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Title: Emerging landscapes : memory, trauma and its afterimage in post-apartheid Namibia and South Africa
Author: Brandt, Nicola
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 5857
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Visual records of place remain to a large degree inadequate when attempting to make visible the ephemeral states of consciousness that underlie the damage wrought by brutal regimes, let alone make visible the extraordinary histories and power structures encoded in images and views. This practice-led dissertation examines an emerging critical landscape genre in post-apartheid South Africa and Namibia, and its relationship to specific themes such as identity, belonging, trauma and memory. The landscape genre was traditionally considered inadequate to use in expressions of resistance under apartheid, particularly in the socially conscious and reformist discourse of South African documentary photography. I argue that, as a result of historical and cultural shifts after the demise of apartheid in 1994, a shift in aesthetic and subject matter has occurred, one that has led to a more rigorous and interventionist engagement with the landscape genre. I demonstrate how, after 1994, photographers of the long-established documentary tradition, which was meant to record 'what is there' in a sharp, clear, legible and impartial manner, would continue to draw on devices of the documentary aesthetic, but in a more idiosyncratic way. I show how these post-apartheid, documentary landscapes both disrupt and complicate the conventional expectations involved in converting visual fields into knowledge. I further investigate, through my own experimental documentary work, the ideologically fraught aspects of landscape representation with their links to Calvinist and German Romantic aesthetics. I appropriate and disrupt certain tropes still prevalent in popular landscape depictions. I do this in an effort to reveal the complex and troubled relationship that these traditions share with issues of willed historical amnesia and recognition in contemporary Namibia. Through my practice and the examination of other photographers' and artists' work, this project aims to further a self-reflective and critical approach to the genre of landscape and issues of identity in post-apartheid South Africa and Namibia.
Supervisor: Martin, Daria ; Reed-Tsocha, Katerina ; Gardner, Anthony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: cultural geography ; fine art ; Arican studies ; landscape theory ; photography ; history of photography ; post-documentary ; documentary ; history of art ; documentary photography ; post-colonialism ; apartheid ; post-apartheid ; colonialism ; Namibia ; video ; South Africa ; African studies