Edited volume: Imaging ourselves

Imaging ourselves: visual identities in representation
Edited by Leora Farber, 2009
Published by The Visual Identities in Art and Design Research Centre (VIAD), Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg
ISBN No: 978-0-620-45946-4

The visual is contested, debated, and transformed as a constantly challenging place of social interaction and definition in terms of class, gender, sexual and racialized identities. Nicholas Mirzoeff (1998:6)

This compilation of extended versions of the papers that were presented at the one-day national colloquium hosted by VIAD, titled Imaging ourselves: visual identities in representation, 15 June 2009,  highlights the central role that art and design plays in the formation and expression of post-1994 South African visual identities.

Since 1994, attempts to celebrate South Africa’s transformation from minority to majority rule have given rise to multiple constructions of ‘postapartheid identities’. Taking their cue from the relevance of transforming and constantly evolving conceptions of South African identities (individual and collective) in a post-1994 democracy, authors identify and address the multiple ways in which these identities might be articulated and realised through visual representation.

Authors examine various modes of visual production (specifically art and design practices) in terms of how these contribute to the production of meaning in South African culture. A notable characteristic of the collection is the diversity of approaches adopted to questions of how ‘we’, as ‘postapartheid’ South Africans, might begin to ‘image ourselves’. This diversity spans across disciplines and forms of representation. Themes include advertising and the role of the media in the construction of individual, social and national identities; the intersecting areas of cultural, historical, social and ideological identities, including constructions of gender and race; an interrogation of the politics of representation in relation to race, gender and ethnicity; identities as articulated through proposed relationships offered by the South African built environment and landscape; marginalised individual and collective identities as ‘performed’ through the text and identities expressed through modes of representation, such as digital artist’s books, with particular emphasis on South African modes of production.

Source cited
Mirzoeff, N. 1998. The visual culture reader. London: Routledge.

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Table of Contents
Click title to read the chapter

Foreword by Leora Farber

Critical meaning in advertising by Brenden Gray

Mr Blatter, the boys and the bicycle kick by Lize Groenewald

Creating meaning in architectural and furniture design by Alex Opper

Ideologies and identities in digital artists books by David Paton

Visually constructing socialist identity in 20th century South Africa by Deirdre Pretorius

Abject negotiations by Christy Rennie

I am the cup of water without the cup by Myer Taub

Narrating defiance by Ernst van de Wal

Starring the Himba by Jeanne van Eeden

Masculine ideals in post-apartheid South Africa by Stella Viljoen

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