Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Volume 25, Issue 1, 2015
Volumes & issues
Volume 25, Issue 1, 2015
Author Lize KrielSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 5 –7 (2015)More Less
The articles featured in this themed section of Image & Text resulted from a one day workshop with this title, held at the University of Pretoria on 8 May 2014. The event was a collaboration between two initiatives : The then recently launched Andrew W Mellon Foundation-funded Capital Cities Institutional Research Theme of the University of Pretoria, and a markedly loosely-constituted (yet remarkably prolific) decade-old conception which those who freely associate with it, like to call the South African Book History Group.
Author Elri LiebenbergSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 8 –43 (2015)More Less
This paper deals with the cartographical portrayal of Pretoria and its environs over the past 150 years. Apart from showing the evolution and growth of the settlement, attention is given to the fact that maps of the same place, mapped at different times by different people under different circumstances, often communicate different messages or signals to their readers. The latter refers to the style of the map which could, in some cases, convince the map user that the map is accurate, objective and value-free. In other cases, the map could be interpreted as a cultural symbol which communicates the underlying values, attitudes and principles on which the society responsible for producing the map is founded.
Author Jeanne Van EedenSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 44 –85 (2015)More Less
White settlement in the Pretoria region started in 1855, and this small market town on the periphery of the British Empire played an increasingly important role in South African politics as the capital of the Transvaal Republic and then as the administrative capital of the entire country after 1910. As the site of significant structures such as the Union Buildings and the Voortrekker Monument, for many years Pretoria symbolised apartheid rule and bureaucracy. Pretoria has therefore generally been seen as a conservative seat of power with strong Afrikaner affiliations. Moreover, although it housed many significant industries such as Iscor, Pretoria never attained the status of industry and commerce usually accorded Johannesburg. This article investigates some of the ways in which Pretoria was represented as both the attractive 'Jacaranda city' and as the seat of monolithic power and government in the pre-1994 years. Postcards are commonly produced for tourists and the so-called leisure class, but also serve to foster civic pride and ownership for the residents of cities. Postcards have helped to construct Pretoria's identity by means of practices of representation than either select and showcase, or ignore and elide certain aspects of the city and its peoples. Despite small shifts in the visual language by which Pretoria has been represented, many post-apartheid postcards perpetuate the clichés and fail to reflect the 'reality' of the city.
Author Elizabeth Le RouxSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 86 –109 (2015)More Less
Print culture came to South Africa with the Dutch East India Company, followed by the British colonisers. This influence persisted after colonisation officially ended, with the Union of South Africa in 1910. Many early publishers and booksellers were immigrants, especially Dutch immigrants. While the settlers were Dutch, many lent their support to Afrikaner nationalist causes. This article considers the implications of the colonial influence for the development of South African print culture, using a case study of Van Schaik Publishers, which was founded by a Dutch Immigrant, JL van Schaik, in 1914. Attention is paid to the question of how this early publisher saw its role in developing an 'imagined community' that engaged both with the culture of the coloniser and that of the developing settler colony. It is argued that Van Schaik played a significant role in the development of Afrikaans publishing, but little scholarly attention has been paid to his publishing philosophy and strategy.
Source: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 110 –141 (2015)More Less
This article explores how the study of the linguistic landscape (LL), which is to say the texts visible in public space, allows for a rich and complex understanding of place. More specifically, the article studies the Bosman neighbourhood in Pretoria through a geosemiotic lens. Geosemiotics situates signs in the material world, approaching them as actualisations of a multimodal social semiotic and as a site of encounter of the cycles of habitus, interaction, place semiotics and visual analysis. Walking is adopted as a research methodology, a means of reading the city and also a praxeology with which to constitute place. Aspects of LL that are considered here are reading path, change over time, materials used, represented participants and local and global production. Themes discussed are the habitus of receivers and producers expressed in the LL and mediated practices such as literacy. Language domination, the differentiation in LL according to power and temporality, informal and transgressive texts and the narratives and lives of producers and receivers are also introduced. Bosman emerges as a site of entanglement where origins, aspiration, intimacy and vulnerability merge in unexpected ways.
Author Karin Van MarleSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 142 –160 (2015)More Less
This article is a reflection on how Pretoria as a political, social and cultural space could be re-envisioned post-apartheid. The angle of approach is critical, general jurisprudence as advocated by Douzinas and Gearey (2005), with an emphasis on law's consciousness, its conscience, and its justice. The reflection takes place against the framework of spatiality, spatial justice and the notion of genius loci, spirit or sense of place. Using John Hyslop's discussion on the Afro-modern Mandela in Johannesburg as point of departure, a discussion on Mandela in/and Pretoria follows, with specific reference to the Treason Trial staged in the Old Synagogue between 1958 and 1961 and the Rivonia Trial played out in the Palace of Justice on Church Square in 1964. The question is asked how the influence of Johannesburg as metropolis differs from the influence of Pretoria as centre of nationalism, bureaucracy and governmentality. Another, more recent, Pretoria trial, on the Schubart Park evictions, is invoked.Linking up with Sarah Nuttall's musing on the 'Johannesburg text', it is stated that, in the same vein, the Pretoria text, as a certain instantiation of the law scape, is still finding its form.
Author Rita BarnardSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 161 –174 (2015)More Less
This essay starts out with a reflection on a 1996 advertisement for Pretoria, featuring twelve images of Nelson Mandela in different costumes, each representing a tourist site or leisure activity in the city. It goes on to argue, however, that the pleasurable 'seeing Pretoria with new eyes' the advertisement touts is not all that is required fora new interdisciplinary scholarly account of the city's history : we need to consider the complexities, or even confusions at stake in apartheid-era Pretoria, a city that was-like apartheid itself-both aggressively modern and retrograde. As an instigation for further scholarship, the essay offers some reflections on Pretoria's built environment and, drawing on the work of memory, suggests what it was like for a young person to navigate the disconcerting-almost uncanny-nature of the city in the years right before the Soweto uprising
Source: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 175 –191 (2015)More Less
In a flash the spot will disappear, and in its place - and this is the interesting thing - there is nothing. According to experimental psychology, the eye does not fill in the blind spot, but tricks us into thinking that it has been filled. The blind spot is pure absence of vision, and cannot be experienced at all. The blind spot is an invisible absence : an absence whose invisibility is itself invisible (Elkins 1996 : 170).
Guarded visions : walls, watchtowers and warped perspectives in the Israeli occupied West Bank Palestinian territoryAuthor Rachel BaaschSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 192 –216 (2015)More Less
This paper examines the relationship between Israel's fortification of physical space and narratives of division in the Israeli occupied Palestinian West Bank Territory. I argue that the fortification and separation of physical space deepens segregation, and increases fear, hostility and disconnection between people living in this context. Furthermore, I suggest that this relationship between narratives of division and insecurity and structural mechanisms of control within the West Bank influences and impacts on individuals such that personal perspectives become guarded and defensive. The mediation of subjects through a defensive lens can prevent individuals from forming connections that acknowledge the permeability of seemingly impenetrable distinctions between inside and outside, or self and an-other. The looking, recording and representation of people in a place that is guarded and framed from a position of insecurity reduces the capacity of individuals to locate openings that traverse restrictive boundaries. In order to contextualise my discussion, I have included personal documentation of defensive structures photographed in the West Bank between 2013 and 2014. I position my observations and analyses in relation to discussions about the Oush Grab Military Base presented by the Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency (DAAR) in their recent publication Architecture after revolution (2013).
Evasive manoeuvres : participatory theatre in the facilitation of counter-disciplinary action/inaction in a South African female correctional centreAuthor Miranda Young JahangeerSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 217 –237 (2015)More Less
Over the past fourteen years in my capacity as facilitator of popular participatory theatre interventions (PPT) (Freire 1970; Mda 1993) in the Westville Female Correctional Centre, I have observed how this form has been able to transform the panoptic agenda (Foucault 1977) of the prototypical prison space into a dialogic space able to transcend space/time physicalities (Massey 1993). This paper theoretically explores how, in some instances, these interventions were able to invert the panopticon and thus divert the 'disciplinary gaze' (Foucault 1977 : 174) for the renegotiation of power. I propose that, through their form and intention as 'rehearsal for change' (Boal 1979), the interventions were able to extend the gaze beyond the prison walls, symbolically and momentarily dissolving them. I argue that this, coupled with the popular tactic of 'evasion' (Fiske 1989), which the interventions also enabled, created the opportunity for counter-disciplinary operations which facilitated degrees of personal and institutional change.
Author Jennifer BallSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 238 –260 (2015)More Less
Igshaan Adams is a young artist from Cape Town, working in multimedia and performance. In his practice, Adams brings ways of seeing and also ways of being into consideration through meditations on objects, dreams, Sufism, family relationships and the changeability of self-hood through perception of these phenomena. This paper engages with Adams' affinity with objects, their agency and biography,and considers how his sensitive interventions alter their materiality, shifting the ways in which they can be seen. The ways in which Adams' family relationships play out in the processes of making his sculptural works, and also in his performances, are then elucidated and related to his ongoing processes of self-enquiry. Furthermore, I consider Adams' latest body of work, a critical enquiry into the variable meanings of Rorschach inkblots. Adams reflects on the grounds for inkblot testing and, in so doing, tests and measures the nature of looking, perceiving and projecting.
What "global art" and current (re)turns fail to see : a modest counter-narrative of "not-another-biennial"Source: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 261 –286 (2015)More Less
What is the scope of "global art" and who drives its framing within the current climate of 'corporate globalization' (Demos 2009 : 7, emphasis in original)? In what ways do the recent global turn and curatorial turn underwrite meaningful global inclusivity and visibility, and to what degree does this globally shared art constitute mutuality? Does "global art", including the accompanying process of biennialisation, allow for local narratives in a way that seriously accounts for a geopolitical view of contemporary art in the twenty-first century? While the inclusion of "new art worlds" in what Belting, Buddensieg and Weibel (2013) term "global art" is framed as a democratisation of contemporary art and the demise of the western art canon, it is important to raise questions regarding the blind spots of this supposedly global, post-1989 expansion. In this article I analyse the current discourse of "global art" as articulated in The global contemporary and the rise of new art worlds (Belting, Buddensieg & Weibel 2013), focusing on its origin, transcription, mapping, consumption and ultimately, Isuggest, its emergence as a function of privilege. Challenging the charting of supposedly new art regions (Belting et al. 2013 : 100), which "writes-out" local narratives and counter-narratives, I argue for a logic of subtraction in place of a logic of addition. While the latter triumphantly implies that "new" art worlds have been added to the dominant core, the former is useful to a geopolitical perspective that strips away normative vision and actively seeks that which people often fail to see. In this paper I analyse the work of CAPE Africa Platform in South Africa, which, while briefly and erroneously used as "evidence" of biennialisation and global expansion in The global contemporary, was locally referred to as "not-another-biennial". Discussing what some see as the shortcomings of the Cape 07 and Cape 09 exhibitions, I propose a reconsideration of measures of "success" and "failure", suggesting that an embrace of "failure" can enable new ways of seeing the privilege of the contemporary art world. It is only when blanks, failures and things presumed not to exist are carefully regarded, that the goal of achieving mutually shared art on a global scale might become possible. Only then does it become apparent that the global south can have a certain edge over what is viewed as the prevailing art world.
Author Landi RaubenheimerSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 287 –291 (2015)More Less
This book, edited by British art historian Kathryn Brown and published by Tauris, is a collection of essays discussing the very topical concept of participation in contemporary art. With the theories of Nicholas Bourriaud (2002) becoming relevant and indeed prevalent in the late 1990s and subsequently in current art making practices, it is a fitting time for a book such as this to review and problematise different aspects of the concept and its various embodiments in art during the last two decades. The contributors to this volume include theorists, artists and curators, and the book presents their differing interpretations of participation as a strategy employed in and in response to contemporary art and its institutional forms. The notion of which artworks could be understood as participatory or interactive also varies from discussion of artworks that are completely reliant on audience participation, to those that only represent an artistic process put on display.
Author Rory Du PlessisSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 292 –296 (2015)More Less
The Research Centre, Visual Identities in Art and Design (VIAD) in the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture (FADA) at the University of Johannesburg has since its inception convened a number of notable conferences that have invigorated academic debates and stimulated new avenues for research and enquiry. VIADUCT 2015, titled 'Archival addresses : photographies, practices, positionalities' continues in the VIAD trajectory by having presented a platform for significant and substantial explorations of 'the complexities of contemporary archival practices, and how these play out using lens-based and new media technologies' (VIADUCT 2015 : 1).
Between democrracies 1994-2014. Remembering, narrating and reimagining the past in Eastern and Central Europe and South Africa : conference reportSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 25, pp 297 –303 (2015)More Less
On the generous invitation of conference organiser Dr Judy Peter, two staff members and three students from the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Pretoria were privileged to attend this conference on remembering in Eastern and Central Europe and South Africa, held at the University of Johannesburg from 13 to 15 March 2015. The conference represented a remarkable collaboration between scholars from and /or scholars working on these two not-so often compared or juxtaposed parts of the world. The reason for Dr Peter bringing Eastern/Central European and South African memories, monuments, memorials, public histories and art into a single scope, is the trajectory shared by both regions of having become democratic only after the end of the Cold War, hence the dates: 1989-2014.