Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Image & Text]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/rss.php?pid=1021-149720180002&lang=en vol. num. 32 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/img/en/fbpelogp.gif http://www.scielo.org.za <![CDATA[<b>Discursive cuts, receptive wounds: notes on the reception of <i>Inxeba/The Wound</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200001&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en <![CDATA[<b>Contextualisation, part 1: Queer cinema and the global</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200002&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In the first of two contextualising articles written for this themed issue, the notion of queer cinema is positioned within larger, global narratives of activism, theory-making and reception, while simultaneously nuancing its functional applicability in 'world cinema' contexts - in essence cautioning against the potential pitfalls of deploying it as if with global or universal reach. In reaction to such universalist assumptions, the national is rather conceptualised in/through queer cinema as multiple horizons of belonging, as frameworks of space which speak to interconnecting and overlapping surfaces; turning the focus instead to the process of queering the formations of nations, ethnicities and diasporas as marked by hierarchical (hetero)sexual binaries whose normative effects can be disrupted and undone. <![CDATA[<b>A sex-critical reading of the homosexual sex acts depicted in <i>Inxeba</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200003&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this paper, I aim to analyse the homosexual sex acts depicted in the film, Inxeba (Trengove 2017). The analysis is informed by Lisa Downing's 'sex-critical' approach that deems that 'all forms of sexuality should be equally susceptible to critical thinking about the normative or otherwise ideologies they uphold' (Downing 2013:95). The findings of the analysis underscore that the film displays a phallocentric scripting of the sex act: the practices and sequence of sexual acts that privilege the erect, penetrating penis. In cognisance of this point, the sex scenes under discussion can be critiqued for perpetuating a narrow phallocentric ideal of sex that runs parallel to hetero-patriarchal norms. To offer an alternative expression of homosexual sex acts, Alphonso Lingis's writings on sexuality and sexual desire provide a springboard to explore erotic caresses and couplings that encompass the entire male body. To this end, Lingis's work is presented as a means to queer homosexual sex from hetero-patriarchal and phallocentric scriptings. The paper concludes by using Lingis's theories to imagine an alternative sex scene in Inxeba that illuminates queer eroticism and pleasure outside of penile penetrative sex. <![CDATA[<b>Interrogating conceptions of manhood, sexuality and cultural identity</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200004&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Inxeba revived debates on ulwaluko and its attendant social discourses in South Africa. Elided by these debates, which saw the film censored from public view by the Film and Publication Board of South Africa, were formulations of 'Manhood' which we maintain are rooted in culture, tradition and custom; formulations that frame homosexuality as abject in our context. Through delineating Manhood from manhood proper, we argue that Inxeba reveals the nexus between Manhood, policed sexualities and cultural identity. In detailing the status of manhood proper, we critically unpack masculinity and challenge the 'factual' position of Manhood. The problematics which arise out of Manhood are informed by a (mis) conceptualised notion of this identity as stable and unchanging, creating dichotomous bifurcations of what constitutes being a man; a framework that is depicted and contested by the narrative of the film. Using feminist theory to interrogate culture, custom and tradition and its imposed silences on feminised bodies in contemporary South Africa, we explore how Inxeba subverts and contests Manhood through a propositioning of manhood proper. <![CDATA[<b>On Oyèrónké Oyèwùmí, colonial Afro-masculinities and the subjection of African cultural praxis in <i>Inxeba</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200005&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The understudied work of Oyèrónké Oyèwumí has pointed to the incommensurability of the westernised phenomenon of gender with African conceptions of personhood and social identity. Oyewumí's work has challenged the idea of gender as a universal identity and subject position, not by arguing for a distinct form of gender embodiment that is African in its phenomenology, but by historically and conceptually demonstrating that gender is a product of western social constructs not universally related or applicable to African social schemas. Oyèwumí presents the argument that the presence of gender as a social signifier of African peoples' identity (whom prior to colonialism inhabited a cultural order without gender as a primary organising principle) occurs at the co-instance of western cultural domination and colonialisation of Africa. Relying on such a view toward African society's historically non-gendered social organisation schemas, this paper offers a critique of the film Inxeba (Trengove 2017), arguing that, contrary to the popular reception of the film as a gender progressive representation of African queer identity and its attendant liberation from a purportedly hetero-patriarchal African culture, the film in effect constitutes the inverse. In essence, the reception around Inxeba inadvertently re-inscribes colonial gender grammars into an African cultural praxis and in the process undercuts African cultural autonomy for self-progression on its own terms. I further argue that the film's thematic treatment of both a purported "African hetero-patriarchal masculinity" and an "African Queer masculinity" could be read as merely mimicking western/colonial gender embodiment discourse. <![CDATA[<b>Layers of woundedness in <i>Inxeba: </i>masculinities disrupted, denied and defamed</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200006&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this paper, we discuss the multi-layered representations of masculinities as they appear in the film Inxeba. Reading these multi-layered representations against a backdrop of the initiation practice of ulwaluko highlights the significance of heteronormativity in defining and engaging critical African Black masculinities in South Africa today. This is further compounded through the intersecting nuances of race and class configurations that matter for how contemporary Black masculinities are constructed. We argue that Inxeba's successes and failures of representation bring to the fore intricate debates and ethical dilemmas of representation in the arts and social sciences more generally. In addition, if Inxeba fails in its (mis)representation of ulwaluko as less than a complex, nuanced and rich cultural practice, it is arguably successful in its exploration of the deeply entrenched heteronormative socio-material and psychical space of this practice. <![CDATA[<b>Identity in interaction: sub-cultural intersubjectivities in popular radio conversation on <i>Inxeba</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200007&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Queerness¹ undergoes multiple treatments in South African society, oscillating between site of cultural un/acceptability, religious im/morality and of embodied resistance. Conversation of the film Inxeba indicates that claiming or talking about the queer position amongst cultural identities becomes a social act, which must be accounted for within interaction. Through adopting an ethnomethodological position, it can be noted that within instances of radio talk, speakers design their utterances to employ identities as actions, which align orientations to norms regarding sexuality. By deploying a conversation analysis to the collected data, the interrelation between queerness and emotive talk is shown through the ways in which speech features, such as pause and emphasis, are employed strategically. In tandem, an analysis of discursive connotation offers a balance between the local situation and broader context of talk in order to show how queer identities are deployed within other discursive formations. Through tethering these styles of analyses, it will appear that the cascading use of social identities within talk of Inxeba presents as a particular stock of interactional knowledge regarding queerness (based on the three extracts analysed). By reflecting on how the identity of the researchers may have influenced this analysis, managing the reflexive process should not be seen as a final step but rather an instrumental part of any qualitative analysis of identity. <![CDATA[<b>"What is it to be a man?" Rites, hashtags, outrage</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200008&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article aims to understand the outrage caused by Inxeba (2017) set within the context of ulwaluko, the Xhosa traditional rite of passage. The scale of the outrage showed deep rejection by many South Africans of the very ideas that the film puts across. This outrage must be understood in relation to the sensitivity of the film's content: masculine identity; the question of what it is to be a man; the multiple interlinked issues of who has power to determine what a Xhosa man is; the justification of heteronormative masculinity; and the construction of multiple masculinities. Assuming that such questions and issues raised by the film cannot be discussed in depth without sufficient contextual knowledge of what the ulwaluko practice involves, the article begins with an account of this practice. Turning to an attempt to understand the outrage caused by the film, it is argued that the most cited reason for this outrage - namely that it challenges the power base of traditional cultural leaders by opening private rites to general public scrutiny - covers over a more pressing concern: that the film depicts an entrenched cultural tradition in a way that subjects its heteronormative ideal of manliness to controversial critique from the perspective of more diverse masculinities. <![CDATA[<b>'Shame, Seething, Basic Shame... It's all About the Cock': reading Nakhane Touré's <i>Piggy boy's blues </i>(2015) after <i>Inxeba</i></b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200009&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article aims to understand the outrage caused by Inxeba (2017) set within the context of ulwaluko, the Xhosa traditional rite of passage. The scale of the outrage showed deep rejection by many South Africans of the very ideas that the film puts across. This outrage must be understood in relation to the sensitivity of the film's content: masculine identity; the question of what it is to be a man; the multiple interlinked issues of who has power to determine what a Xhosa man is; the justification of heteronormative masculinity; and the construction of multiple masculinities. Assuming that such questions and issues raised by the film cannot be discussed in depth without sufficient contextual knowledge of what the ulwaluko practice involves, the article begins with an account of this practice. Turning to an attempt to understand the outrage caused by the film, it is argued that the most cited reason for this outrage - namely that it challenges the power base of traditional cultural leaders by opening private rites to general public scrutiny - covers over a more pressing concern: that the film depicts an entrenched cultural tradition in a way that subjects its heteronormative ideal of manliness to controversial critique from the perspective of more diverse masculinities. <![CDATA[<b>Coda: 2018, Still struggling with a pair of shoes bought in 1996?</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200010&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en This article aims to understand the outrage caused by Inxeba (2017) set within the context of ulwaluko, the Xhosa traditional rite of passage. The scale of the outrage showed deep rejection by many South Africans of the very ideas that the film puts across. This outrage must be understood in relation to the sensitivity of the film's content: masculine identity; the question of what it is to be a man; the multiple interlinked issues of who has power to determine what a Xhosa man is; the justification of heteronormative masculinity; and the construction of multiple masculinities. Assuming that such questions and issues raised by the film cannot be discussed in depth without sufficient contextual knowledge of what the ulwaluko practice involves, the article begins with an account of this practice. Turning to an attempt to understand the outrage caused by the film, it is argued that the most cited reason for this outrage - namely that it challenges the power base of traditional cultural leaders by opening private rites to general public scrutiny - covers over a more pressing concern: that the film depicts an entrenched cultural tradition in a way that subjects its heteronormative ideal of manliness to controversial critique from the perspective of more diverse masculinities. <![CDATA[<b>To Make See and to Let Die: photography and testimony</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200011&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en The focus of this article is a speculative argument on the relation between photography and testimony as one that situates the viewer on a particularly powerless, but responsibility-laden position. Articulating Nilufër Demir's viral 2015 photograph of Aylan Kurdi, and Walter Kleinfeldt's 1918 photograph of an unknown fallen soldier, as images bearing the marks of shifts in biopolitics, the article takes up on Walter Benjamin, Michel Foucault, Georges Didi-Huberman and Giorgio Agamben, and reflects upon the possibility of addressing and responding to images beyond a moral level. As such, it inquires on the need to relate to images on a level that considers power relations. Ultimately showing that observers, or viewers, of photographs are necessarily tied to the unfolding of human history, no matter how distant they may be from its events, the article proposes a response to the need of assuming a political stance when facing images. <![CDATA[<b>Minna Keene: a neglected pioneer</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200012&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Born in Germany in 1861, Minna Keene lived in Cape Town during a prolific phase of her photographic career. Whilst at the Cape (1903-1913), she achieved international acclaim as a pictorialist photographer. Her photographs of South African subject matter were shown at exhibitions across the world. She was quick to recognise opportunities to translate her photographic success into financial profit and was one of very few women to operate a photographic studio in early-twentieth century South Africa. Keene actively circulated reproductions of her photographs as self-published postcards and in popular publications. Through these interventions, she made a substantial contribution to popular visual culture at the Cape and was celebrated by local and international audiences. Despite her pioneering status, she has been overlooked in the existing literature on South African photography, and, although she has received limited attention in Euro-American histories of photography, much remains unknown about her life and work, especially in relation to her time in Cape Town. Drawing on multi-sited research, I present a biographical account of Keene which analyses the ambivalent gender politics in her photographs as well as her uncritical adoption of colonial categories of race. <![CDATA[<b>Black mirrors and zombies: the antinomy of distance in participatory spectatorship of smart phones</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200013&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Spectatorship has been investigated in film and media studies, aesthetics and art history, and has gained prominence from the 1990s with the focus on digital media. In this article, I investigate the implications of two notions of contemporary spectatorship for viewing moving images on smart phones, by studying how they are depicted in popular representations: television series, an advertisement and social media. The first notion is participation, with new technologies such as smart phones linked to supposedly more empowered participatory practices than those that preceded these technologies. The second notion is the cinema dispositive, which in current theory is often dismissed as leading to passive spectatorship. I aim to interrogate the complexity and contradictions inherent in both concepts and how they have recently been theorised in film and media studies, by focusing on two aspects that seem to facilitate participation through smart phones. The first is distance, where I investigate whether and how it is reconfigured as a factor that may feature in participatory spectator practices. The second is mobility, where I consider some limitations of the physical body-screen relationship between spectators and smart phones. <![CDATA[<b>In/On the Bones: species meanings and the racialising discourse of animality in the <i>Homo naledi </i>controversy</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200014&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en In this article, I address a controversy about species meanings and a racialising discourse of animality surrounding the Homo naledi fossils that were discovered in 2013 at the Cradle of Humankind; a fossil-rich area located just outside of Johannesburg. Nothing less than the origins, and definition, of humanity were said to be at stake in the fossils. This claim issued from the co-presence within the specimens of so-called "human" and "animal" features. In South Africa, the fossils provoked what Claire Jean Kim (2015) would call an 'impassioned dispute' about the perceived relationships between animals - particularly primates - and persons who are socially marked, and who identify, as black. Situating the naledi event within the long history of the 'interconstitution' (Kim 2015) of blackness and animality, I argue that the controversy surfaced anxieties about the untethering of racialising species meanings from prevailing ideas about the ontological foundations of "the human". By approaching the cultural politics of the dispute, I explore how it provided an opening onto the conjugation of race and species within South Africa and conclude that the naledi event attests to the perils of eliding the history of race science as well as the difficulty of retaining within anti-racist politics "the animal" as a device to secure "the human". <![CDATA[<b>The becoming-flower of video games: a Deleuzoguattarian analysis of Thatgamecompany's <i>Flower </i>(2009)</b>]]> http://www.scielo.org.za/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1021-14972018000200015&lng=en&nrm=iso&tlng=en Current prominent theoretical approaches within the field of video game studies tend to engage with video games in terms of narrative and gameplay because of the legacy of narratology and ludology. However, these approaches are potentially ill-equipped to adequately account for the specificity of certain video games that involve digital interactive experiences that are not primarily, or solely, focused on narrative or gameplay, but can rather be understood as video game multiplicities that consist of percepts and affects. A pertinent example of a game that functions as a video game multiplicity is Thatgamecompany's Flower (2009), which is analysed through a Deleuzoguattarian lens in order to highlight the unique aesthetic and play elements, or 'percepts' and 'affects', that enable the potentially transformative experiences offered by the game. Theorisation of these elements is arguably important because they entail a movement beyond the essence-based representational models of video games that are generally advanced through narratology and ludology, toward a model of multiplicity and becoming. In particular, the article explores how the percepts and affects of Flower can potentially open the player to a form of "transversal becoming" known as "becoming-imperceptible".