Architectures of the South
Editorial Written by Issue Iv Editors: Huda tayob and catalina Mejía moreno
Architectures of the South questions what is at stake for architecture and spatial practice to contend with the south as an embodied site of knowledge and power . To critically and ethically engage with the south as temporal, geographic and epistemic terrain requires questioning practices, methodologies, forms of engagement and means of representations. It also necessitates a constant awareness of the relational and ‘radical instability of the meaning, location and history’  of the south as a term and location. Framed by the long-standing histories and practices of violence witnessed by the southern geographies of our home countries - Colombia and South Africa - we invited contributors to respond to colonial and neo-colonial violences alongside practices of care and repair. In this issue, we ask how a return to thinking with bruising, wounding, remembering, returning and repairing, might enable a drawing out of relational, deep and long histories of displacement, racialised dispossession and extractive violences; while at the same time foregrounding the necessity of work that centres reparative practices as a move to imagining liveable lives.
Inviting contributions on Architectures to a journal of creative research is a provocation to move beyond our own disciplinary structures, and to maintain an insistence on the value of creative practices despite enduring violence. In many ways, this builds on concerns raised in earlier Ellipses [...] journal issues around embodied, southern and situated creative research. We understand architecture, here, as deeply embedded within forms of coloniality and racial capitalism, in a context where indigenous and colonised populations are rendered as ‘outside history’ . As Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui reminds us in the context of the Americas, while modernity is associated with extractive violence, it is also an arena of resistance, conflict and the development of new projects for other ways of living . In this issue, architecture is material and metaphor, sited and speculative, tangible and intangible, entangled with coloniality while containing the seeds for imagining alternative worlds.
The collection of nine creative projects made in response to the open call draw in a wide range of geographies, methods and practices around key concerns. Kitchen Stories by Refiloe Lepere and Nkululeko Selulu is an audio-visual offering which draws out “sigh, sound, song and silence” as an attention to the gestural sounds of Black female labour and hidden trauma and anxieties in Johannesburg across a series of kitchen sites. Disremembered Ruptures/ Rupturas Desmembradas by Margarida Waco, is similarly attuned to silenced histories, people and places, and adopts creative writing as a means to contend with the “spatial toolboxes of violence and trauma” and build an “errant archive” of guerilla women’s experiences in the Angolan civil war. Fleshworks: ‘Consent not to be a single being’ by Camilla Rondot and Antonio di Campli, takes us to Borgo Mezzanone in southern Italy, a site of opacity inhabited by African migrant labourers. In these works, film and narrative are the means to surface the spatial significance of overlooked sites and territories.
Narrative and erased stories about racialised tidal pools in the Cape Peninsula resurface in Tidal Pools as Containers of Care by Aaniyah Martin, who shares collectively woven hydro-rugs from plastic waste gathered during ocean clean-ups as a method and practice of actively cleaning and caring for human and more than human life. With Restaging Temporalities: Monsoon Stories from the Kampung, River and Tower by dll. Collective, Jessica Hindradjaja and Hamzah Al Asadulloh, we are plunged into the temporalities of everyday lives and recurrent violence of flooding where story-telling is a means to explore the spatial power dynamics which shape tangible realities across Jakarta. Staying with watery methods, in Ruins of the South Atlantic: Espírito Santo, Brazil by Gabriela Leandro Pereira, Mariana Leandro Pereira we journey through four temporal and spatial acts, overlaid family histories, urban contestations, sustained joy and unimaginable oceanic lives. They remind us that the violence which inaugurates the afro-atlantic diaspora, is always met with gestures of rebuilding life as “de-capture, disobedience and refusal.” In these works, water is a witness and medium, of overlapping violence, joy and care.
In further practices of returning to colonial and state archives, Arabsat-1A by Jumanah Abbas, speaks to the celestial body of the satellite as site of “hope and desire for collective unity” and of the “deterritorialisation of earth boundaries”, and yet as entangled with histories of colonialism, racial violence, and uncertain precarity. Revisiting The Mabarebare Archive As Web Platform by George Tebogo Mahashe is a reflection on the possibilities of building a digital archive around the quest for the mythical Modjadji, famed as the Rain Queen of Balobedu. Mineral Maladies: Anatomical Pathologies of the Black Lithosphere by Kaelo Molefe excavates Johannesburg’s mining history, and the pathologies that entangle biological bodies of racialised labourers and environmental and geological degradation. These works offer insights into excavations and alternative engagements with inherited repositories of knowledge that actively point to the possibilities of archival futures.
This issue of Ellipses [...] is part of a series of projects from the past three years, which span from private and public conversations, conference panels, an online residency with Tropical Papers, and a Quiet Conversation series . We have included four excerpts of Quiet Conversations to this Issue of Ellipses [...] to further the questioning of Architecture of the South that can be read through this Issue. These conversations supplement and extend questions asked within this issue, and speak to additional ways of sharing and building collective methodologies for creative research. The four excerpts of ‘quiet conversations’ present intimate conversation in which invited artists, architects, researchers and thinkers, Jumoke Sanwo, Felipe Arturo, Marcelo Ferraz, and Zara Julius share their work as a means to think through relational histories and practices.
Collectively, in this issue, the violence of bruising and wounding of people, homes, land, oceans, rivers, skies and stories is countered by deliberate and caring acts of returning and remembering. In different ways, the authors offer insights from their particular southern locations, actively surfacing overlooked stories, histories, sites and geographies . Doing so, as Ursula K. Le Guin reminds us in her fictional short story ‘Sur’, opens a myriad of site-specific ways of engaging and responding collectively to the multiple worlds we inhabit . If representations of the south have historically centred violence, creative methods are adopted here as a means to work against a repetition of this violence, to centre repair, and to think and work beyond the loss and absence of worlds. As Françoise Vergès reminds us, ‘we need to dare to dream of a peaceful life. Peaceful, here, does not mean pacification or appeasing, but a politics and a practice of solidarity, love and self-defense.’  The works gathered and shared in this issue speak to material, visual, sonic and textual practices across southern territories. They draw together entangled relationships of bodies, the built environment and wider ecologies, alongside sites, spaces and acts of solidarity and care. They question how we might collectively share and build methodologies as part of a larger ethical mandate for opening up other ways of knowing and doing . This is a gathering of voices which points towards coordinates, positions and approaches to hold and work through entangled, difficult, but also affective worlds full of possibility.
1. Ananya Roy, 2014. ‘Worlding the South: Toward a post-colonial Urban Theory’ in The Routledge Handbook on Cities of the Global South (ed. Susan Parnell and Sophie Oldfield) London: Routledge.
2. Ibid, p.16
3. Brennar Bhandar, 2018. Colonial Lives of Property. Durham: Duke University Press.
4. Silvia Rivera Cusicanqui, 2020. Ch’ixinakax utxiwa: on decolonising practices and discourses. Cambridge: Polity Press.
5. This conversation series is supported by the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts and The Space for Creative Black Imagination. It was developed in conversation with Raél Jero Salley at The Space for Creative Black Imagination, based at MICA in Baltimore, and James MacDonald.
6. Desiree Lewis and Gabeba Baderoon (eds.) 2021. Surfacing: On Being Black and Feminist in South Africa. Johannesburg: Wits University Press.
7. Ursula K. Le Guin (1982) ‘Sur.’ The New Yorker, pp.38-39.
8. Françoise Vergès, 2022. A Feminist Theory of Violence, London: Pluto Press, p. 102.
9. Denise Ferreira da Silva, 2014. ‘Toward a Black Feminist Poethics’ States of Black Studies, 44 (2): 81 - 97.
*The June 2022 author’s writing workshop was organised with support from the University of Manchester, SEED Research Recovery Fund.
[…] Special Issue
Editorial: Last, Lasting, Lost
The specter stands for that which never simply is and thus escapes the totalizing logic of conventional cognitive and hermeneutic operations. It cannot be reduced to a straightforward genesis, chronology or finitude and insists on blurring multiple borders, between visibility and invisibility, past and present, materiality and immateriality, science and pseudo-science, religion and superstition, life and death, presence and absence, reality and imagination
(Esther Peeren, 10).
What are Johannesburg’s spectres and whom do they haunt? What spectres of late capitalism inhabit a city hastily erected on top of the rich seam of gold that lay beneath? How do legacies from Johannesburg’s past mingle with its future
Johannesburg Lasts is a research collection that seeks to uncover, unpack and deepen investigations into spectres of Johannesburg, it’s toxic legacies, its facades and the residues of its disturbed surfaces. Our initial impetus was sparked by the last remnants of an archive: The 1976 book Johannesburg Firsts by librarian Anna Smith. Johannesburg is a city young enough for Smith to keep a biased score of its firsts. She presents a vast amount of information, from the city’s large industrial debuts all the way down to the first chicken hatched in Johannesburg. This story not only loses key details and facts in Smith’s retelling, but is charged with the racist assumptions of that era in apartheid South Africa. It left us wondering about what it would mean to consider Johannesburg in terms of its lasts.
Through the framing of the last and the lost, we ask questions of how to imagine a city in terms of its ends, its spectres – those which are “both revenant, that which returns from the past, and arrivant, that which is to come…” and its continued and future hauntings (Peeren 2014: 14). Here we think of the remnants of apartheid spatial planning, the facades of Johannesburg’s suburbs and enclaves, and the “emergence of diverse urban worlds within the same territory—strange mappings and blank figures, discontinuous fixtures and flows, and odd juxtapositions” (Mbembe 2004: 375).
Johannesburg is an exquisite corpse, collaged from other times and other places, “characterized by an unmediated adjacency” a “hybrid composition” that “betrays an attempt at synthesis” (Comaroff and Ong 2013: 85). It is a city that operates through forms of mimicry and mimesis “evident in the city’s contemporary architectural forms […] in its mania for wealth, for the sensational and the ephemeral, for appearances” (Mbembe 2004: 376).
We ask questions of appearance, surfaces and residues, the visible and invisible, the sonic, tactile, emotional and radioactive. We ask questions of what lives above the surface, what legacies can be resurfaced and revisited, and what logics govern the cities operations – it’s roads, it’s policies, it’s building codes, it’s highways, and the rivers of mine dust floating off the top of dunes scattered around the edges of the city, settling in to the fine tissue of our lungs. What reenactments of dark colonial and patriarchal legacies continue to govern our present interactions with and future imaginings of this city?
In a city weighed down by extreme inequality and infrastructural breakdown (Myambo 2019: 2), during a time of cataclysmic global environmental and health crises, how do we catalogue, capture and research a city’s lasts?
Johannesburg’s construction and collapse occurs simultaneously alongside projects of regeneration and renewal. In many spaces, the remains of old buildings stand beside temporary structures, “this psychic life inseparable from the metropolitan form: its design, its architectural topographies, its public graphics and surfaces” (Mbembe 2004: 375). Johannesburg’s old and new CBDs (developed in the 1930s and 1970s, respectively) attest to a crass modernist urge to expand new ground rather than adjust to the shifting stakes of city space.
Land-locked and without obvious natural resources to draw people to it, Johannesburg has relied on extraction, artifice and novelty. From its very beginnings, “Johannesburg was fashioned as the ultimate city of the nouveau riche capital, luminous and exciting, yet superficial and unforgiving … with no historically consistent aesthetic sensibility or genuine commitment to the cultural heritage of the past (Murray 2011: 9). Johannesburg is now an amalgamation of densely layered and built upon historical space, loosely attached to swathes of urban sprawl. It could even be described as a city that has nostalgia for the future rather than the past (Malcomess and Kreutzfeldt 2013: 18).
A central question that haunts this landscape is one of boundaries. What are this city’s physical boundaries and where are its edges? Ever more ingenuous security fences, wires and walls clearly outline who feels they have something that needs protecting and who does not. What of the rewritten CBD, the emergence of satellite financial districts in the north, like Sandton, and the superficial smart enclaves like that of the unrealised Modderfontein fantasy? What of the hollow ground underneath and the dusty atmosphere of constant construction and ruination above? Perhaps the most pertinent question this special edition of Ellipses asks is: In an “elusive” city that refuses definition, what can be pinned down as being specifically of this place, belonging enough to last? (Nuttall and Mbembe 2004).
The specters of Johannesburg are territorial: sticky and stubborn. In this special edition and with contributions that blur the lines of disciplinary practice; realised through code, static and moving images, 3D models, digital maps and interactive interfaces. All made with the intention of being accessed through screens and through them, we hope to engage with the specters that continuously create new bridges between past, present and future.
Territorial edges, dusty surfaces and sticky histories:
This city, like so many others, is threaded with encounters of lasts and losts. It is scattered with attempts to ensure its history remains, spread out across blue plaques and monuments. In the following collection of projects we see the messiness of official and unofficial histories play out. As the different projects take us along streets, under the earth, into forgotten places and future musings, there is a restlessness across them all. An undertone that says perhaps something refuses to be settled. This speaks to the haphazard assemblage of moving parts that make up Johannesburg. The projects here all, in different ways, pay close attention to the movement of people, plants, dust, data and the very visible and invisible workforces that make the city work. Overall, there is a sense of agitation and unease throughout.
Projects like those of Counterspace, Dorothee Kreutzfeldt and Brett Pyper are tied to the legacies of specific sites in the old CBD. We are drawn into potential versions and visions of Kwa Mai Mai market, a burnt and later demolished demolished building, and an historic cultural Jazz landmark. Where Pyper’s former Bantu Men’s Social Club is now an echoing heritage site, Kreutzfeldt reflects on the end days of The Bank of Lisbon through an unsettling video and sound piece. In close proximity to these sites geographically, Counterspace delves into the psychic and radioactive vibrations of a possible future Kwa Mai Mai market, where the toxic legacies of the mining industry mingle with the business savvy of Johannesburg’s vibrant informal market. Each of these projects render the aesthetics of the surface as hypnotic, and reach into the underworld of voices and messages: from the past or the future we don’t fully know.
Nkgopoleng Moloi draws us away from such histories and futures, with multiple (often conflicting) narratives, to pull us into her own vulnerable personal position walking the Braamfontein streets as a black womxn. These social and political architectures are all evocatively conjured with sound and movement.
Throughout this special edition, the senses are important. Nina Barnett and Jeremy Bolen make us aware of our skin and the surfaces of our devices, through a meditation on the ubiquitous dust that is, perhaps, the one intimate element that all inhabitants of Johannesburg must live with. In opening up the world of stones beneath the built and building city, Brigitta Stone-Johnson expands on the make-up of not only dust, but the deep time of continental shifts beneath the Braamfontein Ridge.
Riley Grant and William Shoki take disembodied experience into the realm of Marx and Zoom, questioning the always-on workforces of late capitalism. They pull into focus the labour practices behind the shiny surfaces and projections of Sandton, its digital interfaces and its hypnotising blurring of life and work. Lastly, the interruptions of DigiCleanse’s advertisements highlight the ubiquitousness of capitalism operating through the wellness industry, preying on the citizens of polluted and toxic cities who seek refuge in new age cleansing tools, both for mind and body.
The events of the past year have shifted how we think about traces, effects, marks, and remains. On both a micro and macro scale, from the surface of our lungs and groceries to our travel routes and movements, Johannesburg life has changed. Through the sightings and soundings of aspects of the city presented here we hope to draw attention to the screens which display, frame, code, render and augment our interaction with the idea of the city and its people and their uncovering through this creative research.
Comaroff, J. and Ong, K-S, 2013. Horror in Architecture. California: Novato
Malcomess, B. and Kreutzveldt, D. 2013. Not No Place: Johannesburg. Fragments of Spaces and Times. Johannesburg: Fanele.
Mbembe, A. 2004. “Aesthetics of Superfluity” in Public Culture 16(3). Duke University Press, pp 373–405
Murray, M. 2011. City of Extremes: The Spatial Politics of Johannesburg, Durham and London: Duke University Press.
Myambo, M. 2019. “Introduction: Jo’burg’s spatial dilemmas resonate globally” in Myambo, M. (ed), Reversing Urban Inequality in Johannesburg, London and New York: Routledge, pp 1-9.
Nuttall, S. and Mbembe. A. 2004. ‘Introduction: Afropolis’ in Nuttall, S. and Mbembe, A. (eds). Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis. Durham and London: Duke University Press. pp 1-36.
Peeren, E. 2014. The Spectral Metaphor : Living Ghosts and the Agency of Invisibility. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Smith, A. 1976. Johannesburg Firsts / Johannesburgse Eerstes, Johannesburg: Africana Museum.
Editorial by Issue III Editor: Mareli Stolp
Artistic Research accepts as fundamental the idea that the traditional separation in Western thought between theoretical and practical knowledge (episteme and phronesis) can and should be challenged. In Artistic Research approaches, theory and practice are seen as integrated and mutually informative. A central question in Artistic Research relates to the representation of research results: knowledge generated through material processes that are innate to art-making, and within which Artistic Research methodologies are often embedded, usually remain part of the personal realm of the art-maker and are not revealed beyond the artworks that result from these processes. Artistic Research seeks to expose the research processes that accompany art-making; it strives to reveal the tacit, embodied knowledges that are generated through creative processes, and to make these insights accessible in a shareable medium beyond the personal experience of the art maker.
It seems clear that such a medium should not be limited to traditional, textual representations of research results or outcomes. Much of artistic meaning is lost when the medium through which research results are communicated does not allow for the inclusion of entities beyond the limits of textual reportage: when, in other words, the textual presentation of theoretical concepts is privileged above that of artistic traces. One proposition to address this issue has been to create platforms that allow for textual as well as non-textual elements to constitute artistic research output. By now several examples of such platforms exist, including for example the Journal for Artistic Research, Ruukku, IMPAR and the Journal of Sonic Studies. Since 2016, Ellipses […] has offered an additional opportunity to explore the dissemination of artistic research through a digital platform that allows for such inclusive submissions.
The making of a submission for a platform such as […] requires authors to engage the myriad possibilities that digital media can offer to create a new ‘object’: an entity that integrates demonstrations or manifestations of art and art-making processes, and textually articulated research results, ultimately making a claim to new knowledge which exceeds the limits of propositional language. The articles presented in this third edition of […] respond to this imperative in different ways, while simultaneously portraying a strong focus on the theme of this volume, Embodied Methodologies. The situatedness of the artistic practitioner within a creation process and the discursive rendering of personal experience and tacit knowledge embedded in such a process are central to the methodology of much of artistic research output. This third volume of […] offers six presentations in which embodied and tacit knowledges are positioned as primary areas of investigation – projects where, in different ways, bodily and/or experiential knowledge is seen as central to the research methodology. Each submission approaches the rendering of the artistic research undertaken into a new object – the online submission – in creative ways meant to underscore, enhance and support the results of the individual research projects.
In Improvising Khoin’npsalms, Francois Blom, Garth Erasmus and Marietjie Pauw reflect on a series of performances completed in 2018 in Stellenbosch. For these performances, the three musicians – Blom on organ; Erasmus on recreations of indigenous instruments he constructed as well as saxophone; and Pauw on Western transverse flute – improvised over sections of 16th century Genevan psalm melodies played on the organ by Blom. Presented in five locations (different churches in the Stellenbosch area) over the course of five days, the project highlights issues related to South African decolonial history, using Walter Mignolo’s theories of ‘Decolonial Aesthesis’ as part of the methodological framework. Bev Butkow uses her art practice of weaving as a vehicle to explore embodiment of experiences of gendered life; shared labour; relationships to materials; the bodily act of weaving; and the entanglement of multiple roles of woman, artist, mother, researcher that encompass her artistic practice and artistic research engagement with that practice. Her submission Embodied entanglements/Entangled embodiments uses representations of the act of weaving and close-up images of the textiles to underscore these theoretical positions. You wouldn’t know god if he spat in your eye is an artistic research project by Sven Christian that engages the eponymous scroll by Dumile Feni from a curator position. By curating different authors’ perspectives of and responses to the Feni scroll, Christian provides access to the scroll in a way that circumvents the impossibility of exhibiting the scroll itself; an innovative approach to curation and the archive is thus offered and explored. Dance scholars and performers Kristina Johnstone and Thalia Laric use Michel Foucault’s proposition of ‘monsters and fossils’ to create a frame for a dance work that pushes at the boundaries of essentialised notions of identity, and explores representations of the body in dance as fossils: distant, approximate form of identity; and monsters: denoting ‘the emergence of difference’. Through photography, video and interactive text, Monsters and Fossils creates a sense of movement by means of interactive digital media, which accentuates the framework in which the dance work was made. Building My Internet Universe by Natalie Paneng invites the reader into an ‘internet universe’ created by Paneng, where she utilises the digital online space to create personae that communicate different messages relating to gender, ethnicity, culture, language and society. Connecting to other artists working in this domain, including Tabitha Rezaire and Bogosi Sekhukhuni, Paneng resists the limitations of contemporary digital art by working in the internet micro genre ‘vaporwave’, which relies on the use of digital aesthetics from times past to convey contemporary messages. Also working in the internet and digital domain, Carly Whitaker’s project Networked Embodiment traverses the margins of art-making and curatorial practice. Reporting on the project Floating Reverie, an online residency programme, her submission uses an interactive ‘map’ of participants in the residency, their work and interactions to create a rhizomic presentation of the residency and its organic growth. Whitaker engages the notion of embodiment by exploring the idea of an art world connected through many links and attachments often difficult to observe or discover.
These projects each explore the concept of embodiment as part of a methodology for artistic research, searching for ways to make tangible or accessible the ideas, feelings or expressive qualities that are intrinsic to each author’s art-making. The authors were encouraged to think of these submissions as forms of ‘art objects’ in their own right: the ways in which research processes and results are presented on this platform use all the possibilities offered by a digital space to support, enhance and enrich the content of each project. The authors were greatly assisted in this part of the endeavour by Digital Editor Tegan Bristow and her assistants Andrea Hayes, Benjamin Crooks and Glen Mudau.
Open the Gates
Editorial by Issue II Editors: Bettina Malcomess and Pervaiz Khan
[…] is an online publication and peer reviewed platform for creative research realised in live, digital formats. For this second issue of […] the editors, Bettina Malcomess, Pervaiz Khan made an open call for creative work across a range of disciplines that responds to another call: open the gates. The digital editor, Tegan Bristow, has managed the overall realisation of the web design with the assistance of MA research candidates at the Wits School of Arts, Alana Blignaut and Andrea Hayes, alongside Riaan Pietersen an independent backend developer.
The theme, Open the Gates suggests an actual and metaphorical opening of new possibilities, new assemblages and relations within sites of knowledge production. The call asked for projects that re-imagine and re-think the manifestation of creative research within the framework of an online journal. Ellipses foregrounds questions of the creative act and the modes of representation and remediation necessary and possible in the spaces of contemporary knowledge production online. Tangential to this thematic are questions of how creative research is measured, conceived and produced within the academy. An opening of the institutional gates and the boundaries of disciplines opens possibilities for the emergence of new and multiple languages, forms and modes of presentation.
This second edition of […] has focused on the realisation of original creative research work within the digital platform, as well as the translation of existing work into digital formats. A number of proposals were received from a range of artistic and academic practitioners and researchers, from which a selection of 6 projects was made.
The editorial process has involved a sustained conversation across technical, theoretical and artistic languages in order to arrive at a unique structure for each project. For existing work, the digital realisation has meant much more than documentation of an existing piece (be it performative, narrative or archival work) but a thinking that embeds the project’s form within the multiple logics of the online platform. The projects span work engaging directly with the education system and the archive as forms of embodied knowledge. Other works explore the possibilities of digital affect and audience.
Sumeya Gasa, Shameelah Khan and Dylan Valley’s Songs At The Gates looks at the after effects of the 2015/16 protests on students. It is the beginnings of a polyphonic repository providing an online space for ongoing reflection. This project sits in conversation with Thuli Gamedze’s Rethinking Education as Conversation, a digital iteration of the artist and writer’s physical mind mapping works, now unfolding on a digital wall, to ask urgent questions about the decolonisation of the higher education system. Jurgen Meekel’s Palinopsia /After Image interrogates presence and absence through the appearance and gradual disappearance of death mask-like images. This along with other pieces bear out the particularity of digital epistemologies and ontologies within the twin conditions of permanence and ephemerality. Here, Felix Kawitzky and Marianne Thesen Law’s Portal: the letters presents an archive for a disappearance, somewhere between a fiction and research project, the work brings together several collaborators who playfully stage the points at which the language of research as ‘search’ break down. Jacaranda Time: Diagrams of Collaboration, a collaboration between Cameron Harris, Mwenya Kabwe, Sonja Radebe and Tegan Bristow, also reflects the complexities of the translation of a live performance project into an interactive online archive. Jonathan Kane’s 60+: Queer Old Joburg works with material from the Gay and Lesbian Archive to present a kind of digital derive in a daring non-linear format that collapses the timeline, the collection, the interview and the map.
Each of these projects search for a language with which to manifest creative research by practicing a mode of what Irit Rogof terms ’embodied criticality’: ‘a state of duality … from which one cannot exit or gain a critical distance … the point of criticality is not to find an answer but rather to access a different mode of inhabitation … ‘. Embodied Criticality is thus compared by Rogof to a form of smuggling, of being both inside and outside. As part of this continual questioning of the place and value of creative research within the academy […] has, with the permission of peer reviewers (some of whom have chosen to remain anonymous) published peer reviews alongside projects. The replies of makers to peer reviews will in some cases also be visible, making transparent the normally opaque workings of academic processes of the valuation of creative research.
Ellipses edition II speaks to the exciting potential to rethink disciplinary boundaries within the arts, but also between arts and sciences. It attempts to explore and cross the divide between the physical and material space of artistic, musical and performative practices, critical theory and digital dissemination.
Ellipses Journal for Creative Research
Editorial by Issue I Editor and Journal Founder: Zen Marie
[…] is the title of the journal / online platform. In part, […] denotes a grammatical convention used to signal omitted elements from a text. As a title, […] is unpronounceable, resists being easily saved as a file or turned into a URL. All of these features have given the editorial board and the design team a few collective headaches. But it is precisely for these deviant features that […] (with no prefix or suffix) works as an appropriate title for the project. […] can be productively thought as a placeholder for that which is missing, omitted, forgotten or to come. How do we know what we know? What discourses, paradigms, tropes or structures shape or censor different kinds of knowledge production? […] implicitly asks these questions from the perspective of a range of practices, process and tactics that deviate from conventional, analytical and rational modes of meaning-making. […] is an experiment with form. It is a project that prioritizes sonic, visual, oral, performative, visceral, embodied, spatial and temporal forms of practice that are critical and invested with the questioning of how knowledge is produced and what the relevance of this knowledge is. […] is not a project to simply show works of art, theatre, performance, music etc. It is a re-coding of projects (existing or new) in terms of the structures and constraints provided by the internet. In this sense it is not a matter of representation, but of performatively articulating a version of the work for the peculiarities of the medium. In this sense, the shortfall between the potential liveness of the work and its design as a web page is imagined not only as lack or lag, but as a moment to think the work anew. […] is a challenge aimed at multiple targets. On the one hand it is a challenge to the knowledge economy of universities, accredited journals and the structures that come with this. On the other hand, it is a challenge to economies predicated on the sale of creative production through galleries and box offices, etc. Both academic and commercial economies, while supposedly different, do shape or manipulate what kinds of aesthetic or academic projects sink or swim. They produce paradigms that gatekeep, as they make assessments of legitimacy, value and viability. […] is critically embedded within both these economies (we are all invested in showing our work and our funding comes from a university). […] aims to critically engage with these important questions of how the aesthetic is complicit or imbricated within the various machinations of knowledge economies. As such it should become a platform that is able to change and morph to take on specific conceptual, formal and theoretical concerns at different times and in terms of changing contingencies. The first edition of […] is marked by a process both pragmatic and speculative. […] is the product of grant money from WITS University’s SPARC fund, and as such is designed to function as an accredited journal located within the WITS School of Arts (WSOA). The editorial board, all artists, musicians or performers, are also full time academic staff at WSOA (with the exception of Talya Lubinsky, a recently graduated MA candidate who acted as editor and project manager). The selection of the board prioritised representation from as many disciplines as possible. Each editor was asked to think through their practice – but also to think through their roles as pedagogues and institutional actors. The content for the first edition of […] was not developed through a call for submissions (however we will move towards this structure in subsequent editions) rather, each editor proposed a few works and we approached artists directly in this regard. As a result, the work reflects the interests and orientations of a group of individuals who occupy space in a particular moment, within a particular institution.