Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Image & Text]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1021-149720200001&lang=en vol. num. 34 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Extreme apartheid: the South African system of migrant labour and its hostels</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The migrant labour system was an historical system used to reconcile the conflicting need for cheap labour in the mines and cities, with the apartheid ideology that workers should not reside there on a permanent basis. Labourers were housed in a unique accommodation type that developed from the Kimberley Closed Compound into the Witwatersrand Mine Compound and ultimately the migrant labour hostel. During the late colonial and apartheid periods, the mining compounds and the migrant labour hostels, which formed a key element of this system, were designed (and functioned) as tools of control and repression. In time they became synonymous with violence, overcrowding and squalor. As with so many other political and social systems, dismantling the migrant labour apparatus, and undoing the harm it caused, often requires even more tenacious efforts over a period of time. <![CDATA[<b>Embedded participation in the architectural curriculum towards engendering urban citizenship in graduates</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Instilling ethical development and a regard for the production of urban space through vertical and horizontal curriculum participation may equip architectural graduates with the capacity to engage with the complexity and temporal fluidity of urban citizenship. Creative outputs of four academic year groups in an Architecture department who engaged with a particular township community in South Africa were considered in terms of Perry's Scheme of Intellectual and Ethical Development and how this relates to Lefebvre's notion of lived space. The students' levels of engagement and recognition of the complexity of social structures were reflected in the levels of ethical development presented in the models used. In this paper we argue that it is necessary to distribute curricular participation vertically throughout the curriculum to ensure that students are able to transcend from one level to the following in order to resolve the complexities they are confronted with in the spatial and ontological challenges inscribed within urban citizenship. <![CDATA[<b>Remembering the Pass - Exploring curatorial reenactment in <i>PASS-AGES: References & Footnotes</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The exhibition, PASS-AGES: References & Footnotes (2010), curated by Gabi Ngcobo, was site-specific and took place at the former Pass Office in Johannesburg, a space not officially acknowledged as a struggle site. Ngcobo, recognising the potential for using dynamic display formats to mobilise a curatorial concept, brought memory to the fore by installing artworks at the Pass Office as reenactments of evidence. I argue that PASS-AGES invokes traumatic memory through curatorial reenactment, and indicates the potentials for reenactment to explore repressed histories that still hold presence in a contemporary moment. Memory is thus invoked as an additional "text" to mobilise the conceptual framework, akin to how remembrance is often used in the continuous struggle for justice. Employing an autoethnographic methodology, which describes an analytical approach used to critically examine the researcher's own experiences as a means to access greater understanding of cultural experience, I allow the reader to experience the exhibition through my own account. I argue that, as a nomadic curator, Ngcobo was freed from contextual, spatial, or methodological limitations traditionally bound to a colonial logic of curatorial practice. I convey that a nomadic curatorial approach can be adopted to critique traditional or institutional curatorial paradigms. To this end, I argue that Ngcobo was able to engage care in her practice by using reenactment to interrogate memory in a manner that may otherwise have been subdued within an institutional context. <![CDATA[<b>The Big Druid's photographs of trees: Art and knowledge</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article argues that the world-renowned multi-media artist, Willem Boshoff's, digital image gallery of photographs of trees, flowers and plants on the digital domain of the internet and in his digital archive, forms part of a history of efforts by modern artists to dismantle and stage the reductive divisions between the arts and the natural sciences. By emphasising their agency to richly interweave layers of cultural meaning and ideological questioning, while producing cascades of other images, the objective is to situate the botanical photographs in Boshoff's digital "image gallery" in an expanded history of imaging, and to explore the layered perspectives that this positioning may entail and divulge. The interpretation includes comparative visual material from atlases and other image galleries, landscape art and land art, photographic and cinematic images, diagrams and scientific "illustrations", Druid Walks and performances, and so forth. The interpretation ventures to fathom the aesthetic, artistic and cultural significance of this body of photographs, as well as their power to ignite debates on the relationship between art, science, knowledge, wisdom, politics and culture. <![CDATA[<b>Educating citizen designers in South Africa</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article argues that the world-renowned multi-media artist, Willem Boshoff's, digital image gallery of photographs of trees, flowers and plants on the digital domain of the internet and in his digital archive, forms part of a history of efforts by modern artists to dismantle and stage the reductive divisions between the arts and the natural sciences. By emphasising their agency to richly interweave layers of cultural meaning and ideological questioning, while producing cascades of other images, the objective is to situate the botanical photographs in Boshoff's digital "image gallery" in an expanded history of imaging, and to explore the layered perspectives that this positioning may entail and divulge. The interpretation includes comparative visual material from atlases and other image galleries, landscape art and land art, photographic and cinematic images, diagrams and scientific "illustrations", Druid Walks and performances, and so forth. The interpretation ventures to fathom the aesthetic, artistic and cultural significance of this body of photographs, as well as their power to ignite debates on the relationship between art, science, knowledge, wisdom, politics and culture. <![CDATA[<b>Ellen Ripley, Sarah Connor, and Kathryn Janeway: The subversive politics of action heroines in 1980s and 1990s film and television</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In the late 1970s and early 1980s, female characters that are different from the sexualised and passive women of the 1960s started appearing in science fiction film and television. Three prominent women on screen that reflect the increasing awareness of women's sexualisation and lack of representation as main protagonists in film, and that appeared at the height of feminism's second wave, are Ellen Ripley from the Alien franchise (1979-1997), Sarah Connor from the Terminator film series (1984-1991;2019) and Kathryn Janeway from the Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001) television series. These female characters were, in contrast to their predecessors, the main protagonists and heroes at the centre of their respective narratives, they were desexualised, and they were not subservient to their male contemporaries. Most importantly, and as I show in this paper, they are complex, hybrid characters that do not perpetuate the masculine/ feminine dichotomy as their predecessors did. I further argue that it is these characters' hybridity that makes them heroines instead of simply being male heroes in female bodies, which they are often accused of. I term the heroine archetype presented by these characters the "original action heroine", and I argue that these women are likely candidates to be regarded as the first heroine archetype on screen. <![CDATA[<b>Anthropocene terror in two girl-centred narratives: The leitmotifs of mythological time, colonisation and monstrosity in the films <i>Whale Rider </i>and <i>Moana</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The place of children in societies is a question that we have been grappling with in many forms, maybe nowhere more creatively and visibly than in the products of our imaginary complexes, such as films. Educational theorist and cultural critic Henry Giroux (2012) describes a contemporary crisis about youth and considers youth as potential cultural and pedagogical 'border-crossers or outlaws'. Our complex contemporary engagement with the concept of youth coincides with an increasing awareness of, firstly, the genderedness of our world and, secondly, of anthropocene planetary ecological states of crises. In this article I consider two girl-centred films, both with young female protagonists, where the convergence of these discursive forces is depicted in the narrative context of the current renewed appreciation for indigenous cultures, particularly those of the global south. The films are New Zealand director Niki Caro's Whale Rider (2002) and Disney's animated film Moana (2016). There are clear similarities between the films, and the Disney creators have openly credited Whale Rider as influential in their creative process. I particularly consider how these two films, when read together, engage with ideas of cyclical mythological time, the leitmotifs of exploration, gender and colonisation, and with the trope of monstrousness or monstrosity as metaphors for paradoxical and complex living in an age of increasing complexity and anxiety. <![CDATA[<b>The march continues: A critique of The Long March to Freedom statue collection exhibited in Century City</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en At a moment in South African history that calls for decolonial perspectives on ideological and material remnants of the country's colonial and apartheid pasts, the exhibition of The Long March to Freedom life-size statue collection at Century City, Cape Town, constitutes a seemingly contestable juxtaposition. This exhibition, that opened at Century City on 15 November 2019, is seemingly intended as a commemoration of South Africa's struggle for freedom and a re-evaluation of former state-sanctioned versions of the country's history. The visuality of the space that this collection currently occupies can however be described as one with a contestable relationship with the past, in which spatiality itself signifies a call to forget the past, or rather to construct a mythological version thereof. While The Long March to Freedom exhibition seemingly encompasses calls to inclusion in the South African public sphere, Century City, as a space saturated with simulated signs, functions as a site of exclusion and privilege. This article aims to highlight tensions between "subjective" memory and "objective History" in post-apartheid South Africa, negotiating tensions of a historicality-sociality-spatiality trialectic within a site of socio-political and economic exclusion. <![CDATA[<b>Hearing the pain of others: Engineering affect and empathy through the soundscapes of <i>This Song is For... </i>(2019) and <i>Love Story </i>(2017)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en While there is a solid and growing literature on audiences' affective and empathie responses to visual art, visual culture, and the mass media more generally, less attention has been given to how voice might play a central role in such experiences. In this article I explore two artworks that utilised voice to solicit particular responses from their audiences. The artworks, This Song is For ... (2019) by Gabrielle Goliath and Love Story (2017) by Candice Breitz, are analysed here through the lenses of affect and empathy, particularly as they intersect with voice studies. I begin by problematising these concepts and exploring the ways in which they have been theorised in art history, cultural and media studies, philosophy, and psychology. A careful negotiation between these theoretical perspectives allows me to construct a theoretical framework through which to analyse the intensely overwhelming responses the artworks elicited by paying particular attention to the effects of their soundscapes. I conclude that through the clever choreography of voice and image, both artworks constructed and manipulated their audiences in significant ways. By inviting their audiences on a critical journey, an encounter with these artworks may have led to a profoundly transformed understanding of the experiences of people who have suffered as a result of sexual abuse and various other traumas, such as oppression and displacement. <![CDATA[<b>Special Section Editorial</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en While there is a solid and growing literature on audiences' affective and empathie responses to visual art, visual culture, and the mass media more generally, less attention has been given to how voice might play a central role in such experiences. In this article I explore two artworks that utilised voice to solicit particular responses from their audiences. The artworks, This Song is For ... (2019) by Gabrielle Goliath and Love Story (2017) by Candice Breitz, are analysed here through the lenses of affect and empathy, particularly as they intersect with voice studies. I begin by problematising these concepts and exploring the ways in which they have been theorised in art history, cultural and media studies, philosophy, and psychology. A careful negotiation between these theoretical perspectives allows me to construct a theoretical framework through which to analyse the intensely overwhelming responses the artworks elicited by paying particular attention to the effects of their soundscapes. I conclude that through the clever choreography of voice and image, both artworks constructed and manipulated their audiences in significant ways. By inviting their audiences on a critical journey, an encounter with these artworks may have led to a profoundly transformed understanding of the experiences of people who have suffered as a result of sexual abuse and various other traumas, such as oppression and displacement. <![CDATA[<b>Self-representation in the works of Busisiwe Nzama: An analysis of the Frida 'little travellers' and more</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The focus of this article is on 'little travellers', a form of figure making associated with Woza Moya, an arts and craft project based in Hillcrest, KwaZulu-Natal. This article tracks and analyses the creation of two variations of the Frida 'little traveller' created by a Woza Moya bead artist, Busisiwe Nzama, in partnership with the Director of the project, Paula Thomson. My data-gathering process was conducted over an eleven-month period of observations interspersed with conversations, photographing and interviews with the objective of deepening an understanding of the co-design and co-creation process between a stakeholder from the arts and craft non-governmental sector and societal practice partners. The study conducted found that an analysis of this process of partnership allows a deepened understanding of the historical realities of an individual expressed through beadworks. Some 'little travellers' by Nzama take their inspiration from the work of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. As with Kahlo, much of Nzama's work is concerned with self-representation. While Nzama and Kahlo treat the subject of self-representation differently, both artists indicate ways in which the self becomes infused in a work of art. This aspect of the 'little travellers' conceptualisation enables me to explore the similarities between Nzama and Kahlo's bodies of work. <![CDATA[<b>A contemporary Madonna from the Eastern Cape: Female agency in the Keiskamma Art Project's <i>Rose Altarpiece</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The Keiskamma Art Project, based in Hamburg in the Eastern Cape, produced the Rose Altarpiece in 2005. A work modelled on the Virgin of the Rose Bower altarpiece in the Church of the Dominicans in Colmar, France, that features a panel made by Martin Schongauer in 1473, the Rose Altarpiece substitutes the fifteenth-century rendition of the Virgin Mary in an enclosed garden with a representation of Nokwanda Makubalo, a project member, with a child whom she had adopted. The Rose Altarpiece may best be understood as a "parody" of the Virgin of the Rose Bower altarpiece in the sense that this term is defined by Linda Hutcheon (1985), including her concept that the various likenesses between a representation and its source serve in fact to emphasise their differences from one another. Particularly distinctive in this instance is the difference between the idea of virtuous womanhood conveyed in the two works. Whereas the iconography that informs the Virgin Mary's representation in images such as Schongauer's panel was not grounded in the empowerment of females, the Rose Altarpiece represents women as having agency and capacity to effect social transformations. Made in the context of escalating HIV/AIDS infections, the South African work gives visual form and shape to "feminist ubuntu" in its suggestion of the way in which women have sought to negotiate this health crisis. <![CDATA[<b><i>The blood-sucker bird: </i>A woven narrative of exploitation and dependency</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en One of the most renowned tapestry ventures in South Africa is the Evangelical Lutheran Church Art and Craft Centre, Rorke's Drift, initiated in 1963. Less well-known is the subsequent centre started by its Swedish founders, Ulla and Peder Gowenius, in neighbouring Lesotho. Thabana li Mele, as this initiative was called, opened in 1968, and within two years, 200 villagers wove a range of textiles, including pictorial tapestries. However, this thriving operation would be short-lived, forced to close in 1970, by an ally of white South Africa, Lesotho's Leabua Jonathan regime. Apartheid-era writings have offered limiting representations of these events, and Thabana li Mele's weavers and their works are now all but forgotten. As the author shows, The blood-sucker bird (1969), a tapestry from this centre on which some material has survived, suggests that Thabana li Mele was destined to be more than just a poverty-alleviation initiative. Woven by an unknown woman, this bold artwork articulates Lesotho's subaltern status as a land-locked labour reserve for South Africa's mines. Reminiscent of oral art forms, its symbolic language interrogates the hegemonies that engineered the lives of Basotho communities forced into migrancy and economic dependency on South Africa. The tapestry also yields insight into the creative agency of a marginalised community. <![CDATA[<b>Other stories: Asger Jorn's and Pierre Wemaëre's <i>Le Long Voyage, </i>1959-1960</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In the autumn of 1958, the Danish artist Asger Jorn (1914-1973) received a commission for a large, coloured tapestry to be installed at the Statsgymnasium in Aarhus, Denmark. Jorn drew in his friend, the French artist Pierre Wemaëre (1913-2010), as a collaborator in this initiative. In this article, I shed light on Jorn's and Wemaëre's effort to push boundaries when producing the work. These included a challenge to disciplinary boundaries - that is, between art, craft, design and architecture - as well as social hierarchies between the artist as the creator and the weavers as the executors. The attempt was also to challenge institutional boundaries between high art and popular art, as well as professional boundaries - that is, between a spontaneous production method versus one that is based on planning combined with a division of labour. But, as I reveal through an exploration of the making of the weaving, these ideals were of necessity compromised during the process of production and, while resulting in an impressive and memorable work, the project did not ultimately challenge existing norms of creating large-scale weavings. <![CDATA[<b>The material of mourning: Paul Emmanuel's <i>Lost Men </i>as counter-memorials</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Paul Emmanuel's works to be discussed are site-specific, counter-memorial statements called The Lost Men. Each installation consists of semi-transparent cloth banners carrying photographic images of parts of the artist's body, imprinted with the names of men who represent participants from both sides of each conflict memorialised. These are often men who went undocumented in official records and include those who were lost or killed in major conflicts, from the Frontier Wars in the Eastern Cape: The Lost Men Grahamstown (2004), to the civil war in Mozambique: The Lost Men Mozambique (2007) and from World War 1: The Lost Men France (2014). Emmanuel's banners are fragile; some have been lost and some have deteriorated in situ. In all their iterations, they engage with memory, impermanence, vulnerability, death and an alternative view of masculine identity that undermines the macho aggression associated with warfare. I discuss the role a lack of material substance plays in enhancing the message of loss and grief. I argue that the very impermanence of cloth is essential to countering what Pierre Nora (1989:8) terms the 'lieux de memoire' - lasting physical memorials that enshrine and perpetuate "memories" when the lived experience of those memories have long been lost. Emmanuel's Lost Men are truly in the process of being "lost" through disintegration, and I argue that this physical deterioration, in conjunction with the imagery Emmanuel uses, is the key to their success as counter-memorials. <![CDATA[<b>Stitching and unpicking ambivalence toward womanhood and maternity in works by Ilené Bothma</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100016&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Ilené Bothma knits with nylon stockings, stitches with human hair, and performs interventional actions with household furniture. Many of her canvases are vintage handkerchiefs and stockings. The body - specifically female and maternal bodies - is everywhere signalled, but seldom present. The artist also produces meticulously detailed, naturalistic paintings of her own and others' knitting, embroidery and crochet. Her delicate patterning with hair and her paintings of fabric soiled by bodily fluids provide a reflective tension within her work that speaks to how narratives of gendered roles and identities are written into representation. What the artist calls her 'deliberately bad knitting' is central here (Bothma 2020b). Bothma also creates a narrative for the work itself, encouraging possibilities for the interpretation of creative labour. As Valerie Mainz and Griselda Pollock (2000:3) put it, 'attention [is] given here to the work process by which an image is itself produced'. What emerges is a foregrounding of women's ambivalence. <![CDATA[<b>Quilts: Unfolding personal and public histories in South Africa and the United States</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100017&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Quilts and related textiles are a particularly capacious textile medium through which the intersection of materiality and narratives can be explored. There are thousands of extant historical examples to be found in public and private collections, and the "quilt world" of the early twenty-first century is robust and enormous. There are literally millions of individuals around the globe who are involved in some aspect of quilt production, preservation, and study. This article provides a brief overview of quiltmaking and quilt studies in the United States and in South Africa. It draws upon samples of work from both countries to illustrate how, through their needles and their stories, quilt artists provide unique windows into personal and public histories. <![CDATA[<b>Sedition <i>à la mode? </i>The transfiguration of Steve Biko in post-apartheid fashion and décor design</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972020000100018&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The portrait of slain anti-apartheid revolutionary, Steve Bantu Biko, has been variously transfigured and commodified in political and consumer discourse since his death in 1977. This process is evident in the reproduction of Biko's portrait on garments and décor accessories. At the time of his death, a commemorative T-shirt hastily printed for his funeral was promptly banned. Three decades later, images of Biko's face adorned tank tops and cushion covers displayed in trendy, upmarket boutiques. The focus in this article is the appropriation and reproduction of Biko's portraits in a selection of South African fashion and décor designs. I ask whether the images of radical political figures are necessarily domesticated or denuded of subversive power once rendered and consumed as fashionable, retro accessories. If invoking Biko's name, as Ahmed Veriava and Prishani Naidoo (2008:234) suggest, is to invoke a legacy of struggle and sedition, what new meanings arise when historic signifiers of this icon are consumed as retro fashions? These questions are explored within the context where Biko's work and image are given new prominence by young black activists who were born in a democratic South Africa, but are not yet enjoying the freedoms that Biko's generation fought and died for.