Scrutiny2 - latest Issue
Volume 11, Issue 2, 2006
Secular improvisations : the poetics of invention in Ivan Vladislavic's The exploded view : a symposium : articleSource: Scrutiny2 11, pp 11 –26 (2006)More Less
Each of the four protagonists in The exploded view (2004) attempts to negotiate the field of post-apartheid signs,material objects and ideological possibilities and limits. In this article we analyse the limited capacity of each protagonist to make sense of the transforming world he inhabits.We characterize this limited capacity to make meaning by relating the four narratives comprising the novel to certain theoretical moves in the work of Michel de Certeau and Pierre Bourdieu respectively. We conclude that Vladislavic develops a sense of the ineluctably contingent nature of the quotidian based in a secular epistemology. That is, his protagonists experience simultaneously the failed promise of transcendence and their agency as dramatically qualified in the postcolonial context in which they live.
Johannesburg as Africa : a postcolonial reading of The exploded view by Ivan Vladislavic : a symposium : articleAuthor Helgesson StefanSource: Scrutiny2 11, pp 27 –35 (2006)More Less
This article argues that Ivan Vladislavic's The exploded view approaches metropolitan life in Johannesburg by way of antinomies such as separation / connection, knowledge / unknowability and intimacy / anonymity. Composed like a rhizome, this work of fiction departs, not only from an earlier practice of separating Johannesburg conceptually from Africa, but also from the current rhetoric of Africanization and national unity. Instead, Vladislavic's exploration of antinomial oppositions deconstructs the boundaries of both the racial identities and the geopolitical imaginary that determine the painful yoking of psyche and architectural topography in his fictional metropolis. The (re)writing of visual representations is of particular importance to this task. By disrupting aesthetic hierarchies and inserting hypostasized images of "Europe" and "Africa" into the flow of narration, "Africanness" is evoked as an itinerant form of becoming rather than a static termin a binary opposition.
Ivan Vladislavic's The exploded view : space and place in transitional South Africa : a symposium : articleAuthor Ralph GoodmanSource: Scrutiny2 11, pp 36 –47 (2006)More Less
This essay discusses Ivan Vladislavic's The exploded view as a satirical text about the construction of space in post-1994 South Africa. The text consists of four sections, each of which foregrounds attempts to grapple with and represent various South African spaces, both literal and figurative. The census-taker in section one, the town-planner in section two, the trendy artist in section three and the philosophizing erector of billboards in section four all encounter the unstable quality of the material world which defies their efforts to define and limit it. All of these protagonists struggle to define space and place - whether inner or outer - in ways which bring satisfactory order and meaning to their lives. This essay takes the theoretical position that space is a construct underpinned by social and economic ideologies, and is given significant meaning only by a consciousness of the forces underlying its construction.
Layers of permanence : toward a spatial-materialist reading of Ivan Vladisavic's The exploded view : a symposium : articleAuthor Shane GrahamSource: Scrutiny2 11, pp 48 –61 (2006)More Less
Critics of Vladislavic's early fiction have tended toward dehistoricized textual readings focusing on the author's clear preoccupation with words and word games. Such readings have often ignored or downplayed Vladislavic's equally clear interest in the material processes and socio-physical spaces that shape and enable life in the city. This essay develops as patial-materialist interpretation of his most recent novel The exploded view, reading word games and puzzles as part of a larger attempt to map the labyrinthine geographies of the post-apartheid city. Vladislavic forges a mode of representation that can register the continual inscription and effacement of social relations onto the physical urban landscape. This narrative strategy, similar to what William Kentridge calls an aesthetic of 'imperfect erasure'', operates in tandem with the trope of the "exploded view" to dissect contemporary Johannesburg and lay bare the social and economic processes that create and intersect it.
Author Gerald GaylardSource: Scrutiny2 11, pp 62 –74 (2006)More Less
It might appear intuitive that freedom, or at least the sense of freedom, in the post-apartheid era in South Africa would involve a wild celebration of individuality, and that in art this would mean the abandonment of social reportage and responsibility. However, whilst there are elements of this celebration in post-apartheid society and culture, the work of Ivan Vladislavic suggests that any change, far from extinguishing a sense of commitment, has reignited the question of art's social role and responsibility. The story "Curiouser" from The exploded view examines the issue of art's ability to have both a social role and to celebrate the individual as unique, even idiosyncratic. This metafictional examination of art ignites the central question of the individual subject and its value within a context of expanded freedom. In order to conduct this examination the paper ranges from an overview of contemporary theories on the individual subject to the application of these theories to postcolonial writing and culture globally, and then to a close reading of "Curiouser" as an exemplar of the way in which individuality is being represented in post-colonial literature today.
Skyhooks and diagrams : the signing of South Africa in Ivan Vladislavic's The exploded view : a symposium : articleAuthor Susan Van ZylSource: Scrutiny2 11, pp 75 –84 (2006)More Less
This essay explores the way in which Ivan Vladislavic's The exploded view is concerned with questions of the nature, powers and limitations of signs and significatory practices in post-apartheid South Africa. By way of an analysis of the particular semiotic questions with which each of the central characters is concerned, it highlights the life of signs that surrounds them and engages their psychic lives. It concludes by suggesting that some of the most valuable aspects of The exploded view stem not only from its status as a fine work of fiction but from its significant exploration of what might be called a psycho-semiotic project.
Author Carrol ClarksonSource: Scrutiny2 11, pp 106 –112 (2006)More Less
This essay is a review of Ivan Vladislavic's recent book on the artist, Willem Boshoff. Vladislavic and Boshoff share a philosophical interest in the linguistic tensions between abstract meanings and material signs. Where Boshoff's sculptures and installations often appear as three-dimensional texts, the letters and words in Vladislavic's books have all the materiality of Duchamp's ready-mades. In his engagement with Boshoff's work, as much as in his own fiction, Vladislavic explores the ethical implications of human attempts to consolidate meaning as it surfaces in the patterned media of language.