because South Africa has the highest rape figures per capita in the world, with its president embroiled in his own sexual dilemmas, it is indeed a phallocracy (rule of men only). With all the corruption that goes on, it is becoming more and more a kleptocracy (rule of thieves). The rich, of course, must have more money all the time and they find the kleptocrats an eager source of manipulation when they need authorisation to sell outdated and impractical fighter jets and submarines or when they need to squeeze the life out of the Karoo with senseless fracking. So, in spite of our claim to democracy, the plusiocracy, also called plutocracy (rule of the wealthy) actually call the shots.
The ballot boxes of CLOSED Ballot are ‘romantically’ fitted with reddish ‘lips’ (African rosewood) with their slots sealed-off. These ‘democratic pudenda’ are those of demi-vierges, promising the nation great things and delivering all but scraps and pieces. The demi-vierge (French for half-virgin) is a sexy girl, fond of flirting and spicy promise, but who never actually delivers. I believe the derisive slang for her is ‘cock teaser’.
Willem Boshoff 2014