Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Volume 24, Issue 1, 2014
Volumes & issues
Volume 24, Issue 1, 2014
Source: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 5 –7 (2014)More Less
The previous bumper issue of Image & Text was dedicated to thematic concerns regarding 'pointure' in visual culture. Number 24 is again an open issue that features current research from researchers in Gauteng and the Western Cape. In keeping with the wider ambit of the journal, the five articles reflect a diversity of current topics in various fields related to visual culture. A strong thematic link in this issue is the ever-popular topic of identity and its various manifestations in post-apartheid South Africa, and particularly the manner in which it is constantly embodied and enacted in various spatial contexts. Current methodologies such as practice-led artistic research also feature and reflect new ways in which artist-scholars are grappling with the interface between theory and practice. In addition to the research articles, there are two book reviews and two conference reports that reflect some of the current trajectories in scholarship. As always, the articles may appear divergent, yet they have many commonalities in terms of the interrogation of visual culture and visuality in contemporary culture.
Sacrificial bodies as corporeal articulations of violence in the work of South African female artistsAuthor Leana Van der MerweSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 8 –30 (2014)More Less
This article investigates the multiple occurrence of the sacrificial body as a visual device employed by female South African artists against a backdrop of gender-based violence and patriarchal discourse. The theories of René Girard (1972), George Bataille (1962) and Julia Kristeva (1982) are used to scrutinise this phenomenon, specifically with regard to the relationship of sacrifice with suicide, murder and martyrdom. It is shown how the sacrificial device is used by female artists as a feminist intervention through the dismantling of Cartesian dualisms and how visual art actively works as social action in this regard.
Source: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 31 –54 (2014)More Less
Designing in-between is an artistic research project that sprouted from curiosity regarding how the concept of space, characterised by difference, is perceived in an area of Stellenbosch, South Africa. Participants included six inhabitants of Jamestown, including the primary researcher. Data was collected through tracking each participant with Global Positioning System (GPS) and photographic material, in-depth discussions, the drawing of mental maps, and the construction of written and visual translations of the research process by researcher/s. The project is informed by critical theory and complexity thinking within the field of visual art and artistic research. An over-arching poststructuralist sensibility that values the power of representational practice in constructing and deconstructing knowledge is implied.
In this article the authors aim to critically reflect and elaborate on the research processes engaged in, on the personal insights the research led to, and on the potential implications of the research for scholars working with artistic research in a South African context. Artistic praxis allowed for multi-dimensional experience and multi-perspectival translation of relations between aspects of complex reality. Such openness provided researchers with imaginative possibilities for continuous negotiation of difference. It facilitated experiences of Homi Bhabha's Third Space, which facilitated transformative learning. Difficulty in translating newfound insights into clear, intelligible arguments was a challenge.
Ironies, Others, and Afrikaners : an analysis of selected print advertisements from DEKAT and Insig (1994-2009)Author Theo SonnekusSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 55 –78 (2014)More Less
The widespread contention is that the major social and political changes propelled by South Africa's democratisation have sensitised some white Afrikaners to perceptions of loss and marginalisation. Their feelings of anomie and dislocation have been compounded by competing discourses of Afro-nationalism, which have delegitimised Afrikaner whiteness because of its inextricable links with apartheid. As a result, reactionary discourses have emerged to temper the threat of stigmatisation, and hinge on aspirations towards hybridisation and modernisation in the process of constructing "rehabilitated" Afrikaner identities. This article focuses on the manner in which particular discursive strategies, such as irony, are conducive to these processes of identity-work and manifest in a number of print advertisements that seem to appeal to the sensibilities of liberal, white, Afrikaans, upwardly mobile consumers. The advertisements have been obtained from two elite Afrikaans lifestyle magazines, DEKAT and Insig (Insight), for a period of 15 years following the collapse of the apartheid regime. The analyses of these images speculate on the extent to which they propagate a particular vision of Afrikaner whiteness, which is reconcilable with the post-apartheid landscape and an ethos of multiculturalism. This exploration, however, also critiques these emphases on non-racialism and the depoliticisation of ethnic markers such as Afrikaans as guarantees for the continued mobilisation of white Afrikaner capital (in economic and symbolic guises).
"Our Caster" and "The Blade Runner" : 'improper' corporealities cripqueering the post/apartheid body politicAuthor Benita De RobillardSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 79 –115 (2014)More Less
Caster Semenya and Oscar Pistorius were each selected to carry the South African national flag at the ceremonies marking the opening and closing of the London 2012 Olympic Games. Through this spectacle their individual bodies both represented, and somatechnically enfleshed, the post/apartheid body politic. Semenya and Pistorius are globally recognisable and influential figures who inhabit, respectively, sex/gender variant and dis/abled bodies. Popular discourses about, and representations of, their bodies are characterised by a metaphoricity of bodily integrity. This metaphorical structure is predicated upon, and seeks to (re)secure, an assumption of compulsory somatic integrity. Numerous scholars, Jessica Cadwallader and Nikki Sullivan among them, have demonstrated how these ideas about corporeal integrity also condition metaphors of the body politic. Drawing on insights gleaned from somatechnics and crip theory I argue that Semenya's and Pistorius' bodies form an assemblage on the one hand, and explore how this assemblage is connected to the post/apartheid body politic on the other. In doing so I explain how a form of corporeal nationalism works with, and through, the athletes' bodies to ensure that bodily integrity is a precondition for entry into the body politic. I further speculate on how the Semenya/Pistorius assemblage resists this manoeuvre by indexing an alternative metaphoricity of embodiment that cripqueers an idea(l) of the post/apartheid body politic.
Reconfiguring the contagion : a Girardian reading of the zombie apocalypse as a plea for a politics of weaknessAuthor Duncan ReyburnSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 116 –154 (2014)More Less
This paper explores the mimetic patterns found in a selection of zombie films with reference to the philosophy of René Girard. To begin with, it argues that the zombie apocalypse, rather than only representing a future upheaval of society is also apocalyptical in the literary and theological sense; this it to say that it represents present social conditions by taking a very particular stance on the trajectory of human history. This article describes how the zombie contagion can be read as a symbol of what Girard calls 'mimetic desire'. Thereafter, it deals with the way in which this contagion of desire, through the hegemony of mimetic undifferentiation, results in the escalation of reciprocal violence in a global society. Finally, it highlights specific plot points in recent zombie cinema that suggest the possibility of curing this reciprocal violence in such a way as to imply the necessity of a politics of weakness.
Author Chris BroodrykSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 155 –157 (2014)More Less
The renowned and prolific Thomas Elsaesser has published extensively on film history and theory, from studies of German cinema (silent German cinema, New German Cinema, the cinema of the Weimar republic, German auteurs) to the operation of postmodernism as mourning work. Such is the range of Elsaesser's scholarship that to refer to him as a film historian would be utterly restrictive for a film scholar who recently delivered an incisive introduction to Bela Tarr's apocalyptic masterpiece The Turin horse and has developed an intriguing line of thought around post-heroic narratives. Rather, Elsaesser is a media archaeologist par excellence, a prolific writer on German cinema, American cinema, silent cinema and cinema technologies.
Potent pastimes. Sport and leisure practices in modern Afrikaner history, Albert Grundlingh : book reviewSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 158 –161 (2014)More Less
There is no shortage of books in South Africa that deal with sport, its history and its place in society. Equally prominent are books that document the demise of apartheid, the rise of democracy, identity politics, and the construction of South African nationhood in various eras. More infrequent, however, are books that deal critically with leisure and sport as key components of identity construction of a specific ethnic grouping, possibly because this could be seen as an essentialist or deterministic explanation of taste or aptitude. Albert Grundlingh, Head of the History Department at Stellenbosch University, negotiates a competent course between these traps and delivers a useful addition to the field. He combines (social) history with cultural studies and the sociology of sport to explore a variety of sport and leisure practices and their alignment with Afrikaner cultural and political aspirations from the 1930s onwards. By incorporating a cultural studies approach, Grundlingh is able to show that even less 'serious' undertakings in society reveal the operations of ideology and so-called 'deep politics'. In particular, the fact that these sport and leisure practices are embodied, makes them apt for an examination of some of the different ways in which a nationalist ideology can be asserted and enacted in society.
Author Martine Van der Walt EhlersSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 162 –165 (2014)More Less
The South African photographer and self-described 'visual activist' Zanele Muholi has been gaining recognition across the globe since presenting her first exhibition, Visual Sexuality, in 2004 at the Johannesburg Art Gallery. Since then, Muholi's work has featured in numerous exhibitions including the 29th São Paulo Biennial in Brazil (2010); Figures and Fictions: Contemporary South African photography at the V&A Museum in London (2011) and Lesbians Seeing Lesbians at the Leslie/Lohman Gallery in New York (2011). In 2014, Muholi had two solo exhibitions, one at the EinsteinHaus in Ulm, Germany (18 September - 25 October) and the other at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto that coincided with WorldPride 2014 (18 June - 24 August). Furthermore, her work was featured in no less than six group exhibitions in 2014, including Where We're At!: Other Voices on Gender at the Bozar / Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels (17 June - 31 August); Contemporary Art / South Africa at Yale University Art Gallery (9 May - 14 September); Worldwide Africa: Fashioning Personhood at Minneapolis Institute of Arts and From Sitting to Selfie: 300 Years of South African Portraits at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg (24 June - 6 September).
Author Fatima CassimSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 24, pp 166 –169 (2014)More Less
In October 2011, following a successful bid, the city of Cape Town was designated as the World Design Capital (WDC) for 2014. This designation is awarded biennially by the International Council for Societies of Industrial Design (ICSID). The WDC initiative began as an attempt to motivate cities to consider design as a strategic development tool. More specifically, the initiative encourages cities to showcase their existing investment in design, nurture the creative industries and promote additional design-related activities and initiatives for social, economic and cultural development. Within design discourse it is evident that design is increasingly being considered for innovation purposes, both on a corporate as well as a social level. This social stance is evident in Cape Town's chosen theme for the year, namely Live Design. Transform Life.