Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Volume 23, Issue 1, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 23, Issue 1, 2014
Pointure-practices in visual representation and textual discourse - a tapestry and a fugue : editorialSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 5 –17 (2014)More Less
The articles presented in this special edition of Image & Text may be likened to a fugue of contrapuntal voices expressed in textual modes and threaded around Jacques Derrida's (2009 ) theoretical maxim of "pointure". The notion of "pointure" arises from Derrida's essay, "Restitutions de la verite en pointure" ("Restitutions of the truth in pointing") in which he explores the discursive theme of the "inside" and "outside" of a text. Derrida (2009:301) uses the metaphor of "pointure" as it pertains to the registration hole made by the small iron blade used in printmaking to fix the page to be printed onto the tympan, and the opening and connecting (threading) function of the stitch present in shoemaking and glovemaking (Derrida cited in Payne 1993:228). The etymology of the term "fugue" can be traced to the Latin word "fuga" ("to chase"), indicated in the fugue musical form of one voice "chasing" another (Amati-Camperi 2009). If one were to consider the fugue as a polyphonic vocal form of expression in which voices "chase one another" through contrapuntal disambiguation (Smith 1996), its pointured equivalent might be the needlepoint (embroidered) tapestry, in which two-dimensional form is rendered through contrapuntal-type stitching and interweaving of coloured threads. Derived from the Latin "punctus contra punctum" (Smith 1996), meaning "point against point", the term "contrapuntal" would, in the case of the tapestry and fugue, refer to the interrelationship between the voices or stitches. While each individual voice or stitch is independent of the others, when combined, they become interdependent, reading with and against one another to form a polyphonic synthesis. Extending the similes of the fugue and tapestry to this collection of articles, this themed edition could be seen as representing a range of autonomous, yet (inter)textual voices (thoughts) that "pierce", "puncture", and "penetrate" the concept of "pointure", and are "stitched together", "threaded through", "cast onto", "spun around", "interlaced with", and "woven into" pointure as a central thematic.
Author Nicolas BourriaudSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 18 –33 (2014)More Less
It was in a small confined studio, situated off the courtyard of her Parisian apartment, where Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger was working at the time when I first met her. I was just 22 years old then, and was astounded by the fact that one could successfully manage the life of an artist and a psychoanalyst's practice. I was also impressed by the enormous range of her current work including the translation of texts by Jacques Lacan from French to Hebrew. In Paris at the end of the 1980s, her work could have only appeared as a meteorite; there was no trend whatsoever with which to associate it. It was, without a doubt, that aesthetic singularity that attracted me thus to her work. The following year, in 1988, the artist called on me to write for the catalogue of her exhibition at the Musée de Calais.
Trauma and fragilisation : Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger's artistic ethics, cultural memory, and post-apartheid South AfricaAuthor James SeySource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 34 –44 (2014)More Less
In this article, I argue that a consideration of South African art should have an ethical dimension, which takes into account the trauma of apartheid and the country's deep-lying legacy of race hate and discrimination. An example of how this can be achieved is provided by the work of artist, theorist and psychoanalyist, Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger. In both her artistic output and her psychoanalytic theory, Ettinger offers a model of ethically engaging with traumatic cultural memory through an encounter between artist, artwork and viewer. I use the recent example of vitriolic popular response to Brett Murray's artwork The Spear (2012) to illustrate the necessity of an ethical response to trauma in South Africa's case.
Author Brenda SchmahmannSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 45 –71 (2014)More Less
Made by the Keiskamma Art Project in Hamburg in the Eastern Cape, the Keiskamma Altarpiece (2005) speaks of a community negotiating the devastating impact of the HIV/AIDS virus. The work is modelled after the Isenheim Altarpiece (1512-1516), which was commissioned by the order of St Anthony to provide hope and comfort to victims of ergotism, a gangrenous skin condition, and which (prior to being disassembled) comprised two sets of folding wings with oil paintings by Matthias Grünewald and a central "shrine" with sculptures by Nikolaus Hagenauer. The Keiskamma Altarpiece substitutes the oil paint and limewood carvings of the Renaissance source with embroidery, beadwork and digital photographs.
In this article, I use the idea of "pointure" as the starting point for suggesting how the choice and treatment of materials in the Keiskamma Altarpiece might be read in associative terms. Drawing on the theories of Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger along with work by Norman Bryson, I also explore how the treatment of materials affects the ways in which the work may be comprehended, and propose that a series of visual devices are used which encourage the beholder to experience a sense of being invited into a nurturing milieu associated with a process of healing, which is orchestrated and managed by women.
Author Leora FarberSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 72 –92 (2014)More Less
Jacques Derrida's (2009 :301-315) metaphor of "pointure" forms a leitmotif in the final narrative series of the Dis-Location/Re-Location exhibition (2007-2008), titled A Room of Her Own (2006-2007). The metaphor of "pointure" itself is doubly-bound: although pointure-practices may be aligned with actions that connote mastery such as "penetrating", "piercing", "pricking", "puncturing" or "rupturing" a surface, their consequences also "point to" restitution: a conjoining of otherwise discreet elements through stitching, lace-making, binding, braiding and weaving type practices historically associated with femininity and domesticity.
In A Room of Her Own, conceptions of what I propose to be three pointure-type practices - the Victorian construct of needlework, the historically gendered nineteenth-century psychosomatic disorder of hysteria and the contemporary practice of self-mutilation through cutting - as signifiers of passive, self-negating "femininity" are subverted through redefinition as forms of agency. With reference to the ways in which these pointure-practices are played out in A Room of Her Own, and by aligning these practices with Julia Kristeva's (1995) concept of 'transgressive writing', I suggest that they can be read as empowering forms of preverbal, bodily-driven self-expression; a means of "giving voice" to unspoken traumas and speaking in the face of being silenced by nineteenth-century gendered discourses.
Author Jillian CarmanSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 93 –109 (2014)More Less
Florence Phillips (1863-1940), wife of Randlord Lionel Phillips, is remembered for founding the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG) in 1910. The British social activist Emily Hobhouse (1860-1925) is remembered for exposing conditions in the concentration camps for Boer women and children during the South African War (1899-1902). What is less well known is that social reconstruction initiatives using arts and crafts ideals devolved from the mother country, were started by both women in the post-war period, and that they both used lace as part of their plans. In this article, I explore the backgrounds of these two socially-diverse women, their differing perceptions of lace, and how they used lace to their own ends. Emily planned to use lace-making, along with spinning and weaving, to build up destitute farm communities by teaching handcrafts to young Boer women. Florence planned to start an educational museum with an affiliated art school, in which handcrafts like lace could serve as teaching examples. Emily's lace plans were short-lived. Florence failed to achieve an art school and her donation of lace was neglected in favour of Johannesburg Art Gallery's fine art collection. Towards the end of the twentieth century, however, its aesthetic worth began to be realised.
Author Alexandra KokoliSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 110 –129 (2014)More Less
In response to Rozsika Parker's (2010:xi-xxii) preoccupation with charting continuity and change in both the gendered meanings of craft and the work of women artists employing craft techniques and materials, in this article, I reflect on my experience of curating a retrospective exhibition of crochet and mixed media works by Su Richardson, a participant in the collaborative mail art (1975-1977) and installation project Feministo (various venues, including the ICA, 1977). Superficially,Richardson's domestic iconography has grown in mainstream popularity, as has the use of craft, yet the political, aesthetic and historical specificity of her oeuvre should not be misrecognised: these self-reflectively home-made objects stir the unconscious of domesticity, femininity and their mutual implication from decidedly feminist perspectives. Following Parker (2010:xxi), I argue that threads of influence and dialogue in textiles informed by feminism are often oblique, broken and unexpectedly tangled. If Richardson's retrospective aimed to forge links not only between past and contemporary feminisms but also with current DIY aesthetics and countercultural practices, contemporary artists working with textiles mine a wealth of cultural and artistic references, suggesting complex and transgressive webs of kinship. Bronwyn Platten's quilted homage to Mike Kelley, For more and more love hours (R.I.P. Mike Kelley 1954-2012) (1973-2013), is an example of a work in which such cultural and artistic references are brought to the fore. In it, Platten questions Faith Wilding's dismissal of his work as an abject reification of 'bad boy masculinity' (Wilding 2000:94), to propose feminist and gender-critical alliances across genders and generations.
Author Christine ChecinskaSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 130 –144 (2014)More Less
In this article, I take the photographic portraits of Maud Sulter and Chan-Hyo Bae as my point of departure to explore (i) the place of cloth in the refashioning of cultural, racial and gendered identities, and (ii) the use of cloth as a vehicle with which to challenge structures of power that render certain peoples, their histories and their cultural expressions invisible.
Staged at the Ben Uri Gallery, London, 2013, the exhibition Looking In juxtaposed the work of Sulter and Bae. The show featured seven photographs from Sulter's Zabat series (1989), depicting African and African diasporic women artists as the Greek Muses. This was contrasted against nine self-portraits from Bae's Existing in Costume series (2006-2013), which emerged from his migration to Great Britain from Korea in 2004. There are clear parallels between these artists' use of cloth. Both embrace masquerade as a subversive strategy; masking becomes an art of transformation that questions normalised assumptions about difference.
Punctured and stitched : Derrida's pointure and intertextual polyphony in dandyism meets Athi-Patra Ruga's Future White Women of AzaniaAuthor Mary CorrigallSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 145 –160 (2014)More Less
The "pointure" theme, as informed by Jacques Derrida's (2009 ) appropriation of this term, speaks not only of fusion but also of the interrelationship between two entities that are conjoined, though they may be in conflict with each other. This could be read as a form of intertextuality - Derrida's text is indebted to Martin Heidegger's essay, titled "The origin of painting" (2008 [1950, 1957, 1960]), though he works at critiquing and subverting its content. The process of intertextuality is one that informs dandyism, a mode of strategic dress where the wearer is forced to operate with an existing or dominant sartorial syntax. In this way, the dandy's mode echoes Derrida's proverbial "rereading" of Heidegger's text "against the grain". For this reason, dandyism is characterised as a product of what Sima Godfrey (1982:28) terms 'intertextual polyphony', involving a tricky renegotiation between a dominant sartorial syntax and a subversion of it. Athi-Patra Ruga's artistic practice evokes the dandyist mode; not only does he work with a sartorial vocabulary but pushes it to its logical limit, affecting a subversion thereof. However, is it possible to interweave a discourse between his performance works, dubbed The Future White Woman of Azania (2010-2013), the form of intertexual polyphony inherent to dandyism and the subject matter and mode of Derrida's text on pointure? Or will the form of definitional crisis attached to each of these ideas, bodies of work or texts prevent a smooth dialogue? Does the act of pointure that Derrida advances inherently bring about a definitional crisis?
Scars, beads, bodies : pointure and punctum in nineteenth-century "Zulu" beadwork and its photographic imagingAuthor Anitra NettletonSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 161 –185 (2014)More Less
In the nineteenth century, two imports to South Africa, beadwork and photography, were to impact on the ways in which people presented themselves to the gaze of others. Both required some forms of pointing and stitching, both within the things they constructed, and between the things they constructed and the bodies of those they made visible. Both were imported via colonial intrusion and were used to control the local population by visibly binding them to particular identities. At the same time local populations used these imports to reinforce their own identities and to speak back to the power of the colonists.
The first import, of glass beads to the east coast, resulted in a tradition of beadwork in a multitude of styles. I examine the ways in which beadwork can to be linked to isiZulu-speakers' scarification in the way it is tied to the body, worn and sometimes even stitched into the hair. I argue that these praxes talk of beadwork as a creation of a second level of skin and of a combined, layered set of meanings and identities.
The second import, photography, allowed the different manners of scarring and of wearing beadwork to be recorded over a long time span. By bringing together the indexical function of photography (via Barthes) to record identities, the pointing of the camera at the object to be fixed, the bodies, the scars and the beadwork and, I argue, following Jacques Derrida's (2009 ) notion of "pointure", that the photographs have been laced onto, and entangle irretrievably with, that which they supposedly "represent".
Author Ann-Marie TullySource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 186 –211 (2014)More Less
Elizabeth Wilson (2004:378) discusses the magical properties of textile media in relation to items of clothing, affect and perception. In this article, I take this enchanted sensibility further in a discussion of the strong confluence of stitched and woven (pointured) forms with horned animal mysticism, discussing the historical and contemporary beliefs surrounding horned animals in both western and African contexts in relation to, and as an influence on, the mysticism relating to pointured mediums.
I invoke Jacques Derrida's (2009 :301-315) critical term "pointure", which stems from the stitched practice of cobbling. Two sub-metaphors employed by Derrida (2009:302-307) in his extrapolation of this term bear weight in this context: his constitution of the word "lace" (derived from the shoe lace), and his perception of a haunting implicit in the relation of the original shoes, to the painted shoes, to the viewer. Following this looped notion of lacing and haunting, I argue that the vacuum made by the stitch is a haunted site invested with themes and experiences of human frailty and desire; filled precipitously by the yarn, a wished for end is sympathetically effected.
Author Jane TaylorSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 212 –229 (2014)More Less
Jacques Derrida's (2000 ) meditation on "inside and outside" in his paper "Restitutions of the truth in pointing (Pointure)", and his reflections on "the frame" in his paper "The parergon" (1979), are brought together here in a consideration of representations of the Trinity. The conception of the three-personed god was at the centre of theological dispute in the early modern era, and the aesthetic traditions play a major part in constituting an icon that has allowed the Trinity to be a founding principle of Christian belief, despite all of its contradictions.
See Kayamandi, See Yourself â?? Social Responsibility and Citizenship Project for Visual Communication Design : book reviewAuthor Fatima CassimSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 23, pp 230 –234 (2014)More Less
There is currently an increased emphasis on social responsibility and the role of community engagement within higher education, both nationally and internationally. In light of this, universities throughout South Africa are encouraging individual departments to be more proactive in introducing research and curricula-related community engagement modules into undergraduate courses. Traditionally, owing to the nature of training for some service professions, such as the Health Sciences for example, it is easier to initiate and implement such modules into the curriculum as they lend themselves well to interaction with a community. As a lecturer at a Visual Arts department myself, I can affirm that it is quite challenging to implement a formal community engagement module, particularly for Visual Communication Design. Considering this, the book, See Kayamandi, See Yourself â?? Social Responsibility and Citizenship Project for Visual Communication Design, even before being reviewed in more detail, is already significant.