Image & Text : a Journal for Design - latest Issue
Volumes & issues
Volume 27, Issue 1, 2016
Author Jeanne Van EedenSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 27, pp 4 –6 (2016)More Less
The first issue of Image & Text for 2016 is an open issue and contains five articles that deal with current work by researchers from a number of South African tertiary institutions. Four articles deal with fine art from various critical stances, including public art, performance art, monuments and counter-monuments, and an investigation of 'the curatorial'. The last article deals with gender identity in a contemporary video game. In addition to the research articles, there is a book review of Victor Margolin's massive two-volume World history of design. This is followed by two conference reports from international conferences held in Amsterdam and Dublin. As always, there are common areas between the articles, and in this issue five of the authors are upcoming researchers; this aligns with Image & Text's vision of encouraging and nurturing younger voices.
Source: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 27, pp 7 –27 (2016)More Less
Video games play a significant role in promulgating dualistic gender roles and prescribing sexual identities. Situated within the broad theoretical framework of post-feminism, this explorative study analyses the distinctive articulation of masculinity in the post-apocalyptic video game, The last of us (2013 Naughty Dog). While it has been argued that video games are still firmly rooted in a distinctively patriarchal version of hegemonic masculinity and its attendant association with competition, domination, and aggression, we investigate the emergence of a different representation of a male protagonist as morally complex, intuitive, and emotional. In an attempt to gain a better understanding of this transformed representation of masculinity, we explore the ways in which disillusionment with patriarchal masculine values becomes evident in the post-apocalyptic setting of The last of us. We investigate the implications of this transformation of traditional heroic masculinity in video games for the negotiation of male identities in this sphere of visual culture.
Lessons in retrospect : a McLuhan reading of the controversy surrounding Michael Elion's Perceiving freedom (2014)Author Storm Jade BrownSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 27, pp 28 –53 (2016)More Less
This article explores the convoluted debate and spaces of intersection between Michael Elion's recent public art installation, Perceiving freedom (2014) and its subsequent defacement by The Tokolos Stencil Collective. This article employs the media-orientated lens of Marshall McLuhan's work Understanding media (1964). The application of McLuhan's work in present-day Cape Town allows for a more dialogical understanding, and sheds light on why Elion's work was controversial even before it had any meaning attached to it. This 'technique of insight ... is necessary for media study, since no medium has its meaning or existence alone, but only in constant interplay with other media' (McLuhan 1964:26). This article considers the contention around Perceiving freedom both before and after the 'attack', in order to better understand the dynamics at play. Lastly, McLuhan's ideas are used as a lens through which to understand the dialogical, yet unseen, forces at play.
Author Larita EngelbrechtSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 27, pp 54 –74 (2016)More Less
South African performance artist Steven Cohen's film Golgotha (2007-2009) is investigated with reference to twentieth-century French theorist Georges Bataille's philosophical enquiry into the notion of expenditure as a critique of capitalism. This article examines the representation of excess in relation to the body, and makes specific reference to Cohen's use of real human skulls as shoes as a cultural critique of capitalism. Bataille's notion of expenditure, as it is developed in the first volume of The accursed share (1949), centres on the concept of excess: A society, he argues, reveals its structure most clearly in its treatment of its surplus energy. Bataille's analysis of the necessity for luxury, on the one hand, and expenditure and sacrifice, on the other, is of particular relevance. With his performance in Golgotha, Cohen uses his art practice to deliver a critique of capitalist culture. Cohen's visceral performance with real human skulls in the capitalist setting of New York's Wall Street and Times Square combines references to death with references to materialistic excess. This article draws parallels between Bataille's notion of expenditure and Cohen's staging of his critique of capitalist excess.
Author Beschara KaramSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 27, pp 75 –101 (2016)More Less
This article analyses the film Monument (1990), created by South African artist William Kentridge. It frames the analysis around James E Young's original ideas of the counter-monument and negative aesthetics. The former is defined as an anti-monument or a memorial that is open-ended, provocative, and subversive. The latter, Young's negative aesthetics, is defined as anti-redemptive art or counterart, that is, a critical aesthetic. This is art that provokes, shocks, and repels, while critically challenging the audience to remember. Arguing for the film and its antihero Harry as both counter-monuments and the embodiment of negative aesthetics, I make a significant contribution to the already established work on William Kentridge by providing a unique reading of his film as a counter-monument.
This article also works as a concept document for interrogating James E Young's counter-monument outside of the context that gave rise to its initial conceptualisation, that is, post-World War II Germany and the Holocaust. In doing so, I also make a contribution to the scholarly debate surrounding counter-monuments; countermemory; and negative aesthetics, by contending that not only Holocaust (non)representations are counter-monumental, but other (counter)artistic responses to historical traumas or catastrophes, such as apartheid, can also be countermonuments, in this case, film.
Source: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 27, pp 102 –121 (2016)More Less
This article revisits observations pertaining to 'the curatorial' in order to come to terms with the informal exhibition setting and interactive thematic implementation of PLAY_an exhibition (2014). It is argued that curatorial insight can be addressed as a means to bridge the gap between the agenda of the curators as exhibitionmakers, and the artists who present works that are autonomous objects. Contemporary curating assumes a multidimensional and interconnected role, linking objects, images, people, and discourses. The curatorial thus requires flexibility, making allowances for constant revision through active research - positing the exhibition as open-ended, transformative, and fluid. The contemporary curator is the instigator for mediation, assuming an interventionist role through continued interaction with the artists, their works on exhibition, and the curatorial agenda. In revisiting PLAY it has become evident that the curatorial cannot be predetermined, and plays out supplementary to all aspects of curating research. The contemporary curator is required to exercise a dynamic approach and revise the original agenda of both exhibition format and autonomous art object in order to enhance the intended experience.
Source: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 27, pp 122 –134 (2016)More Less
Epic, herculean, encyclopaedic, definitive, ambitious, big, exhaustive, comprehensive, holistic, inclusive, eclectic, busting the Western-centric canon, world scale, definitive, analytical, deeply exploratory, overwhelming and immersive. These are some of the adjectives and descriptors that reviewers have used to describe Victor Margolin's first two of a three-volume tome, World history of design, published in 2015. (The third volume is still under development.)
Author Fatima CassimSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 27, pp 135 –138 (2016)More Less
The Design & The City conference was organised by the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and was held over four days from 19 to 22 April 2016. The location of the conference was the Knowledge Mile in central Amsterdam. The Knowledge Mile is a network of academic institutions, government organisations, and citizens who have joined forces to create 'an applied research ecosystem to develop, test and display smart solutions for metropolitan challenges in the area'. Following the notion of an eco-system and the concept of the city as a living lab, the conference extended its reach beyond the conference presentations to include related activities such as labs and workshops that were held across the city. The common denominator across the various events was the need to address the topic of 'citizen-centered design approaches for the smart city'. The smart city project is defined broadly by Willem van Winden, Professor of Urban Knowledge Economy and Strategy at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and one of the conference speakers, as a collaborative innovation where urban stakeholders work together to innovate using new technology with societal and/or environmental objectives. As such, the location of the conference supported the theme owing to the number of initiatives adopted by the city to make it more inclusive.
Face Forward : International Typographic Conference
11 - 12 December 2015, Dublin Institute of Technology, Ireland : conference reportAuthor Kyle RathSource: Image & Text : a Journal for Design 27, pp 139 –143 (2016)More Less
The inaugural Face Forward typographic conference, which was held at the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) in Ireland, forms part of 'ID2015; the Year of Irish Design' governmental initiative, which aims to bring global awareness to various branches of Irish design and by extension, typography. Face Forward is the first peer-reviewed conference of its kind, and offered a sizable forum for engaging with and presenting critical research into typographic production, representation and dissemination in use. With eleven tracks and more than seventy presenters, including notable designers, typographers, design critics and researchers such as Tobias Frere-Jones, Cathy Gale, and Denise Gonzales Crisp, the conference sought to bring to light connections between typographic craft, research, theory, history, criticism, and pedagogy.