BJ Engelbrecht

I am an artist and academic whose main creative and theoretical interest is in sound and its relationship to time and space, particularly within the complex urban environment of Johannesburg.

BJ Engelbrecht, Read

A Day


To be honest, nothing particularly interesting has happened yet. Perhaps an orchestra of fans – or maybe a duet. My recordings tend to be contingent on nobody interrupting their making. This is probably why I don’t have that many. I suddenly had a the thought that writing in this way will ruin my writing. Off the cuff, stream of consciousness rubbish. Fuck type writers! The revolution will be in pen and ink, the way that revolutions have always been. Two fans.! 

Two fans

One on the left              and             one on the right.



When I was a child, we used to fold a piece of cardboard in half and attach it to the rear bicycle wheel so that the cardboard would sick into the spokes. When we rode our bicycles, it would make the sound of a motor. 

A duet with two fans, a piece of cardboard. Played at different speeds as improvised by the performer/s. 

One on the left              and             one on the right.

There are too many hours in the day. Overestimated. There are not enough hours in the day. Underestimated. 

Just wait, they will eventually go to sleep. 

another day

Figure out the necessary components and, for the fuck of it, figure out some more. Its like learning how to breathe merely because you’re making the most out of life…

There are 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour. There are 15 bars in a minute and 900 in an hour. 

Composing for an hour could be done by dividing a square piece of paper in 3 – both horizontally and vertically. 

Take Vogue for a walk –  keep your karma in check. 

1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4. 

1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 7. 8. (4)

1. 2. 3. 4. 1. 2. 3. 4. 

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. (8) -this is how I used to compose!



Where A/B/C = 30 seconds. 

Not sure, seems very rigid – will fuck around and see.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 

Impressions are general:

Or etc.

and another…day

never end on a problem


and another


and another

The hues are blue when the sun doesn’t shine. 

Don’t prime your audience, get to the point. Saying things like: In my opinion, I think, to be honest or I meeeeeaaan! Its the kind of superfluous, time-wasting shit we can all do without. 


A chair

A chair without the sound of its own making.

The humble chair.

If one sits on a thing other than a chair, does that not make it a chair? 

Is the chair wobbly or is the ground uneven?

Sitting. Somewhere between lying down and standing up. Neither up nor down. The involuntary response to a good chair is to sit. Sit upright! Don’t slouch in your chair – high school musical chairs. The chair person of the chair society. A chair without the sound of its own making. 


and another

“A blank page”

and another

The meeting with ***** was useless. He was very standoffish and when a man with very little personality becomes like that, I feel no obligation to rescue him from the boredom that he exudes.

and another

This content is too dark to share

and another

I told my old lady to WhatsApp you instead. Trying to either get a lift home or another bottle of. Already spent my cab fair :’(

and another

Be unpretentious and clear. [Riiight]

and another

I need a soundproof box. At the moment I have a table top. The world is my studio. It’s limiting. 

and another

She’s more delusional than ever. I think I should just bleed with the writing. Spill the whole fucking can of beans. Hash tag word count. I always felt that the more I write, the less shit I will talk in the company of others. “Escape the hard times”


This is slowly turning into a hangover confessional, which was definitely not the intention.


Becoming increasingly sure that my life is a mess. Unemployed. Broke. Shit relationship. No prospects of recovery. The butterflies are migrating. 


Theirrationalityofthesquarerootof2.Amodelofknowledge:mathsisCERTAINMathisincorrigible.1+1isalways2.Itsalwaystrue.MathematicalknowledgeisnecessarilytrueWhycan’totherkindsofknowledgebethisway?Itsapplicableto thingsbutitsnotABOUTthings.NumbersseemtobethecontentofobjectivetruthArenumbersobject?Youcan’tseeanumber.Plato:numbersareforms.Notspatio—temporal.NotsensoryAnobjectivelyexistingworldofforms?Nosensualawarenessofthis.AristotlemathematicsisaboutOURworld.Numbersarepropertiestheyarefeaturesofobjects.Frege:numbersarenotpropertiesofthings.Kant:If somethingistruemathematically it is necessarily true. Analytic true:necessarilytrue:allbachelor’saren’tmarried.Synthetic:allbachelor’sareunhappy.1conceptortwo-synthesis.Analysing1conceptApriori:ifourknowledge ispriortotesting.Aposteriortrueonthebasisofresearch.Mathsissyntheticapriori.Transcendentalidealialism.Pneumonia.Wecanonlyknowthingsastheyappeartous.Frege&Russel:Parallellinescanmeet-Physicalspaceisremeinian/curved. WhatisnumberNothappywithKant.BacktoPlato.Mathisobjectivelytrue.Logisism.Logicisaboutforms.Aclassofobjects.Propositions.Numbersareclasses.x=y, yisaclass.Itsraining=true/falseItsnotraining=trueorfalseEitherit’srainingoutsideoritsnot=tautology(necessarilytrue).Theyaretruebydefinition.


Why do musicians always have so much stuff around them? And cables, so many cables. Who’s car you trying to jumpstart? 


Saw through a pencil with a fine blade,

Saw through a broom stick with a medium toothed blade

Saw through a plank with a long course blade

Sand a table top with course then fine sandpaper using long strokes for any length of time.

Crack open an egg.



Cut a circle out of a piece of grid paper

Place it in the dead centre of another piece of grid paper. 

Rotate it 6 degrees clockwise.

Do so 60 times until you reach the starting point.


Glass jars of varying sizes placed so that their brims are at the same height and their outside edges come into contact. Play in a circular motion without striking them.


Two pencils on large wooden table. Make a circular motion – one clockwise the other anti-clockwise. If you so choose, draw oval shapes instead. 


Break a packet of pencils, one by one, as slowly as possible. 


Drop a pencil (cry)


Drop one pencil from 10cm onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop two pencils from 20cm onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop three pencils from 30cm onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop four pencils from 40cm onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop five pencils from 50cm onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop six pencils from 60cm onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop seven pencils from 70cm onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop eight pencils from 80cm onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop nine pencils from 90cm onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop ten pencils from 1m onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop eleven pencils from 1,1m onto a wooden floor then pick it up.

Drop twelve pencils from 1,2m onto a wooden floor then pick it up.


Book Proposal:

48 broken mobile phone screens, scanned.



Writing Exercises:


The case of great stairs.

None are great.

Not the stares.

Nor the stairs.

Not the hall.

Nor the haul.

Never have or will.

30 Minutes. 

Write in the middle of the staircase.


Air guitar writing-

Fairly simple to trans-

Late a guitar solo into

Its lyrical counterpart.

Your guitar however is

Of the lyrical variety

Guitar = pen thus

Air pen solo.




One. Word. Until. You.


Step. No. Further.

Without. Word.

Write. No. Word.

Without. Paths.



Wherever thou art 

Able (with purpose

Or inadvertently)

Rest thy book 

Of notes, here

A note must be took.


Position your body

Facing a notice board.

At a fairly frequent 

Rate, look up at the 

Notices & down at

Your notebook while

Writing. Take note 

Of smells, temperature,

Sounds, light,

And so forth, note 

Everything except

What is on the board.


Make vigorous 

Scribbles from

Left to right-

Top to bottom

“Pretend to write”

*Make sure that no

Marks resemble any

Words or letters.


The second from last

Tree that you find.

Let it tell your story.


Draw a circle on your

Page. Write endlessly

Along its circumference.

#9 (a)

Resist the urge to write.

#9 (b)

When you can no longer 

Resist the urge to write.

Write single words.

Form plain sentences.

Build one paragraph.

Shed light on a simple



Write quietly,

Not silently,



Write loudly,

Not noisily,



Write in complete



Write with black ink

On black paper.


Write by keeping

Your pen stationary

And moving your

Page instead.


Rule a series of

Parallel lines. 

Horizontally. 1cm

Apart. Across your



Reignite an 

old flame.


Write as “they” do. 


Remember that which

You need to record

In writing.

Forget it.


Write “NOTHING”.

Then strike 

Through it.


Ask no questions;

Answer none.


Seated on the floor.

Place your notebook

On the floor next

To you.

Draw a question mark.

Stay seated.


Wake up in the morning.

Make up a word.


Write when there is 

Nothing to say.

and this day

Love someone other than yourself.

White paint on a black background. I think I have back paint in the cupboard at home.

and that

Room tones. 

Immersion in the world of edited prose.

and the other another

Nobody is the voice of the people. 

The art of everyday protest.

Go outside and scream, then go back inside. 

and a

A whole thing about Isaiah Berlin that I’d rather not get into any detail about. Rather: Insert video loop of me doing aerobics.


South Africa launches booty recognition software. 


and I measure, I measure the loss

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