Title page for ETD etd-12072005-161121

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Adendorff, Adele
Email a.adendorff@chchome.cornwall.co.za
URN etd-12072005-161121
Document Title Nomadic figurations of identity on the work of Berni Searle
Degree M (Visual Studies)
Department Visual Arts
Advisor Name Title
Dr E Dreyer Committee Chair
  • ethnography
  • film
  • figuration
  • gaze
  • framing
  • in-between
  • objectification
  • Montage
  • pos-apartheid
  • memory
  • post-colonialism
  • South African art
  • Erasure exoticism
  • collage
  • body politics
  • Searle (Berni)
  • Deleuze (Gilles)
  • absence
Date 2005-05-08
Availability unrestricted
This study focuses on Berni Searle’s art, in which she searches for alternative figurations of identity. For Searle, identity as a category seems insufficient, as it cannot account for individuals of mixed heritage. Searle’s body of work testifies to an attempt to position and locate herself and marginalised subjects within post-apartheid South Africa. History, tradition, culture, race and gender are pivotal to Searle’s visual examination of her body and her identity, as these inscribe the subject at both symbolic and physical levels. Identity was investigated within South African context and the contexts of various postcolonial, postmodern and feminist debates. Searle’s works were investigated revealing nomadic subjectivity, as philosophised about by Gilles Deleuze and theorised about by Rosi Braidotti. Nomadic subjectivity promotes the notion that identity is fluid and located in the interstitial spaces between dichotomies and various debates. The habitation of such liminal spaces in the interstices between binary oppositions and views relates to what Homi Bhabha has defined as the “third space” and the notion of hybridity. Searle constructs her identity by affixing disparate aspects of her self. This is a continuous process whereby the artist inserts and erases her body. Searle’s works are investigated by using the film as a format. In Cinema 1: the movement-image (1986) Deleuze outlined three core cinematic elements, namely the frame, shot and montage, which are employed in an attempt to investigate the various processes at work in Searle’s artistic production. In addition to this, these filmic components were considered for their conceptual implications both in terms of the medium of film and symbolically. The concept of time, as discussed in Cinema 2: the time-image (1989) was utilised to investigate the implications of time for the nomadic subject and the notion of memory.

Copyright 2005, University of Pretoria. All rights reserved. The copyright in this work vests in the University of Pretoria. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the University of Pretoria.

Please cite as follows:

Adendorff, A 2005, Nomadic figurations of identity on the work of Berni Searle, MA dissertation, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, viewed yymmdd < http://upetd.up.ac.za/thesis/available/etd-12072005-161121 / >

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