Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Volume 26, Issue 1, 2015
Volumes & issues
Volume 26, Issue 1, 2015
Author Jeanne Van EedenSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 5 –7 (2015)More Less
The previous issue of Image & Text was dedicated to two thematic clusters, namely visual and textual inscriptions of Pretoria and 'blindspots and ways of not seeing'. Number 26 is again an open issue that features current research by researchers from four South African tertiary institutions. In keeping with the expanded scope of the journal, the six articles deal with a variety of topics in various fields related to visual culture. Three articles deal with aspects of South African architecture,soap opera and fashion, whereas two others deal with broader generic issues related to design. The last article presents a discursive examination of a body of poetry by Ursula K le Guin and their interface with photographs by Roger Dorband. As in many other fields, the issue of identity and how it informs visual culture continues to inflect a number of the articles, as does the notion of spatiality, as well as the transformed/ing context of post-apartheid South Africa. In addition to the research articles, there are two book reviews and one conference report. Although the articles may appear divergent, they have many commonalities in terms of the examination of visual culture and visuality in contemporary culture.
Author Deirdre ByrneSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 8 –26 (2015)More Less
Ursula K Le Guin's writing, in poetry, fiction and expository prose, displays a carefully nuanced response to space and place. In many of her narratives, the protagonist journeys to a distant realm and then returns home via a complicated route, thus following a conventional quest structure. The theme of home - the place where one is welcome and at ease - is recomplicated, I suggest, in her later writings. In Always coming home, the "home" posited by the title is located, not in any definable place or time, but within a holistic appreciation for the interconnection of natural phenomena. In her later works, Blue moon over Thurman Street and Out here: poems and images from Steens Mountain Country, Le Guin and her collaborator, photographer Roger Dorband, take the interrogation of "home" still further until the volumes become intensive investigations of mutability and duration as well as familiarity and dislocation. Through Le Guin's characteristic propensity for balance and equipoise, these volumes lead the reader to new understandings of self, place and (un)belonging.
Source: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 27 –47 (2015)More Less
Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa and is located within the City of Tshwane in the Gauteng Province. The city's Central Business District (CBD) is characterised by a network of arcades and walkways that cut through the long and deep city blocks. In this article, we discuss arcades as urban interiors and the potential of these spaces to become points of social interaction within a transformed city context. We reflect on the original purpose of the arcade and based on criteria derived from a literature review, we critically assess the current use of three arcades and describe challenges experienced in the functioning of these spaces. The design of the building edges that link the interiors to the adjacent arcade space are revisited as a design element that has the potential to reactivate the arcades as urban interiors. Guidelines for improving the city dwellers and daily commuters' experience and use of these spaces as urban interiors are formulated and discussed. These guidelines, although formulated within a South African context, are relative to any urban interior within a city that has lost its sense of place and that needs to be reactivated through the treatment of its surrounding buildings' edges.
Author Raymund KonigkSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 48 –65 (2015)More Less
The cultural role of the interior artefact, through the representation and interpretation of meaning, is considered in this article. This follows Umberto Eco's moderate hypothesis of culture in which all cultural phenomena can be studied as contents of a semiotic activity and in accordance with Jeff Lewis's construct of culture as a collection of meanings. The 'interior artefact' that is considered here is the physical manifestation of interior design as a professional practice in the built environment and not a general product of human activity. It is assumed that successful interior artefacts are dependent on the generation of meaningful images and their appropriate spatial interpretation. The interior artefact is a material artefact that creates and communicates meaning; it offers the framework for situated meaning and is the result of that meaning. The interior artefact is the spatial embodiment of the visual identity imagined by the interior designer on behalf of the client. In this context, interior design is considered as a cultural activity with importance for human development, which includes the utilisation and development of identity. The article considers identity to involve more complexity than merely expressing categories of belonging (such as race and gender). In interior design the generation and interpretation of meaning is dependent on the visual presence of cultural discourses; the article concludes with a brief discussion of some of these.
Author Duncan ReyburnSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 66 –91 (2015)More Less
This article explores the way that design ought to be narrated and legitimated within the context of the South African design industry. Special attention is given to the presence of disavowal in the design process, when clients commission designers to effect change for them, yet second-guess, mistrust, and scrutinise the proposed design solutions. Our grappling with this problem is done with reference to Nelson and Stolterman's concept of the 'guarantor of design' org.o.d. and the contexts and considerations that affect how this g.o.d. is selected, constructed, and deployed. Both practical and ideological factors are negotiated as ways to understand these contexts and considerations, and, thereafter, the significance of empathy is highlighted as a means to tackle the various disjunctions that tend to arise in the scripting of the drama of design.
We were looking for our men in the faces of stars : soap opera and Afrikaner masculinities in Egoli : place of goldAuthor Francois JonkerSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 92 –110 (2015)More Less
This article examines the representation of masculinities in selected episodes from the soap opera Egoli: place of gold, aired in 1994. This specific moment in South African media history is characterised by a heightened sense of anticipation surrounding Egoli as the first local long-running soap opera developed for the relatively new - and only - independent broadcaster in the country, M-Net. Because of this genre's reliance on perceived realism, Egoli offers a historically significant televisual mediation of the widespread social and political changes that mark this particular period. This article, however, diverges from the wealth of research on soap opera as a so-called women's genre and approaches Egoli with a keen interest in the programme's negotiation of masculinities. The article's analysis centres on two particular white, Afrikaans male characters: Dr Walt Vorster (portrayed by well-respected opera icon Gé Korsten) and Doug Durand (portrayed by the controversial 'bad-boy' rock star Steve Hofmeyr), and examines how Egolideals with the immanent destabilising of Afrikaner patriarchy at that historical juncture. The article furthermore examines these characters through the notion of celebrity-inter-textuality. The author identifies Egoli as the pioneer of casting celebrities as soap opera characters and turning soap opera actors into stars - a trend which has become characteristic of the South African soap opera genre.
Author Leora FarberSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 111 –136 (2015)More Less
In this article, I examine emergent performances of fashion(able) and fashion(ed) black masculine identities manifest in work by selected young fashion designers and design collectives currently practicing in the urban environs of Johannesburg. These vibrant, dynamic, youth-orientated forms of cultural practice encompassa range of transnational, transhistorical, transcultural, black masculine identities. I contend that such identities are achieved through use of "hypersampling": theremixing, re-appropriating, reintegrating, fusing, conjoining, interfacing and mashing-up of often disparate elements gleaned from a multiplicity of sources to produce new fashion styles.
Many of these practitioners' work can be said to include characteristics of "black dandyism" - appropriations of dandyesque dress and fashionable display as a means of performing black diasporic masculinities. Focusing on the work of two Johannesburg-based design collectives, Khumbula and the Sartists, I show how, through hyper sampling strategies, both look back to the past, consuming, hyper sampling and re-cycling images from Southern and South African history. Both deploy transhistorical and transcultural referents as a means of subversive resistance: a mechanism through which to negotiate, problematise or disrupt prevailing power relations embedded within them, whilst also operating as a form of creative agency through which to express shifting notions of black masculinities in the context of the African metropolis of Johannesburg.
Constructure : 100 years of the JAG building and its evolution of space and meaning, Murinik T. : book reviewAuthor Jacques LangeSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 137 –147 (2015)More Less
One of the most topical debates in South Africa is the country's colonial past and specifically, the relevance of its colonial memorials, monuments, and institutions. One such institution is the Johannesburg Art Gallery (JAG), which in 2010 celebrated the centenary of its Foundation Collection and in 2015, celebrated the centenary of its original Edwin Lutyens-designed building.
Author Rory Du PlessisSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 148 –152 (2015)More Less
In her book, Impossible mourning, Kylie Thomas argues that although HIV/AIDS has been established as a central public discourse in South Africa during the last decade, the experiences of people living with HIV/AIDS remain largely invisible. Moreover, the manifold losses, sorrows and deaths owing to AIDS are publicly unmourned. For Thomas (2014:9), the failure to mourn the '1,000 people who die of AIDS in South Africa each day' testifies to the fact that their lives were 'as invisible within public memory as their deaths'. As a significant resource to contest such forms, acts and discourses of invisibility, Thomas explores a number of artworks produced by visual artists. Accordingly, the 'book makes an argument for how visual forms of representation can allow for powerful, evocative and transformative modes of engagement with traumatic experience' (Thomas 2014:5). An exemplary feature of Thomas's argument is a discerning, sharp and sensitive awareness of the complexity of visual forms of representation. Thus while the book engages with a number of artworks to explore mourning and trauma, it is equally concerned with how people with HIV/AIDS are represented.
Author Anneli BowieSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 26, pp 153 –156 (2015)More Less
The sixth biannual Nordes (Nordic Design Research) Conference was held 7 to 10 June 2015 at Konstfack in Stockholm, Sweden. The intriguing theme, Design ecologies: challenging anthropocentrism in the design of sustainable futures, along with an impressive keynote line-up, attracted a surprising number of scholars from around the globe.