Die Antwoord x Roger Ballen x Illuminati Watcher x Esoteric x Exoteric Fringe to Pop

A Hip hop/ Pop  music group from South Africa they are representive of zef the counterculture movement(Yolandi Visser of Die Antwoord said, “It’s associated with people who soup their cars up and rock gold and shit. Zef is, you’re poor but you’re fancy. You’re poor but you’re sexy, you’ve got style.”) Die Antwoord translated to ‘The Answer’ is famous for their are no holds barred lyrics end anthem/ rave grand something beats, while I really like their music, it’s their and dark aesthetic that is drawing me to them. Their striking raw visual identity with the use of occult symbolism appears to be a result of a partnership with a photographer Roger Ballen. Ballen directed ’I FINK U FREAKY’ in 2012 and and now has over 100 millions views displays Ballen’s iconic dark and surreal look which Die Antwoord a come known for.  

Like Ballen’s photographs which are black and white theatrical psychological scene scapes with dirt and grime and sit between installation and drawing painting and photography.Ballen often photographs the forgotten, as described on his website for his ‘Platteland’ series ‘Many of those people the photographer encounters feel strangled by poverty and preconception, rejected and downgraded.’


Roar, 2002 From Roger Ballen’s ‘Shadow Chamber’ series

His works blur the lines between reality and fiction the Die Antwoord music video pushes the viewer into the depths of the subconscious.


Bath scene, 2012 From ’I FINK U FREAKY’

Here is another video by Ballen ‘House of the Ballenesque’ depicting his signature style

Which to me finds provenance in the work of Joel-Peter Witkin, who controversially used o ‘side show freaks’ and cadavers.

Un Santo Oscuro, Los Angeles , 1987 – Joel-Peter Witkin

Die Antwoord and Roger Ballen have worked on a number of projects together for example an exhibition relating to ’I FINK U FREAKY’ and skateboard project to raise money to help fund skate schools in Johannesburg. As well as ‘TOMMY CANT SLEEP’

Ironically for a more in-depth look at the semiotics, symbology and aesthetic of Die Antwoord have a look at https://illuminatiwatcher.com/illuminati-occult-symbolism-die-antwoord/  Illuminati Watcher whose tagline is ‘A Rational Guide To The Irrational’ run by Isaac Weishaupt Conspiracy theorist whos ‘life as an ongoing mission to determine if this reality is the truth or a cunning holographic deception.’  looking at everything from Star Wars to Miley Cyrus. which is interesting for me as it’s not like the reference to the Illuminati a cold war aliens is hidden I’d say it’s a given a popular culture feasts on the aesthetic of the fringe.  I’m not sure it actually means that Lady Gaga is actually in a ‘blood pact with the devil’ but who knows? Still an interesting read to scrape through the extent of popular appropriation and practices nonetheless and brilliant example of popular culture making the esoteric exoteric as well as exasperates the legend and myth of the pop stars.

Blair Zaye