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- Volume 2011, Issue 18, 2011
Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Volume 2011, Issue 18, 2011
Volumes & issues
Volume 2011, Issue 18, 2011
Author Jeanne Van EedenSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 6 –7 (2011)More Less
The previous issue of Image & Text was dedicated to thematic concerns with the liminal in South African visual culture. This issue is again an open issue that features current research. In keeping with the wider ambit of the journal as a visual culture publication, the six articles reflect a diversity of disciplines or fields, and embrace a historical dimension as well as focussing on current topics.
Author Wendy GersSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 8 –29 (2011)More Less
South African commercial and production pottery is a highly neglected field of research. In this article I focus on reproductions of San rock paintings on domestic crockery produced by Grahamstown Pottery's Drostdy Ware in the 1950s. At first glance, Drostdy's Bushman wares appear to resemble clichéd copies of Helen Tongue's (1909) reproductions. It is argued that Drostdy's Bushman wares offer a partial reflection into the complex, evolving and frequently contradictory public sentiment of the 1950s regarding the provenance of San rock art; its raison d'etre; its public profile in the media, literature, popular fiction, scientific literature, the arts, festivals and exhibitions. This article contends that Drostdy's Bushman wares both espoused and contested contemporary realities. The interstitial agency of Drostdy's Bushman wares was asserted via the triangulation of textual markings on their bases; iconography and design; and compounded by their relative quantitative "weight". These wares challenge the political neutrality or complicity of much contemporary South African art and craft production.
Treating the body of witness : medical understanding in William Kentridge's History of the Main ComplaintAuthor Andrew HennlichSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 30 –49 (2011)More Less
William Kentridge's History of the Main Complaint (1996) renders its main character, the industrialist Soho Eckstein, in a comatose state as doctors labour to diagnose him. This article reads Kentridge's use of CT Scans and X-rays in the film as a metaphor for the diagnosis of apartheid narrated through South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). Using Barry Saunder's (2008) reading of the ambiguity in radiological diagnosis, this essay argues that the diagnostic tools in History of the Main Complaint locate a similar state of ambiguity in the TRC. Throughout the film several red X's are marked upon the surface of these diagnostic images, denoting spaces of uncertainty, leading the viewer to flashbacks whose narratives of guilt and complicity are uncertain. To read through these ambiguities undermines what Mark Sanders (2007) termed the 'quasi-legal' domain of the TRC while uncovering narratives of apartheid that fall outside of the TRC's scope. Like the X-ray's stark black and white format, which serves as a legal document of bodily harm, the TRC encodes a juridical and singular narrative of the TRC. Instead these ambiguities narrate spaces outside of the main complaint that in themselves may be more illuminating of the legacies of apartheid in South Africa.
Author Duncan ReyburnSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 50 –62 (2011)More Less
This article considers the ontology of the British journalist GK Chesterton with respect to its implications for the interpretation of visual texts, referred to here as the ethics of speculation. This exploration takes place under the assumption that Chesterton's ontology, as that which relates to understanding the meaning of things, and his ethics, as that which examines the uses and abuses of things, have a dialogical connection. While Chesterton is not formally considered a philosopher, art historian or visual theorist, it is proposed that his ideas as an post-Victorian cultural commentator remain relevant to visual theory today. Unfortunately, Chesterton does not explicate his ontology systematically; this paper suggests that it may be considered in the light of three interlinking considerations: the riddle, the answer and the romance of being. It is in contemplating the interrelationship between these three considerations of being that specific ethical implications concerning visual interpretation become evident. In order to unpack the finer points of this ethics of speculation, reference is made to a single photograph taken during the South African War, A few dead British soldiers in the aftermath of the Battle of Spioenkop, 24 January 1900.
Author Anneli BowieSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 64 –81 (2011)More Less
Information visualisation is an increasingly prominent practice focussed on making large amounts of data more accessible through visual media. Furthermore, an increased interest in the aesthetic value of visualisations is evident in the emergence of a sub-category of visualisation known as "information aesthetics", where visualisation is used in more artistic and experimental ways, with a strong focus on visual appeal. This aesthetic quality of certain information visualisations has attracted considerable debate and some traditional practitioners are concerned that "aesthetics" may detract from the functional or analytical goals of visualisation artifacts. This perceived divide between aesthetics and functionality may, however, result from two common misconceptions about "aesthetics" within design discourse. Firstly, "aesthetics" is often understood as an afterthought, or the superficial visual appeal considered after all other design decisions have been made. Secondly, "aesthetics" is often distrusted, with "decoration" seen as a sign of subjective interference with otherwise objective or neutral information transfer. This article explores various perspectives on the relationship between design aesthetics and functionality, proposing ways in which they may be more closely connected, specifically within an information visualisation context.
Author Jessica HughesSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 82 –98 (2011)More Less
This article focuses on three films that facilitate a demystification of the vampire by resisting the mythological pretext, and often even the horror or romance conventions, of earlier vampire films. While the films in question - The Addiction (Ferrara 1995), Let The Right One In (Alfredson 2008) and Trouble Every Day (Denis 2001) - are undeniably aware of preconceived notions of the vampire, they are more preoccupied with the psychological implications of vampirism as an illness than making reference to any of their precursors. Their emphasis on the burden of vampirism takes away from the conventional vampire advantages such as sex appeal and special powers.
While most recent work on the vampire film has focused on direct comparisons between contemporary films, this grouping of specific postmodern examples considers which traits recurrently stray from the conventions. Thus, the focus is not on the fact that each of the films in question depict protagonists that drink blood and have a propensity to kill, but on the way they exclude aspects such as the mythical background story and the erotically mysterious vampire in order to present a more realistic figure, burdened by the weight of his or her intense desire for blood.
The prominence of grotesque figures in visual culture today. Rethinking the ontological status of the (moving) image from the perspective of the grotesqueSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 100 –123 (2011)More Less
In this article, I argue that the new - as opposed to habitualised - optical and digital technologies as used in the cinema today have a strong perceptual impact on individuals by creating all sorts of visual distortions that cause a profound deautomatisation of perception and a destabilisation of the ontological status of the image. An uncanny disruption of the perceptual process, a destabilisation of the cognitive routines, a sudden sensitivity to the medium and an instant emotional response are at the heart of these disruptive viewing experiences. I argue that these effects are reinforced by the presence of "grotesques" and "monsters" which are so prominent in visual culture today.
Author Jacques LangeSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 124 –127 (2011)More Less
Some years ago, Affinity Publishing's Ken Wilshere-Preston, while researching material for the South African Brand Museum project, discovered that the Companies and Intellectual Properties Registration Office (CIPRO) holds a rich archive of original and trademark registration forms dating back to 1877. Wilshere-Preston realised that an official record of South Africa's branding history existed, and he and a team of researchers embarked on a journey to document these treasures in a volume comprising 304 pages.
Bearing the lightness of being : the 54th Venice Biennale International Art Exhibition, Venice, Italy, 2011 : exhibition reviewAuthor Adele AdendorffSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 128 –132 (2011)More Less
The past is present : a brief report on the 2011 SACOMM conference Carine Snyman : conference reportAuthor Carine SnymanSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 134 –135 (2011)More Less
More than 170 delegates from throughout South Africa, as well as various delegates and speakers from abroad, attended the annual South African Communication Association (SACOMM) conference. The conference was hosted by the Department of Communication Science of the University of South Africa (Unisa) and took place from 29 August to 1 September 2011 at the Stone Cradle Conference Venue, situated close to the Rietvlei Nature Reserve in Pretoria.
International Design Alliance Congress 2011 : there is no way that design can sustain its current trajectory : conference reportSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 2011, pp 136 –143 (2011)More Less
The multidisciplinary design sector has evolved dynamically over the past decade and one of the most critical results has been the formal formation of the International Design Alliance (IDA) in 2005. The IDA is a strategic venture between international organisations representing design. The alliance was created by two founding partners - the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) and the International Council of Graphic Design Associations (Icograda).