Page 1

Including works by:

Life Less Ordinary Performance and Display in South African Art

Brett Bailey Dineo Bopape Araminta de Clermont Steven Cohen Pieter Hugo Michael MacGarry Nandipha Mntambo Zanele Muholi Brett Murray Tracey Rose Athi-Patra Ruga Berni Searle Alfred Duggan-Cronin photographs selected by Robert Hart and Andrew Putter

Life Less Ordinary

Engaging photography, performance, video and installation, a younger generation shake loose from the epic narrative of race to play with, stage, transcend, celebrate and deconstruct more complex and nuanced subjectivities.

Probing, challenging, poetical, and at times hilarious and uncomfortably satirical, these works create space for a more enigmatic palette of subjectivities and feelings to come to the fore: stepping stones to new identities.

Edited by Anna Douglas

considers fictions of categorization and difference – be it the idea of race nationhood ethnicity sexuality religion belonging – explored by an extraordinary range of artists from South Africa.

Contrasted with the rarely seen, semi-staged photographs of early-twentieth century amateur photographer Alfred Duggan-Cronin and selected visual material from the Apartheid period, Life Less Ordinary conveys the performative nature of racial categorization.

ISBN 978–1–900809–71–9

Djanogly Art Gallery




Djanogly Art Gallery Lakeside Arts Centre

First published in 2009 on the occasion of the exhibition

Life Less Ordinary PERFORMANCE AND DISPLAY IN SOUTH AFRICAN ART 5 September – 15 November 2009 Djanogly Art Gallery Lakeside Arts Centre University Park Nottingham NG7 2RD Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England ISBN 978–1–900809–71–9 Front cover: Brett Bailey and Patricia Driscoll Lefa Letsika with his friend Cornelia 2003 Inside back cover: Alfred Duggan-Cronin Basuto woman at Nukong, Basutoland, 1926 Album photograph on page 32: Gérard Mermoz

Curated for the Djanogly Art Gallery by Anna Douglas Organised by Neil Walker, Visual Arts Officer, Djanogly Art Gallery Original photographs by Alfred Duggan-Cronin loaned by kind permission of the Board of Trustees of the McGregor Museum, Kimberley, South Africa Apartheid identity card images by kind permission of Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg Contemporary works loaned courtesy of: Brodie/Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg | Cape Town, South Africa Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa João Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa Whatiftheworld Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa The Project, New York, USA and the artists

Book and cover designed by Paul Leadbitter, Hands-on associates

Nelson Mandela images courtesy Eli Weinberg Collection, UWC Robben Island Mayibuye Archives, South Africa

Printed by Mablo Colour Limited

Essays © Ash Amin; Anna Douglas; Robert Hart; 2009 All works © the artists, except Alfred Duggan-Cronin

Printed on Robert Horne Revive 50:50 Silk, FSC certified as containing 50% recycled waste and 50% virgin fibre, manufactured to ISO 14001 environmental management standard, using pulp bleached using an Elemental Chlorine Free process.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any means mechanical, electronic, photocopying or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.

Contents 6

Life Less Ordinary Anna Douglas


For a Politics of Togetherness Ash Amin


Pass books : dompas


The Racialisation of Everything Ash Amin


Alfred Duggan-Cronin Robert Hart


Artists’ works


Brett Murray


Brett Bailey


Steven Cohen


Michael MacGarry


Araminta de Clermont


Dineo Bopape


Pieter Hugo


Nandipha Mntambo


Zanele Muholi


Tracey Rose


Berni Searle


Athi-Patra Ruga


List of artists’ works


Lena Booysen, a San woman, at Prieska in the Cape (she is filling ostrich eggs with water) 1933 Life Less Ordinary instigates conversations about human difference between a selection of Alfred Duggan-Cronin’s early-twentieth century photographs, a collection of Apartheid pass books, and contemporary artwork, in the context of South Africa. That all these works originate from South Africa is due to the country’s particular history of colonial­ism which lay the foundations for an extreme form of racial discrimination and segregation in the Apartheid system. The tragedy is that its abuse of biocultural difference, its fickle categorization and fictions of race, that would result in such human misery, cannot be consigned to the past. Today we are witnessing, as Ash Amin eloquently outlines, a troubling re-fictionalisation of race globally that is leading – as if we have learnt nothing – to discriminatory strategies endorsed, often at government level, as well as enacted on the street. Human difference (biological, physical and cultural, etc) is not going to go away in some magical puff of humanist smoke. The key issue, therefore, indeed the urgency for us today, is to decide how we make sense of difference; what we want do with it, and what values we place upon it – that we move towards creating as much space for shared worlds of experience as possible. For that reason, it is critical that rather than avoiding talking about the cultural differences between us – real or imaginary – we acknowledge them. And that we talk more. Life Less Ordinary provides the circumstances for having that conversation – a conversation about fictions of difference – that affects us all; regardless of whom we are and where we live.


Life Less Ordinary

Conversation one: a pinned down butterfly Look closely, I mean really close (you may need a

‘a matter of national pride’, that ‘must be

magnifying glass), you can see the numbers. There,

supported by all of us … (and) … will stand as a fine

on the ostrich egg, on the extreme right hand side

symbol of the African Renaissance’.1

Anna Douglas

of Lena Booysen crouching by the river. White it is, polished clean, with numbers, tattoo-like, in a

There are still people alive who can remember

vertical line. A clue. A clue to what exactly?

having to be cajoled by Alfred Duggan-Cronin to sit for a portrait. Suspicious of the camera, many

Chief Muhlaba, of the Tsonga. Self-important or

believing it to be bewitched, they were reassured

self-conscious. Defiant or uncomfortable. Reflect-

by his assistant Richard Madela, who spoke their

ive or melancholic. Maybe all of these things

language. From time to time an elderly sitter

simultaneously. A friend comments that he looks

enquires about their image, which the McGregor

like everything about him has disappeared, that he

Museum is only too happy to provide. Members of

is a man pinned down like a butterfly. Never-

the many South African Royal Families visit the

Chief Muhlaba of the Tsonga

theless, he is still alive. We can see the light in his

Duggan-Cronin Gallery and pay homage to their

photographed at Thabina, Northern Transvaal

eyes. He is looking in the distance. To where

ancestors. They are overjoyed by what they see.


exactly? The leopard skin mantle has seen better

And, youngsters, following up stories of their

days, it is moth eaten and worn, yet it does the job

parents and grandparents come to see for the first

for the photographer Alfred Duggan-Cronin. A

time an older and ‘authentic’ lost way of life.

mighty leopard has been hunted down, shorn of its skin (by brave young warriors), and enveloping his

All of this would no doubt have pleased Alfred

majesty confirms his royalness. Alfred must have

Duggan-Cronin immensely. His regret (not-

been pleased. The picture displays the appropriate

withstanding a degree of ambiguity given his own

majesty he no doubt was looking to capture. And

colonial position) for the rapid ‘encroachment of

the Chief, was he pleased too?

civilisation’ was often quoted: ‘I personally deplore this detribalisation and would give much to see it

Nelson Mandela appreciates Alfred Duggan-

checked … With the passing away of the old

Cronin’s photographs of the people of southern

people, traditions, customs and characteristics are

Africa: ‘… they are a unique representation of the

also vanishing, for the younger generation care

wealth and diversity of our many cultures’, noting

little about what their fathers forefathers did’.

‘the dignity and the individuality of the people who chose to stand in front of Duggan-Cronin’s

For eight-years Robert Hart has served as the

camera’. He believes you can see this shining out

curator of the 7,000 plus collection of photographs

from the camera, [even though the apparatus was

established by Alfred Duggan-Cronin in 1938,

held by a white man, accompanied by a young black

following the renaming of his house ‘The Lodge’ to

close companion and servant.] For Nelson Mandela,

the Duggan-Cronin Bantu Gallery. 2 Robert knows

the restoration and display of these photographs is

this collection intimately: in both the familial and


the scrupulous, top-to-bottom sense of the word.

to Leon Jacobson, be understood as fixed ‘tribal’

His fondness, when talking about the long-since-

names as they were in the photographer’s day, for:

deceased photographer, and attachment to each

‘Group identity is now understood to have been

and every one of Duggan-Cronin’s photographs is

much more fluid. The terms by which people

palpable and infectious.

identified themselves reflect clan or chiefdom allegiances which in themselves were flexible and

Having received training in photography

which depended upon political interests. Commun-

conservation from world authority Anne

ities would split and adopt new names or merge

Cartier-Bresson (the famous photographer’s

with a more dominant group and adopt the name

grand-daughter), he has carefully handled and

of that group’. 3 However, it is believed that the

scrutinised each and every glass plate, negative,

terminology that Duggan-Cronin used (and that is

vintage print and album with an unwavering

used throughout this publication), is one he

commitment to their future survival. It comes as no

obtained from the people themselves. On most of

surprise, therefore, that he notices things. Like the

his photographs a place, a date and when he

same faded leopard skin mantle being draped over

photographed individuals is noted on the reverse,

the shoulders of more than one royal subject.

often this was accompanied by the family tree of

Necklaces and headdresses that adorn the gracious

the person (should they be a significant community

heads and elegant necks of more than one sitter.

member). However, in captioning images for his

Or the suspiciously alike baskets and clay pots that

albums, for his numerous exhibitions – at home and

Duggan-Cronin so loves to have women balance

abroad – and indeed in his own Catalogue of The

atop their heads, demonstrating and displaying

Permanent Collection of NATIVE STUDIES at his

their grace and poise.

museum in Kimberley, Duggan-Cronin was not averse to adding to these more factual descriptions

Alfred Duggan-Cronin collected artefacts on his

artistic and emotive captioning that invoked the

travels, which he brought back to Kimberley and

popular artistic genres of the day. Scenes depicting

displayed alongside his photographs – hung

young men and women might be lent a romantic

salon-style – at his museum. His photographic field

title alluding to young love or the muses; while

trips were encouraged by the first director of the

titles for groups of young men might invoke

McGregor Museum, a Miss Maria Wilman, and one

suggestions of masculine bravery or harmless

might assume that a good personal as well as

youthful bravado (young dandies having fun on

professional relationship existed between them.

the town) depending on the pose, dress and

Could it be that Duggan-Cronin was fortunate

accessories involved. Women, on the other hand

enough to be able to borrow museum artefacts

and in keeping with the gendered roles of

from the McGregor Museum to take with him on

European society, were unsurprisingly allotted a

his photographic excursions, ostrich eggs for

domestic fate. Whereas childrearing, housewifery

instance? And what of the jumble of household

and male constancy provided the social framework

items in front of his field tent, are these well-

for his photographs of women, it is also true that

seasoned props, carried along some 128,000 kms

some of his finest portrait works (what the press

over some 20 years, or acquisitions on their way to

referred to as his ‘piece de resistance’, sic) are what

being accessioned to the Duggan-Cronin display in

Duggan-Cronin referred to as his Black Madonnas

Kimberley. Or both?

– taken in each tribe. Old age would variously depict the passing of time or wisdom.

Duggan-Cronin’s work is frequently described as ‘ethnographic’; both today and in the past. And

Alfred Duggan-Cronin was clearly no avant-gardist

indeed, between 1924 and 1954 Cambridge

– neither artistically nor socially. In 1904 he

University Press published 11 volumes of his

travelled through Europe and in 1913 undertook a

photographs (accompanied, not, however, by his

‘grand tour’ of Italy. And whilst one can only

descriptions, but by ‘authorative’ texts of well

speculate, it seems more than probable that his

known anthropologists of the day). Duggan-

exposure to the great art collections of Europe had

Cronin’s original descriptions should not, according

a revelatory and life-long effect upon his


photography. His confidence not just with the technicalities of photography (which were always challenging out in the field) but with its artistic possibilities grew over the years. And from his earliest extant album of 1908 to the final one of 1939, we see him approach his subject – the

Opposite page, top to bottom Duggan-Cronin in one of the 13 gallery rooms 1951

picturesque landscape of Southern Africa and its

Watonga women fetching water from the Mazoe

indigenous people – with growing artistic

River near Mkota, Southern Rhodesia 1939

confidence and eloquence. Notable are exquisite portraits from which the dignity (and nobility) of the subject radiate – in great part due to

Duggan-Cronin and Madela at Katombora, Zambia 1930

Duggan-Cronin’s use of natural light and arrangement of clothing. Whilst bound up in a complex, but subtle power relationship of white photographer-to-black subject that we may never fully fathom, we might wonder if it is possible that such sensitive portraits – that went far beyond the curiosity, scientific or otherwise, of the ethnologist – could emerge without the humanity (and compassion) of Duggan-Cronin being genuinely present at the time. His picturesque scenes relay artistic clichés – with references to Millet for instance; they tend towards romanticisation but are never derogatory. His landscapes and groupings of white subjects were equally romantic. Alfred Duggan-Cronin was motivated by what might sound deeply colonial and patronising to us today, but was nonetheless born out of a ‘genuine interest in the Native and some remorse that his culture should fade away’. Through photography he aimed to ‘capture the fine physique of the Native, his industry and his peculiar customs, his superstitions, his art and all the different aspects of his life … for posterity’. 4


And herein lies the paradox of his sentiment and his

(known also as African Manhood)

Bechuana mine worker, Kimberley, undated photographic project. Duggan-Cronin, as far as we know, received no formal training as an ethnologist. And the methodology that sustained his project over nearly forty years was vague: a combination of his ambition for documentary ‘truthfulness’ and his own artistry: ‘Each picture gives the ethnologist so true a record and still could be hung by itself in any exhibition as an outstanding example of photographic beauty’. 5 His early photographs were taken in the Kimberley mining compounds of De Beers in which he worked. There he witnessed the pitiful conditions of

Above Xhosa mother and child, Eastern Cape 1928


Right Compound study showing workers in tribal dress on mine dump, Kimberley (captioned by DugganCronin as A Zulu impi on the march) Below Abraham de Bruyn, a Korana man, Kimberley (compound study) undated migrant labourers forced into mine-work by a

bizarre scenes indisputably afforded the labourers

wide-spread system of rural taxation. Duggan-

an alternative form of dignity which the horrors of

Cronin recognised that colonialism would inevit-

their actual working life did not permit.

ably lead to the transformation of their traditional rural cultures and was determined to record as

These photographs slide between the ‘authentic’

much of it as possible. However, the compound

and the ‘fictional’. They express on the one hand

photographs are a bewildering amalgamation of

Duggan-Cronin’s genuine and committed desire to

genres, expressing Duggan-Cronin’s reaction to

preserve what he believes to be out there, awaiting

the situation, as well as the unique opportunities

destruction by the forces of ‘Civilisation’, yet at the

afforded by close contact with the migrant

same time they disavow the actual lived circum-

labourers. His compound portraits are full of

stances – incorporating urbanization and hybridiz-

pathos and convey the misery of the men, while

ation – that these men, and all those people he met

opportunities for focussing upon their physical

and photographed on his expeditions, were

‘strength and beauty’ gave rise to classical studies

experiencing, in adjusting and being incorporated

that alluded to ancient sculpture – and yet at the

into the new modern colonial project.

same time have more than a trace of the fetishised, risqué body-building magazine about them.

In the light of world-wide post-colonisation the disciplines of anthropology and ethnography have

Duggan-Cronin began photographing men in the

had to reassess their purpose and value. Anthropo-

traditional dress that many had brought with them

logists have to question their entitlement to know-

to the compound. Such scenes vary in scope, from

ledge, and ask themselves why they choose to

small conversational groupings to elaborate full

study those ‘other’ than themselves.

scale scenes that transposed the actual environment to some far-away place in the imagination of

Alongside the assertion that anthropological

the (white) viewer. Surely these scenes are the

knowledge, like all other forms of knowledge is

make-believe of Duggan-Cronin, stage-sets in

partial (meaning incomplete and subjective) it is

which the labourers perform Duggan-Cronin’s idea

now understood by professional anthropologists

of their race and culture? Nevertheless, these

that rather than offering a science of discovery,


Conversation two: bodily fictions observing and measuring ‘the facts’ of difference,

Tickets for The Apartheid Museum in Johannes-

The Act required that every citizen would be

anthropology is alternatively a science of

burg are plastic credit-card size cards declaring

subject to one authorised system of racial classifica-

invention. Ethnographic texts – photographs,

‘Non-white’ or ‘White’. Simulating ones fate of

tion, the result of which would be preserved in the

objects, films, etc – are a form of representation

birth under Apartheid South Africa, the desig-

form of an official identity document to be carried

and not: ‘accurate descriptions made of one culture

nation determines which museum entrance you

at all times. Pass books were a key tool of control

by another, but by the writing of one culture of

will take. Pushing through the painfully grinding

governing the lives of all non-whites. Spontaneous


turnstile, two short but harrowing passageways

and humiliating stop and search tactics regulated

lead through an overwhelming maze of crates from

all daily movement. The dompas with its ‘portrait’

Today, as well as provoking an aesthetic response,

which distant faces loom large. Within each cage

picture, not only verified the owner’s identity, it

the work of Alfred Duggan-Cronin may be under-

are blown-up copies of early identity cards, identity

branded him or her as a fixed racial ‘type’. The

stood as hybrid and syncretic representations of

books and the hated pass books (or dompas). The

photograph – so small and otherwise innocuous

‘actual moments’ – the preservation of cultural

passage culminates at the just-less-than-life-size

– would in this context confirm, whilst continually

conditions and situations – and as semi-staged

photograph of the feared and despised

reproducing, the biocultural codes of that ‘type’:

tableaux that convey something of the photo-

Government Racial Classification Appeal Board.

answering the leading question what does a non-white look like?

grapher’s own ‘native fantasies’. It is perhaps ironic that these photographs, produced at the time of

This is a monument of sorts. And commemorates all

colonialism, have the potential to make visible (and

those whose lives were ruthlessly torn apart by the

Mass protests against the pass laws formed a key

therefore empower) personal as well as collective

implementation of the separate development

pillar of anti-apartheid resistance. When Mandela

histories. Whilst at the same time, for others they

policies of the National Party. To the mothers and

famously burnt his dompas, (significantly orches-

are representations and objects of colonial

fathers who struggled to explain to their two

trated as a staged public act recorded on film), he

appropriation and fetishised difference.

children why only one of their family – the fairer

did so fully recognizing the symbolism of his

girl – could play on the beach and swim in the sea;

gesture. Not only was he defying the law, and

Over 90 years, response to Alfred Duggan-Cronin’s

to husbands and wives who regardless of being

making himself effectively immobile, he was

work – in all its various forms – has continuously

married would come to fear prosecution under the

additionally, and most importantly, symbolically

changed and continues to do so. As artistic and

Immorality Act. And to everyone living in South

– as well as in effect – pronouncing himself

ethnographic objects they continue to write and

Africa for whom Apartheid created different

‘invisible’ within the logic of a State regulatory

perform ideas of race and racial difference for new

worlds of experience due to the idea of race.

system that required visibilty as a means to govern and control.

audiences. The paradox, perhaps, is that while Duggan-Cronin photographed customs and rituals

While segregationism pre-existed the National

that distinguished indigenous peoples from white

Party’s election in 1943, its circumstances were not

Many commentators have remarked that the

society (eg initiation ceremonies) and that the

governed by fixed laws. Under Apartheid the

National Party was characterized by an all-consum-

language used to describe his works consistently

National Party aimed for a formal and totalizing

ing anxiety concerning identity. However, in the

emphasised their ‘authentic nativeness’ (read

structure of racial governance. The Population

absence of ‘scientific’ proof to account for racial

different from white), his photographs are, in fact,

Registration Act of 1950 was a key pillar of the

segregation – only the social ‘commonsense’ of

characterised by humanist values, expressed

Apartheid system. It identified four different racial

white South Africans – the apartheid system they

through western archetypes that advance the idea

groups: White, Coloured, Bantu (Black) and others.

initiated involved a never-ending and progressively

of commonality and universality across black and

However, over the next two decades the racial

bizarre system of law making, regulation, categor-

white society: motherhood, love, courtship, the

classification of both the Coloured and ‘other’

izing and policing that bordered on the clinically

idea of community, and most interestingly, the

groups would grow until by the early 1980s there


idea of an ordered society, governed by royals.

was a total of nine different racial groups identified and regulated: Coloured, Malay, Asiatic,

Observing (and recording) bodily differences

Alfred Duggan-Cronin is caught up in, indeed is

Coloured Other, Other Coloured Other, Other

between people was a primary starting point in

produced by and yet simultaneously tries to side-

Malay Other. (In a surreal twist of its own logic the

determining race. However, what constituted its

step the philosophies of racial difference. By the

Government allotted the Japanese a classification

‘signs’ would become increasingly preposterous.

1950s, a white man of his class and position in South

of honorary ‘White’ due to their importance in

There was the near-comic pencil test – in which the

Africa could not afford to ignore the anxieties

international trade.)

texture of hair (the springier being able to resist

around race.

the falling out of a government issue pencil) was earnestly used as a government approved indicator


Conversation three: the lightness of being Today a space has opened up for artists in post-

Despite their different motivation, Bopape, Patra

Apartheid South Africa that is lighter than in

and Rose satirise and invent archetypes and stereo-

previous generations. Freed from the burden – as

types, enacting them themselves. Some might find

some have described it – of making art in service of,

their irreverence dangerously teetering on the

or under the shadow of ‘the struggle’ for freedom,

fringe of celebration and vilification of the

a new context for making art is flourishing. Belong-

primeval ‘other’, that conforms to (older) white

ing to a situation – a new South Africa – the artists

cultural norms of ‘native’ culture.

brought together in Life Less Ordinary make work that shares a point of focus, but they are not part of

There is a tendency, though not exclusively,

a movement (nor a community), and each brings

towards self-representation and working with the

with them a different impetus and artistic

material of one’s own body (Bopape, Cohen,


Mntambo, Murray, Patra, Rose, Searle) that could be regarded as a reaction against the surveillance

of any strain of ‘native blood’. Social status was also taken into account, based on the ‘known fact’ that

Apartheid focused obsessively upon the body – the

of ‘the other’, or indeed an empathy with ‘the

only whites could appreciate, and therefore enjoy,

racialised body of ‘the other’, around which it wove

surveyed’ – that suggests the gaze should turn

the trappings of civilized culture.

its fantastical fictions. Whilst the body was address-

safely inward.

ed by some contemporary (mainly ‘European’) Progressively and without a pre-determined list of

artists in the 1970s and 1980s, in the main this was

In Berni Searle’s earliest works she engages her

fixed racial characteristics to draw on, the

an oblique reference, with the majority of artists

body (identified as the autobiographical ‘me’) to

Apartheid system improvised with more and more

engaged in a more overt and political critique of

explore her cultural heritage under Apartheid’s

novel (and frequently contradictory), approaches

the Apartheid system. An alternative tendency

system of classification (which, as has been pointed

to racial classification. Race came to be not just a

that has been observed is a predilection for

out, developed ever more convoluted and insidi-

matter of how one looked, but involved a wider

apologizing – often expressed as loathing ‘for the

ously hierarchical categories pertaining to

conceptualization that would eventually lead to

self or otherwise’.

‘Coloured’). More recent work, whilst still anchored in cultural memory and experience, reassigns her

the racialisation of everything and anything. Race was insinuated in all aspects of everyday life, to be

The contemporary artists in Life Less Ordinary

body to that of ‘everywoman’ (from autobio-

found everywhere and in everything – in clothes,

occupy quite different ground. They feel free to

grapher to biographer) or even witness (in the

food and drink, even furniture – each of which

disconnect from the burdensome and anguished

sense of ‘I am here telling you a story, I am insepar-

could be thought of as ‘european’ or ‘native’. The

past and Apartheid’s effect upon the racialised

able from that story but its not my story’).

way a person walked, how they ate, even how

subject. Nevertheless, the body has not been

someone smiled was racially classifiable. Race

abandoned and each is aware of the complex

Bailey, Bopape and Ruga’s strategy of invoking the

became an attribute of all lived experience.

configuration of meaning (social, cultural, political,

mystical and the ‘primitive’ thrusts the (white) fear

psychic) that is constituted and made manifest

of ‘native’ culture back out into society. Nandipha

In an ironic acknowledgement of the mutability of

within the body. How each artist conceives of the

Mntambo’s sculptures – made from cow hide that

‘race’, the Apartheid State permitted people to

embodied subject reflects their different processes

she forms around her own and her mother’s bodies

challenge their categorization. By the end of 1964

and concerns.

– reference an older traditional practice of indigenous tribes of wearing animal skin clothing. Her

The Racial Classification Appeal Board – set up especially for this purpose – had received 3,940

The artist Athi-Patra Ruga’s pronouncement

exploration of the limits of the representation of

appeals of which 2,832 were resolved successfully.

against ‘The Unholy Trinity: Race, Gender, Sex-

female form is a gentler corrective strategy. In

But the fact remains, that perceptions of one’s

uality’ points to a rejection of social construction-

engaging her own body masquerading in part-

racial identity were inescapable.

ism as it provides little space for existential experi-

animal part-human form, she explores expecta-

ence. This trusting of and confidence in ones own

tions of feminine beauty, both Western and

Racial identity was habitually performed, con-

personal understanding of the world has, no


sciously or not it was there, always, for everyone to

doubt, encouraged a greater playfulness in art –

‘see’. It lay at the heart of any judgment of the

illustrated by the exuberant performative work of


Cohen, Patra, Bopape and Rose.

13 Pioneer artist Steven Cohen’s grotesque, spontan-

Unavoidably in doing so they turn human subjects

Opposite page

eous public interventions defined an alternative

into ethnographic objects that are (symbolically)

Nelson Mandela burning his pass book

form for ‘disruptive resistance’ throughout

‘owned’ by their viewers.

during the 1952 Defiance Campaign

Apartheid’s latter years. Criticisms of his performative work are characteristic of queer culture –

Michael MacGarry tries to side-step this impossible

being too concerned with surface and style to offer

conundrum by laying bare the process of his photo-

any real consolation or transform-ation to those

graphic practice. It is staged, obviously, and tells us

too disadvantaged to feel empowered. However,

as much. Superficially the work deals with the lam-

in Chandelier one feels his genuine humanist

entable litany of stereotypes that photographically

attempt at making – albeit short-lived – a differ-

define the African continent, particularly in the

ence to those he performed amongst, and for those

Media. However, MacGarry shuns a didactic

whom he now performs for on film – us.

approach, in favour of binding two strategies:


documentary photography and performativity,


As with theatre director Brett Bailey, Cohen works

that along with an overlay of irony makes the work

Thandabantu – a photographic journey through

with the aesthetic of the abject, plundering the

calculatingly ambiguous.

Southern Africa, McGregor Museum, Kimberly, South Africa, 1 2007

unconscious of popular society, dragging out its prejudices and the histories it would rather forget

Afrikaner culture was characterized by anxiety over

to put these on public show for all to chew over. The

‘whiteness’, that led to bold but ludicrous tamper-


two artists produce works that are uncomfortable

ing with the truth of world history. Preposterous

The history of the word ‘Bantu’ is politically

for us all, yet sublimely so. Bailey and Cohen use

myth-making recast the Afrikaners from poor

complex. In the 1930s it was considered a

transgressive performance (Cohen directing him-

white farmers, to a ruling ‘European elite’ fit to

progressive alternative to the term ‘native’ and was

self as subject/artist /protagonist, Bailey directing


adopted by many black organizations. In the late 40s the word was appropriated by Apartheid and

others) to decentre and destabilise racial and

used pejoratively of black people.

gender categories. Together their work illustrates

Such stories and this fact lie somewhere to the

the proposition that ‘identities’ – national, racial,

background of Brett Murray’s work in which the

gender, etc – are (per)formed.

artist performs the everyday task of mowing the


lawn, South African style: bare-chested in casual

Jacobson L

Documentary photography had a venerable place

attire, but for a Rococo chalked wig and being

The development of an ethnographic

in the struggle against Apartheid, charged with

‘blacked-up’. A work that might once have been


providing an authentic image of South Africa to the

thought heretical in liberal circles (and still might) is

Thandabantu – a photographic journey through

wider world. And, as we have already seen, photo-

transposed as a vaudeville exaggeration intended

Southern Africa 8 2007

graphy has also a longstanding function in visual-

to prick the sensibilities of those too (politically)

McGregor Museum, Kimberly, South Africa

ising ‘the other’– with all its attendant contradict-

sensitive to laugh wryly at the current predicament

ions and ramifications. What makes a photograph

of competing cultural values.


4 Quoted in The Diamond News and The S.A.

an apparatus of oppression, or one of empowerHow does a country recast itself when the state of

Watchmaker and Jeweller, November 1951

emergency is over? 5

Pieter Hugo and Araminta de Clermont’s approach commences with being inquisitive, enquiring into

By allowing a more enigmatic palette – a ‘carnival

The Saturday Evening News

the lives of others: a classic position for the (ethno-

of subjectivities’ – to come to the fore as a stepping

November 13 1937

graphic) photographer, but one that each tries to

stone towards defining new identities.

redirect. Zanele Muholi engages in a more politi-


cally articulated project of ‘empowering others’

Lidchi H

(those marginalised due to their sexuality and

The Poetics and the Politics of Exhibiting

race). What unites them all, temporarily, is their

Other Cultures

desire to visualize those who live ‘outside of the

in Representation: Cultural Representations

visual economy’: to visualise difference and chal-

and Signifying Practices, Open University Press,

lenge the meanings we attach to those differences.

Milton Keynes, 1997


Ash Amin is Professor of Geography and Executive Director, Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University

Towards a politics of togetherness

For a Politics of Togetherness Ash Amin Racial biopolitics inscribed in state practices and laws, national myths and narratives of cohesion, public conventions and discourse, surveillance and disciplinary regimes renders bodily difference total, calling for a comprehensive approach against bodies judged to be undesirable. Biopolitics regulates what gets through from the history of race and how human difference is regulated. The present is an acutely dangerous bio-political moment in the West, after the war on difference unleashed by 9/11. Post 9/11, the idea of the ‘providential’ society the society that must provide for all on its shores regardless of colour, class or religion has been displaced by the idea of the catastrophe society, the society that must prepare itself against heightened global risk, uncertainty and hazard. The state and its majorities are called to arm themselves against the apocalypse to come, from terrorism, immigration, climate change, global pandemics by preparing for the future in a warlike fashion.

There must be we are told border closure, minute surveillance, public vigilance and suspicion, narratives of doom and threat, exercises in simulation and preparedness, and personification of threat through open condemnation of human ‘types’ – who no longer require accurate identification (veils, beards, rucksacks, accents, colour will do as a proxy). Treatment of Muslims, immigrants, asylum seekers, viral threats are all interchangeable. This racialized politics breeds on fear and anxiety, it turns neighbour against neighbour, it closes down society and inquisitiveness, it makes life hell for those marked as a threat. The new racism converts an everyday racism of a watchful or anxious nature into a racism of total condemnation. Race vicariously defined has become a call-to-arms against insecurity and uncertainty.

In our present circumstance multiculturalism an ethically flawless celebration of difference, recognition of and hospitality towards the stranger seems unrealistic and off-target. The present urgency demands a critique of biopolitics and another politics of bodily difference – towards a systematic exposure of its intricacies and its harms. Towards neither a politics of difference after multiculturalism nor a politics of sameness after assimilationism but a politics of togetherness Today we need a sustained campaign of public exposure by artists, musicians, young people, social movements, schools, and more of the excesses and madness of contemporary technologies and practices of surveillance and vilification of the vulnerable stranger recast as devil. The anticipatory exercises and daily intrusions of the catastrophe state border controls, street cameras, stop-and-searches, media outings and so on need to be ridiculed, shown unnecessary, a blunt weapon against complex and often veiled sources of hazard and risk. The presently closed public debate on security and community cohesion currently controlled by the apologists of the catastrophe state needs to be ventilated by multiple voices, opened up to consideration of the implications of the militarized society and the kind of future it holds not just for minorities, but for all citizens of the world.


Complex problems of uncertain provenance require: a new public awareness open to the idea that living in an uncertain and risk-prone world requires the imagination and effort of all stakeholders, the wisdom of diverse traditions and experiences, including those of the marginalised and the minoritised the mobilisation of distributed knowledge, trust, collective effort, courage, and above all, not making unnecessary enemies

a studied hope towards the future, and an ethic of the commons, to be cultivated in the media, public conversations, music, poetry, visual culture, and more, one that fills in the commons as the silent regulator of social life

renewing the case for the providential society, for public spaces and services shared by diverse groups, for civic republicanism and active public debate, for community as the clash of diversity, for bridging difference by making public issues of common concern (well-being, safety, work, environmental sustainability)

an anti-racism that builds on the idea of collective well-being, but that is also supported by uncompromising action against discrimination and incitement, helping to confine everyday racism to watchfulness rather than harm, curiosity rather than hate

People from different backgrounds need each other to survive an uncertain future

Today, it is not a politics of difference, but a politics of togetherness and shared space that is required

17 The Pass Laws Act 1952 required black South Africans over 16 years to carry a ‘pass book’. The law was repealed in 1986, when a uniform identity document for all races was introduced.









































Racial categorization has always relied on fictions of difference made to count as the irreconcilables of essence, sometimes justified on grounds of biological difference, sometimes on grounds of so-called cultural incompatibility.


The Racialization of Everything Could it be argued that as the roots of human

Ash Amin

affiliation in the postcolonial West become increasingly cosmopolitan in some shape or form, the more implausible becomes an unambiguous politics of racial superiority? Does not the intensity of everyday mixture between people from different worlds challenge the centrality of racially defined measures of human worth? Is it not the case that the possibilities of adaptation offered by sophisticated forms of medical, genetic and technological engineering are questioning the very meaning of what it is to be human? Surely, the time of belonging based on racial categorization has finally passed? Originally commissioned for

Or is it that the politics of race has always rested on

the exhibition and catalogue

fictions of categorization dislodged from the unity

Apartheid: The South African Mirror

and crossings of human difference?

by kind permission of Pep Subir贸s

Centre de Cultura Contemporania de Barcelona, 2007


Moore J and Desmond A Introduction in Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Race Penguin Classics, London, 2004 Code L Ecological Thinking: The Politics of Epistemic Location Oxford University Press, Toronto, 2006 Moore J Socializing Darwinism: Historiography and the Fortunes of a Phrase in Levidow, L (ed) Science as Politics, Radical Science Series 20 London: Free Association Books, 38–80, 1986

Consider the gap between Darwin and the claims made in his name that bear little resemblance to the original thought. Darwin forged an evolutionary link between man and ape, invoking the laws of natural selection, or ‘survival of the fittest’. He insisted, however, on the unity of the human race, a single species common stem joining the peoples of the world. Thus, he chose to explain human difference by ‘sexual selection’, not natural selection. He remained acutely conscious of the perils of categorization, he fervently disagreed with the science and ethics behind slavery and racial discrimination and he wrote of the human obligation to care for the weaker members of the species (Moore and Desmond, 2004). For him, the principle of a single humanity was crucial as the basis of responsibility towards other members of the species (even though he believed, along with his times, in a hierarchy of peoples on a scale of civilization from savagery to White North European). Darwin’s sensitivity to the demands of responsible categorization (Code, 2006), did not stop a science of sub-division of the human species from emerging, to gradually open the way to biological racism. Most markedly, the ‘science’ of eugenics and the much later abomination that bore the name of Social Darwinism (itself a problematic term – see Moore 1986), tore into the idea of the unity of the human race. Their conceit was to separate humans into races that could be treated like separate species in competition with each other. Thus, they claimed that evolutionary competition yielded some races to rule and take forward progress, and others to be domesticated or eliminated through varied atrocious acts. Darwin saw this as a fact of life, not a moral good.

The result is the all too familiar history of biological racism justified on grounds of nature’s orders, affording no conscience, since there was no human equivalence to be found between the oppressor and the oppressed.

Anderson K

Therefore, with conviction and goodwill, supported by an elaborate science of measurement and classification, the Aboriginal could be cast out to nature, the Jew ghettoised or exterminated, the Black chained, the Oriental suspected, the Muslim fanaticised, and the rest – including the labouring classes and women – infantilised, objects to be tamed (Anderson, 2006; Gilroy, 2004; Rai, 2004).

Race and the Crisis of Humanism Routledge, London, 2006

From Biology to Culture and Phenotype

Gilroy P After Empire: Melancholia or Convivial Culture? Routledge, London, 2004 Rai A Of monsters: biopower, terrorism and excess in genealogies of monstrosity Cultural Studies 18 (4) 688–70, 2004

The brutalization of peoples through the lens of biological racism continues, as the events of Bosnia, Rwanda, Iraq and Darfur tragically bear witness. However, its footing in a sure science of racial categorization and incommensurability has become less secure. This is partly due to the rise of a more exact science of human difference and evolution, one that reveals (through the human genome project) that 99.9 percent of genes are shared by all humans. The ‘residual’ genetic variation is not consistently or homogenously distributed in a way to justify any sort of ‘racial’

classification. It is also the result of doubt cast due to increased human travel, inter-marriage and awareness, the spread of anti-racist education and ideology, along with the struggles and achievements of various liberation movements, and the emergence of pluralist norms of belonging and identity. A benign reading would propose that the world is confronted by a more entangled, and increasingly decentred human ontology, one not reducible to the imperatives of race. Yet the virus of racism remains rampant. An everyday ontology of mixture, interdependence and cultural hybridization has not produced an ethos of openness towards difference, a desire to cross the border. On the contrary,

as human faith

declines in bridging ideologies such as humanism, secular universalism and transcendental forms of thought and faith, a new politics of difference has emerged, attentive to human variegation imagined as cultural difference. Typically, in some parts of the world, biological racism has given way to cultural racism. ‘We/they should be left free to practice our/their own customs and live with our/their own people’ has become the standard mantra, repeated alike by subaltern and hegemonic communities. The language of self-preservation, freedom and harmony is invoked by majorities and states seeking to justify the exclusion or containment of racialized others, as it is by minorities fighting for resources, rights or enclaves of their own. Culture has become the excuse and explanation for racial separation, building on a long lineage of cultural/biological coding.

This desire for autonomy across

the human divide marks a thin line between the celebration and vilification of difference. As soon as cultural difference is perceived as a threat to national or global stability and security, as revealed by contemporary Western anxieties about Islam, multiculturalism slips into cultural racism, intent on naming and personifying the habits and mores that offend, so that the wayward can be domesticated, crushed, eliminated. No room then for cultural celebration, especially when the differences can be mapped onto biological definitions of race. The cosmopolitanism of human life (in some parts of the world), therefore, is not eliminating the grip of race. Indeed, it could be speculated that as nation, territory, class, and the transcendental come to provide less and less of a sense of place and community in the 21st Century than they have done hitherto, race is returning once again as a prime signifier of difference on grounds of its persuasive powers. This at


24 Saldhana A Psychedelic Whiteness: Rave Tourism and the Viscosity of Race in Goa University of Minnesota Press, Wisconsin, 2007 Swanton D Race and Becoming: the Emergent Materialities of Race in Everyday Multiculture unpublished PhD thesis, Department of Geography,

least is the speculation I offer in this contribution. I wish to argue, however, that a new mode and modality of differentiation is coming to the fore, to strengthen the persuasive powers of race. Along with recent new thinking on race (Saldhana, 2007; Swanton, 2007), I wish to propose that judgements of racial phenotype – phenomenological observations of human body and behaviour – are coming to act as a tool of rapid racial evaluation and categorization. These are summations that continually accommodate new bodily attributes and new persons into racial categories with enduring viscosity and stickiness. This is because the summations are imbued with emotive energy and tacit power, forcing judgements that enrol the senses, pre-cognitive reflexes, varied registers of affect, and complex neurological processes (Ahmed, 2004).

University of Durham, Durham, 2007

Accordingly, the judgements of racial difference

Ahmed S The Cultural Politics of Emotion

are instantaneous, gathered through the flicker of an eyelid, the

Routledge, London, 2004

sweep of a gesture, the trace of an utterance, tapping deep into the collective unconscious. The judgements of racial phenotype have no need for a science of racial essence in the way that biological racism did, nor are they constrained by the limitations of cultural racism, since they allow any marker of difference that sticks to the body of the Other to be counted. They come with a loose and dangerous promiscuity, allowing more and more to be included into the regime of racial marking, without any need for explanation or accuracy. My contention is that the racialization of everything has become the new racism, as variegated, but as forceful as the visibilities of difference on the human body. Biology, inheritance, bodily marking, behavioural trait, and culture are all entangled together – without any need for qualification – in a new phenotypical categorization of racial difference.

Back L, Crabbe T and Solomos J The Changing Face of Football: Racism, Identity and Multiculture in the English Game Berg Publishers, Oxford, 2001 Nayak A Race, Place and Globalization Berg Publishers, Oxford, 2003

The interpretation of difference based on racial phenotype has become an industry, applied to many a category of human. The practice of racial coding based on temporary evaluations of the body is particularly active when it comes to tarnishing the Other as threatening or anomalous. This is how asylum seekers, migrants, Muslims, militant youths, pan-handlers, the carriers of transmissible diseases are becoming labelled as the new Black, perpetually deviating from standards of White normality gathered from behaviour and comportment. The judgements come in intermediate shades too, as the social Darwinism of attack and counter-attack in Rwanda revealed, as do the on-going atrocities of ethnic cleansing in Darfur. Across the judgements, there are standards of evaluation weaving together histories of pigment, gait, manner, language and style, grasped from an utterance, a political warning, a media discussion, to remind the stranger of how elusive is his/her ambition to belong, but also to warn misguided natives of the dangers of becoming the Other (Back, Crabbe and Solomos, 2001; Nayak, 2003).

The primacy of race has returned, now based on composites of


bodily summation that gather much more than gene, skin and culture; and for this, can be continually renewed with new compulsive energies. At most times, the judgements of racial phenotype generate ambient watchfulness and anxiety towards the stranger. But its constancy explains the rapid spread of racist condemnation when differences of phenotype are swept up by a politics demanding the active governance of certain humans (Rai, 2004).

State of Alert We seem to be living at just such a time of charged politics of biopower – politics read off the body, politics designed to manipulate the body, politics counting on the disciplined and disciplining body, politics aiming to re-centre Whiteness. The contemporary war on terror/Islam read as a singularity provides the perfect illustration of this turn. In no time at all since 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the bombings in Bali, Madrid, and London, the world has been catapulted back to the age of the Crusades, to discourse of empire and civilization, to the most virulent forms of ethno-nationalism. It has become commonplace to expect societies to divide along religious, civilizational and ethno-national lines. This dramatic shift is clearly propelled by state actions, media commentary and violent deeds defended in the name of faith and culture, but its resonance can be linked also to the percolation of modes of bio-judgement. Biopolitics presumes of people to give an account of themselves, especially those marked as deviant (Butler,

Butler J

2005; Fekete, 2004). The war on terror in the West has come with the demand on

Giving an Account of Oneself

Muslims to declare loyalty to the nation, temper the quest for recognition, re-examine religious and cultural practices, integrate with mainstream society (invariably assumed to be White) and publicly condemn armed resistance by other Muslims. No longer are Muslims seen as people from varying racial, ethnic and national backgrounds, as people getting on with their daily lives, as members of disadvantaged, socially excluded, and vilified communities, as subjects with complex and multiple identities, as citizens with sophisticated political antennae.

Fordham University Press, New York, 2005 Fekete L Anti-Muslim racism and the European security state Race and Class 46 (1), 3–29, 2004

26 Gregory D The Colonial Present Blackwell, Oxford, 2004

Instead, the common Muslim has been conjured into existence, cast as a threat to national security, western civilization, and the modern secular state (Gregory, 2004). To speak of the riches of Islamic and Muslim culture, to reveal sharp differences among Muslims, to argue that Muslims can be simultaneously reverent and secular, traditional and modern, is to ignore the threat. The rapid conversion of communities struggling for recognition into an object of suspicion has relied on the alignment of biopolitics and phenotypical judgement. Vamped up emergency powers permitting intrusive surveillance, arrest without warrant, illegal detention, and foreign invasion, and media commentary linking rogue states, Islam, cultural backwardness and terrorism, are accompanied by the daily suspicion of veils, rucksacks, praying habits, Urdu, and gatherings in mosques.

All of a sudden, on the basis of the actions of the few, a late 20th Century discourse of pluralism, recognition and inclusion, has been displaced by the charged language of monsters at large. Overnight, the celebration of multiculturalism has been replaced by a sombre pledge by states to domesticate or evict the monster by perfecting surveillance, setting up zones of exclusion, banning the veil, restricting religious schools, insisting on language and citizenship tests, demanding loyalty to spurious norms of national belonging, pressing for mixed neighbourhoods and housing estates, and monitoring borders, public spaces and streets. Through juxtaposition, a politics of vigilance, fear and threat has come to loom around everyday difference in plural societies. Never mind the evidence showing that most Muslims wish to integrate, improve their lot, claim the public turf like other citizens, and be allowed to belong to communities of their choice. Never mind the evidence showing Muslim attachment to faith and religious belief to be not a call to arms but a quest for a richer and fuller life. Never mind the evidence that to be a Muslim in the West is to be quite ordinary, on the right side of civilization.

The new state of alert relies on the active defence of

fictions of shades of White centrality, so that the deviant body can be put in its place

Hage G White Nation Pluto Press, Annandale, 1998

(Black or an unacceptable shade of White as told by white Serbian reaction against white Kosovars). Paul Gilroy (2004) has argued that the present state of alert is sustained by a mood of White melancholia as the sealed cultures of the West’s post-colonial centres become challenged by globalism. The melancholia expresses a longing for the unambiguous sense of place that imperial and colonial supremacy secured (see also Hage, 1998 , for a similar account of White anxiety in Australia). It expresses a lament for ‘Albion’ confident and sure; a desire to erase the nation’s mixed cultural and ethnic heritage, its history of flow from Empire and the decisive influence of immigrants on national identity. It is a yearning for the times when national belonging meant White security, certainty,

community and confidence, propped up by the rituals of green and pleasant land, regal tradition, discipline, manners, deference, and the honesty and innocence of industry, working-class humour, cheeky urchins, cohesive neighbour-hoods (Collins, 2004). It is a lament that holds both the many who define themselves as White, but also many settled immigrants of non-White background who share the melancholia as a gesture of belonging and differentiation from the new immigrant. While the nostalgia may not come with the expectation of return to the golden era of national unity, it remains the measure for assessing the right of the stranger to belong, for justifying tests of citizenship and loyalty. It is White melancholia that sustains the running commentary on core national values and the rights and responsibilities of minorities, and on how much immigration and cosmopolitanism a nation can absorb. It is White melancholia that allows the many to worry about the future, to pontificate about the cultural practices of sections of the population, to wag a finger at ‘Third-World’ effort to break away from the West, to side with racist strategies of order and purification. Most importantly, White melancholia is helping to legitimate the contemporary state of alert through its domestication of a filigree of state efforts to discipline the stranger (Fekete, 2004). White anxiety, woven into state proclamations on national security and social cohesion, is enabling the easy naming and shaming of the stranger (as impure, malign, foreign, threat), the quick roll out of diverse strategies of encampment (immigration controls, border patrols, gated communities, policed zones, detention centres), the steady militarization of surveillance and control (overt and covert, at borders, in the street and in the home, supported by datasets, new visual technologies, software systems, map technologies, data sharing, micro-management), and the continuous reminder of pure community (through commentary on myths of origin, national identity, community cohesion, multicultural rights).

The Stranger Reconsidered Is it possible to live with difference, to stop the judgements of racial phenotype from causing harm? Is it possible to mobilise the cosmopolitanism of daily life sufficiently to prevent the compulsions of racial phenotype from sliding into the harsh politics of biopower? I put the question in these terms because I do not believe the human impulse to reach for the shorthand of racial phenotype can be curtailed. I remain sceptical of a planetary humanism (Gilroy, 2004) that is freed from the consciousness of race. Nor do I believe that a politics of opposition to contemporary abuses of (state) biopower is sufficient to tackle embedded racism. The tone of argument in this essay has not been optimistic. Some rather fundamental changes are required in attitudes and practices towards the stranger (within, around, and beyond). For example, pre-Socratic thought linked the right to claim humanness to the relationship between strangers. Subjectivity itself was presumed as not fully formed prior to the encounter. To expect such nobility today


Collins M The Likes of Us Granta, London, 2004


from the daily encounter between citizens with privileges and those stripped to bare life is to expect too much. The ‘demotic conviviality’ (Gilroy, 2004) of cosmopolitan encounter on the ground (face-to-face and in virtual space) invariably excludes the poor, the marginalized, the wretched. Recognising the subjectivity of such strangers would be better served through a just and vigorously reinforced politics of rights that combats prejudice and discrimination and provides access to education, shelter, work, welfare, and public space. Nothing is gained from a politics of bare life reserved for the stranger.

Levinas E Entre nous: On Thinking of the Other Columbia University Press, New York, 1998 Popke EJ Poststructuralist ethics: subjectivity, responsibility and the space of community

If the nobility of inter-personal recognition is beyond reach, harnessing public metaphors of community and belonging to the pre-Socratic principle of human subjectivity might be a more realistic option. The fact itself of cosmopolitan connection with proximate and distant strangers beckons recognition of an idea of community as an achievement to come based on an evolving mix of human composition and interaction, including the fruits of intermarriage. There is no shortage of ideas of human union in moral and political philosophy that is in some sense pre-societal, without the baggage of primordial culture and ethnicity. Adam Smith’s emphasis on sympathy as the glue of community (in liberal individualist societies) is one metaphor that could be reintroduced in public discourse, but there are also more recent ideas that dig into a deeper ontology of inter-subjectivity. These include Levinas’s (1998) idea of subjectivity itself as the ‘occupation of the world, or a form of trespass, which impinges on the other’ (Popke, 2003: 304), calling forth a basic responsibility towards the other well before any form of social mediation. Similarly, Derrida (2002) argued for the principle of unconditional hospitality towards the stranger as a new pillar of Europe, so as to both safeguard the rights of unprotected migrants, and ensure that mutuality and interdependence become the condition of acceptable citizenship.

Progress in Human Geography 27 (3), 298–316, 2003 Derrida J On Cosmopolitanism and Forgiveness Routledge, London, 2002

These are abstract principles that need to be worked through, in order to develop policies with grip and bite. What is clear, however, is that without a discussion of the familiar and the strange at this level, the danger of slipping back into culturally/ethnically/racially coded definitions of national belonging remains high. One way of stopping the drip of instruction daily passed on to new and old migrants is

to start treating the right to belong as a right to be earned

by citizens, outsiders, and the state itself, through demonstration of an ethic of care and responsibility towards the unfamiliar, the yet to come, the vulnerable and those at risk (Bauman, 2007). This would make

Bauman Z

Has the Left a future?

being on the inside of a society a matter of ethical practice and familiarity with the stranger, not a matter of judgement cast upon racialized others asked to prove their worth.

Soundings 35, 2007

This step towards citizenship as a practice of ethical engagement chimes with Parekh’s (2000) call to harness a politics of difference that protects cultural autonomy to a politics of the commons based on shared political principles of freedom, justice and liberty in a democratic and open society.

Such a politics of

the commons demands continual public reflection on the basics of human rights, welfare, public life, freedom of association, civic participation, constitutional aspirations, and so on. These basics shape the degree to which racism – however defined – is allowed to take hold. These basics of political society are largely in place, but the irony is that increasingly they are invoked only when they are perceived to be threatened by ‘foreigners’. That they should be discussed as a reminder to all of the obligations of political community and as a way of sparking collective reflection on what political community means in an always imperfect and always changing society, seems less important. It is time to stop placing the demands of citizenship on the shoulders of the imagined other. Such revisions to public culture address the politics of racial phenotype only indirectly. They do not affect the thin line between demotic and demonic cosmopolitanism, the easy slip from convivial multiculturalism into stranger anxiety and hate.

In societies characterised by decreasing contact

between classes, ethnic and racial groups, lifestyle communities, majorities and minorities, keeping on the right side of the divide requires effort. It requires many local inventions to inculcate the habit of living with difference so that the stranger ceases to be an object of fear. How is this possible without compulsion, without the presumption that this is a matter of getting minorities to mix with majorities? One step would be to locate the politics of recognition more firmly in everyday negotiations of difference. Multicultural societies daily bring strangers together in public spaces, schools, workplaces, and various sites of virtual engagement. Engagement in these spaces is by no means a matter of dancing around the multicultural maypole, nor does it necessarily involve sustained or desired contact among strangers. However, the situation itself – regulated by the busy street, the rules of the public library, the schedules of work, the classroom timetable – is frequently the shared space that renders those present as strangers to the situation and therefore always only minor claimants (though not necessarily equal).

29 Parekh B Rethinking Multiculturalism Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, 2000


Kennedy L

A politics seeking to take fear and anxiety out of the experience of racial phenotype can build on the prosaics of the shared situation. Intervention might, for example, focus on bringing people from different ethno-cultural backgrounds to work together in projects of common interest in ordinary spaces of encounter. Typically, this involves looking for shared ventures in schools, crèches, communal gardens, youth clubs, housing estates, and so on. In turn, the prosaics of encounter can be engineered to catalyse cultural transgression among those locked in a spiral of hate and suspicion. Here too, there are many examples from around the world, including imaginative uses of graffiti, sporting events and public art to bring together warring youth factions, and symbolic projection in urban public space to celebrate mixity and hybridity (Kennedy, 2004).

Remaking Birmingham: The Visual Culture of Urban Regeneration

The re-formation of public culture and

Routledge, London, 2004

to everyday practices of engagement suggest a politics of Thrift N

‘belonging to a situation’ (Thrift, 2004), rather than a politics of

But malice aforethought: cities and the natural history of hatred


Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 30, 463, 2005

The possibility of making strangers (in an extensively minoritized public) familiar to the rituals of inter-dependence and sharing. They allude to a zone of engagement in between the inevitability of phenotypical judgement and the avoidability of biopolitical traumatisation of the stranger. This is a zone clamouring for attention, one that has not figured prominently in contemporary public debate on race, which remains trapped in the choice between multicultural, universalist or assimilationist ways of responding to difference. It signals an imperative of ethical practice that might nudge the judgements of racial phenotype in a progressive direction. It is the ground for responding ethically to the call of distant strangers, one that will ring with urgency when the dice of global climate change rolls out with oppressive cruelty over the most populous parts of the world in the Global South. Then, the compulsions of racial closure will cry out for an ethic of inter-dependence. One final qualification, however, is necessary. The virtues of ethical practice depend upon the virtues of responsible categorization.

The history of racism has rested on irresponsible categorization, involving impositions of biology, culture or geographical context, and now, phenotype. The resulting racial categories, once fixed, have become the guide for action, regardless of the validity of the science behind them. They have defined the terms on which human difference is understood as well as the terms on which humans respond to difference. The warring Bantu, the usurer Jew, the indolent Black, and now the Asian Muslim terrorist becomes the designated racial marking, obliterating the

crossings, the mixtures, and the multiplicities of the affected subjects, the possibility that the marked human can be other than the categorical correlation.

What responsible categorization involves is difficult to foretell, in an age of rule by numbers involving multiple agencies of classification and growing institutional response based on classification. When states, firms, organizations, retailers, public bodies come to rely on software-based algorithms of calculation that continually sort vast quantities of data (on income, expenditure, retail habits, social status, travel and mobility, health, beliefs, facial and bodily expression) into continually changing categories of similarity and difference, merit and worth, with whom should the impetus to act responsibly lie, what should this involve, and who is to enforce compliance? The prospect of slowing down or influencing the imperative of categorization has become negligible, because of the challenges posed by multiplicity, and the capacity of algorithmic calculation itself to continually invent new associations, new numbers, and new categories, without human intent. Such calculative proliferation and autonomy comes with mixed implications for race. It can dislodge the old, crude classifications of race by a finer and shifting mesh of evaluation that adds more measures of human difference, but its machinic force also make intervention in quest of responsible categorization very difficult.

Who will listen to those of us who would wish to count only one human race, to not make an industry out of difference?


Robert Hart is curator of the Duggan-Cronin Collection, McGregor Museum, Kimberley, South Africa

Alfred Martin Duggan-Cronin Robert Hart

What is the use of trying to civilise us, if you want to photograph us in our skins which we have already thrown away Preserving the Native Races in Photographs The Saturday Evening News Saturday November 13, 1937



Alfred Martin Duggan-Cronin was born on 17 May

He worked for De Beers diamond company in

1874 at Innishannon, County Cork in Ireland, the

Kimberley, initially as a compound guard and later

son of a resident magistrate, and was educated at

in the dispensary of the compound hospital, finally

Mount St Mary’s College in Derbyshire, England. It

retiring in 1932 from the Photostat Department at

had been his intention to become a Jesuit priest,

Head Office.

but he changed his mind and left for South Africa in 1897.

In 1904, on a return visit to Ireland Duggan-Cronin bought a simple box camera and from then on photography came to play a central role in his life. His initial range was wide: individual portraits (including friends), still life and animal studies, scenery and geological studies (for De Beers).

Clockwise from top Basuto boys with native hats taken at a mine compound on a tailings dump undated Bridge of Sighs, St John’s College, Cambridge undated Dutch woman undated Glendalough, County Wicklow, Ireland undated Racehorse Clonmel 1918

35 Working in the De Beers compound DugganCronin witnessed first hand the erosion of the traditional way of life of the indigenous peoples of southern Africa. Brought in to close contact with migrant workers from diverse backgrounds he began photographing them, not only in their working clothes, but also in the traditional dress that many had brought with them.


Encouraged by Miss Maria Wilman, the first

consternation if not fear amongst many rural

director of the McGregor Museum, Duggan-Cronin

people. Madela demonstrated to them the use of

determined to record the irreversible attrition of

the camera and, by taking a shot or two, showed

indigenous life on film ‘before it was too late’.

that no harm would befall the sitters.

The first trip in 1919, to the Langberge in the

Exhibitions of Duggan-Cronin’s work were held in

Northern Cape, to photograph the San was

various places in South Africa (including venues

financed by the Board of the McGregor Museum.

such as Women’s Institutes) as well as overseas.

Thereafter, future trips were financed by

One of the earliest was mounted at the Woodley

grants-in-aid, either from the Union Research

Street Hall, Kimberley in October 1921, whilst in

Grant Board or the Carnegie Foundation.

1925, he began exhibiting his photographs more permanently in his home at Kamfersdam outside

During the 1920s Duggan-Cronin’s expeditions


were confined to the Union of South Africa (as it then was) and the territories encircled by it. This

Duggan-Cronin exhibited 168 studies at the British

was partly due to him having to undertake his

Empire Exhibition at Wembley, London in 1924, and

journeys during periods of leave from his De Beers

in 1931 a selection was shown at the Wellcome


Historical Medical Museum, London. A small number of photographs were exhibited at the 1937

However, upon retirement in 1932, Duggan-Cronin

Paris International Exhibition, whilst in 1940 and

devoted more of his time to his project, which he

1941 exhibitions were held in Cape Town,

hoped would ‘contribute to a better understand-

Johannesburg, Durban and East London in order to

ing’ of the indigenous peoples of southern Africa.

raise money for the Governor-General’s National

In the period between the World Wars Duggan-

War Fund.

Cronin traveled some 128,000 km, with field trips ranging from the Victoria Falls to the Indian Ocean

Between 1924 and 1954 eleven volumes of his

coastline of South Africa, from the deserts of

photographs were published by Cambridge

Nambia to the forests of Mozambique, resulting in

University Press, with additional anthropological

over 7000 negatives, and several thousand prints.


From 1930 onwards Duggan-Cronin was assisted by

In 1937 De Beers offered Duggan-Cronin ‘The

Richard Madela, a young Mfengu who accompan-

Lodge’, the former prestigious home of a company

ied the photographer on most field trips. Madela

director, as a venue for displaying his photographs.

met Duggan-Cronin in 1924. A school student at

The following year, on Duggan-Cronin’s 64th

the Perseverance Training School at the time, he

birthday, the Duggan-Cronin Bantu Gallery was

assisted with the hanging of Duggan-Cronin’s

officially opened by Sir Ernest Oppenheimer.

pictures in the Woodley Street Hall for an exhibition to which his school had been invited.

Thirteen years previously, in 1924, Duggan-Cronin had gone to some lengths to append the prefix

Top Paramount Chief Yeta III of Barotseland and his queen wife the Moya outside their residence at Limulunga, Northern Rhodesia 1938

This was the start of a long association with the

‘Duggan’ to his name (paying for the privilege).

photographer lasting nearly 20 years, both as

There began an intense pride in his ancestry,

employee and friend. Madela actively assisted with

asserted by the family coat of arms displayed above

all aspects of Duggan-Cronin’s work including

the entrance to the new Gallery, and his Buick

driving, acting as interpreter (Duggan-Cronin did

motorcar bearing the crest as well.

not speak any Black languages) and the actual photography. While there is one photograph

Duggan-Cronin took great pleasure in receiving


definitely taken by Madela, it seems probable there

visitors at the gallery and it attracted many from

Inyanga Mountain, Southern Rhodesia

are others, including those in which Duggan-

far and wide, including King George VI, Queen

Richard Madela standing in the road

Cronin himself appears. Moreover, the sight of

Elizabeth and the Princesses Elizabeth and


Duggan-Cronin and his camera at first caused

Margaret (1947); Crown Princess Frederica of

Greece (1943); Dr and Mrs DF Malan (1949); Noel

The Gallery’s grounds would serve as a gracious

Coward (1944); Professor l’abbe Breuil (1942); Chief

setting for Kimberley social functions, including

Tshekedi Khama (1944) and Chief Lotlamoreng

Duggan-Cronin’s annual birthday party which

Montshiwa of the Barolong (1945).

helped raise funds for charitable institutions such as the Red Cross and the Navy League.

Apart from showing visitors his photographs (displayed salon-style, according to tribe) and

In the early 1990s the original brass plaques at the

collection of artifacts, which he had assembled, it is

entrance gates which proclaimed the Duggan-

said that he invariably offered them a cup of tea,

Cronin Bantu Gallery were removed. The building is

served in one of his twelve, prized tea services.

now named the Duggan-Cronin Gallery.



Richard Madela with Chief Msenteli, hereditary chief of the

Richard Madela with Matabele warriors, Southern

Mandlakazi section of the Zulu Nation 1935

Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) 1934



Noticeboard announcing Duggan-Cronin photographic

Duggan-Cronin giving out sweets or lekkerguta

exhibition, Umtali, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) 1939

at Mochudi, Botswana 1919




Left to right Bechuana women grinding grain at Kanye, Bechuanaland 1919 Tswana woman at Molepolole, Bechuanaland 1919 Tswana woman grinding corn on the leluwala, Bechuanaland 1919



Left to right Zulu youth with a cap of clay 1920 Zulu woman 1920 Venda water carriers, Transvaal 1923 Venda mother and child at Mbilwe, Transvaal 1923 The dress is made of European cloth, the pattern of which was much in vogue in 1923


Bhaca men at the De Beers Compound, Kimberley1925?


Basuto initiates at Moitsupeli, Basutoland 1926



Left to right Basuto woman at Moitsupeli, Basutoland 1926 Basuto faggot bearer at Moitsupeli, Basutoland 1926 Basuto man wearing headdress of porcupine quills, Moitsupeli, Basutoland 1926



Top left Basuto mother and child, Basutoland 1926 Left to right Basuto herdboy of the Leribe district, Basutoland 1926 Basuto woman at Ramaphephe, Basutoland 1926 Swazi youths tidying up at a river, Ingwavuma district of Swaziland 1927


Left to right Swazi women at Ingwavuma, Swaziland 1927 Tembu man photographed in a mine compound at Kimberley undated Xhosa women reaping wheat 1928



Left to right Pedi man wearing identification disc and playing a musical instrument made of porcupine quills 1929 Olifants River at Penge, Northern Transvaal 1929 Hlubi mother and child, Natal 1932





Hlubi initiate kwedin, Herschel district

Scene at Matole Butelezi’s kraal at Mahlabatini,

of Eastern Cape 1932

Natal 1935



Tswana initiate, Bechuanaland 1934

San family photographed at the Empire Exhibition at Johannesburg 1936



Right Nhlangwini man wearing dancing dress, Umzimkulu district of Natal 1937 Far right Paramount Chief Yeta III of Barotseland wearing a uniform recently presented by the British government, Northern Rhodesia 1938



Artists’ works Brett Murray Brett Bailey Steven Cohen Michael MacGarry Araminta de Clermont Dineo Bopape Pieter Hugo Nandipha Mntambo Zanele Muholi Tracey Rose Berni Searle Athi-Patra Ruga



Brett Murray Crocodile Tears

Previous page The Old Identity Chestnut 2008

The Renaissance Man Tending his Land 2008


The Renaissance Man 2008


Brett Bailey Lefa Letsika with his friend Cornelia 2003 Production: iMumbo Jumbo – The Days of Miracle and Wonder Theatre director: Brett Bailey Company: Third World Bunfight Photograph: Patricia Driscoll


The Xhosa Queens astonished at Chief Gcaleka’s predictions 2003 As previously


Steven Cohen Chandelier 2001 Public intervention, Newtown, Johannesburg Photograph: John Hogg


Chandelier 2002 Stills from video of public intervention, Newtown, Johannesburg, 2001 Format: video projection, colour, sound Duration: 16 minutes 37 seconds


Steven Cohen Crawling 1999 Performance Photograph: John Hodgkiss

As documented in Crawling‌Flying 1999 Format: video, colour, sound Duration: 37 minutes 49 seconds


The Classicist This work features a prostitute I paid R 300.00 for a 40-minute photo shoot at my apartment. I found her in a local newspaper under the ‘Adult Entertainment’ listing and called her the same afternoon to book her. Her name is Gisele, she is 26 years old and is from Nigeria. The large wooden ruler to Gisele’s right is a work I started several months ago, and to the left is a sculpture made of foam titled The Economy of Modernity.

Michael MacGarry The Classicist

African Archetypes 2007–2008


The Master This photograph features three works I made this year – the wooden mask of Hu Jintao (President of China); the ‘Ghillie suit’ and the AK- 47 assault rifle. The Hu Jintao mask was carved from an existing Okuyi mask I bought at a market in Johannesburg for R 400.00. The ‘Ghillie’ suit I bought online from a U.S. military supplier in Utah for R 780.00 – this is a standard issue tactical marksman suit issued to all infantry snipers and spotters within the U.S. Army and the Marine Corps. The AK-47 was made from a plastic toy I bought for R 75.00 – which I then aged with sandpaper and carved the wooden elements from pine timber, glueing them to the plastic gun with epoxy. The person in the photograph is my girlfriend’s parent’s gardener. His name is Main Road Ncube and I paid him R 100.00 for a three-hour shoot.

Michael MacGarry The Master


The Trade This photograph features five sculptures from the Young Liars series on a folding wooden table made in England in 1954. The girl seated in the wheelchair is my sister, I didn’t pay her anything to pose for this image. The photograph was shot at night in my girlfriend’s parent’s garden in Johannesburg, using two prolights and a Canon 20D.

The Trade


The Good Student The rifle shown in this photograph is one I made from component parts between March and June 2007. I bought the deactivated bolt action from a gun shop for R 1800.00 – it is a 30-06 Mauser issued in Leipzig, Germany in 1942. On the bolt action was a serial number 423~829 and next to it a small swastika had been stamped into the metal. The noise suppressor was bought at a second gun shop for R 200.00, as was the telescopic sight which cost R 380.00. The wooden stock I carved from a piece of Oregon pine and was treated with shoe polish, cigar ash, enamel paint, oil and a blowtorch.

Michael MacGarry The Good Student


The Orphan This man is a labourer at the house of a friend of mine, he is from Zimbabwe and his name is Elliot. He is 46 years old, and has been living in Johannesburg for six years with his three sons. The image behind Elliot is a three metre by two metre vinyl print stuck to the wall, costing R 345.00 to produce. I found the image of the pyramids at Giza online and had it hand-printed at a photography studio for R 35.00, I then digitally scanned this photograph to the large size it was printed. Elliot is holding an old camera of mine I bought in Ireland in 2001. I did not pay him to pose for this photograph.

The Orphan


Omar is also known as Chappies, the slang term for prison tattoos in South Africa, (a name which comes from a popular bubble-gum brand which has tiny ‘did you know’ facts printed all over the inside of its wrappers). He was a ‘king’ in prison, commanding absolute respect. He now sleeps rough, beneath an incomplete fly-over and sells wine to other street people.

Araminta de Clermont Body of Knowledge 2008



Ali is a cleaner/handyman at St George’s Cathedral. He lives in a bare room at the rear of the church. It is always scrubbed clean, his blankets neatly rolled up. The crowns on his shoulders identify him as once having been a high-ranking figure in the 28’s.



Charles has been in and out of prison since he was 13. The penis tattoo is specific to the 28’s gang and relates to their practice of taking wives (‘wyfies’) in prison. The small tattoos MUM and DAD are acronyms for ‘man under money’ and ‘day after day’.

Moerser, a scrap-metal collector, spends his days with other ‘strollers’ in the middle of a traffic roundabout in an industrial area of Cape Town. According to prison lore, a tattooed insect, especially on the face or nose, indicates a dangerous person, something Moerser tearfully denied he was during this shoot.

Araminta de Clermont Charles Moerser

Fahiek spent 27 years in prison. He was released in October 2007. A former hit man, he spent a year sleeping rough with his dog Sheeba before returning to his old profession. He was recently murdered after collecting his fee for a contract.

Stranger, once highly respected in prison, is the subject of much myth-making and folk-lore. Some say his curled fist is the outcome of his first visit to prison when he desperately attempted to hold on to all his ill-gotten gains. By the end of his time in prison, he was held in so much awe, that he had to do nothing for himself. He was apparently shaved, and even washed by other inmates.

Fahiek Stranger



Dineo Bopape Dreamweaver 2008

Format: video Duration: 7 minutes 53 seconds



Pieter Hugo Looking Aside

Thulani Magwaza, KwaMashu 2005

Regina Kambule, Johannesburg 2003

Tem Vleksi (IV), Cape Town 2005

Vinkosi Sigwegwe, Cape Town 2002

Wonderful Nokukhanya, Pietermaritzburg 2005

Vuyiswa Kama, Cape Town 2003


Thami Mawe, Johannesburg 2003

Raymond Nteo, Johannesburg 2003

Steven Mohapi, Johannesburg 2003

Londiwe Wendy Mkhize, Pietermaritzburg 2005

Thembile Mabaso, Johannesburg 2003

Pieter Hugo, Cape Town 2004


Nandipha Mntambo Iqaba Lami 2007


Mlwa ne Nkunzi Diptych 2009


Nandipha Mntambo Ukungenisa 2008

Format: digital video, sound Duration: 2 minutes 30 seconds

Europa 2008


Zanele Muholi La Rochelle I 2007


La Rochelle II 2007

La Rochelle III 2007


Tracey Rose Ciao Bella: Ms Cast 2001–2002

Mami Lolita Lovemefuckme Venus Baartman Silhouetta



Tracey Rose Regina Coeli Cicciolina MAQEII Bunnie San Pedro



Berni Searle Once Removed (Head I, II, III) 2008


Once Removed (Lap I, II, III) 2008


Berni Searle Snow White 2001 Format: double projection video installation, colour, sound Duration: 9 minutes



Athi-Patra Ruga Beiruth 2008 Photographer: Chris Saunders

‌ the naivety of Beiruth 1


‌ the naivety of Beiruth 2

‌ the naivety of Beiruth 4


Schweizerische Volkspartei or SVP (Swiss People’s Party), election poster calling for increased security, 2007

Athi-Patra Ruga Even I Exist in Embo: Jaundiced tales of counterpenetration 5 2007

Even I Exist in Embo: Jaundiced tales of counterpenetration 7 2007

Photographer: Oliver Neubert

Photographer: Oliver Neubert


Even I Exist in Embo: Jaundiced tales of counterpenetration 9 2007 Photographer: Oliver Neubert


Nandipha Mntambo

Athi-Patra Ruga

Europa, 2008 Archival ink on cotton rag paper, 112 x 112 cm

Even I Exist in Embo: Jaundiced tales of counterpenetration 7, 2007 Lambda print, 40 x 60 cm Photographer: Oliver Neubert

Mlwa ne Nkunzi (diptych), 2008 Archival ink on cotton rag paper, Each 112 x 84.5 cm

List of artists’ works Steven Cohen Chandelier 2002 Film documentation of public intervention in Newtown, Johannesburg 2001 Duration: 16 minutes 37 seconds Crawling…Flying 1999 Film Duration: 37 minutes Courtesy the artist and Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town Pieter Hugo

Brett Bailey Lefa Letsika with his friend Cornelia, 2003 Lambda C-type print, 61 x 50.8 cm The Xhosa Queens astonished at Chief Gcaleka’s predictions, 2003 Lambda C-type print, 61 x 50.8 cm Courtesy the artist and Patricia Driscoll Dineo Bopape Dreamweaver, 2008 Installation with carpet, mirror balls, film projection Duration: 7 minutes 53 seconds Courtesy the artist and Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town Araminta de Clermont Body of Knowledge series, 2008 Omar; Ali, Martin; Frank; Stranger; Moerser; Fahiek; Charles; Mr. Green Epson Chrome prints on Hahnemuhle Photo Rag Each 41 x 58 cm Courtesy the artist and João Ferreira Gallery, Cape Town

Looking Aside series Wonderful Nokukhanya, Pietermaritzburg, 2005 Thulani Magwaza, KwaMashu, 2005 Steven Mohapi, Johannesburg, 2003 Vuyiswa Kama, Cape Town, 2003 Thami Mawe, Johannesburg, 2003 Vinkosi Sigwegwe, Cape Town, 2002 Londiwe Wendy Mkhize, Pietermaritzburg, 2005 Tem Vleksi (IV), Cape Town, 2005 Regina Kambule, Johannesburg, 2003 Pieter Hugo, Cape Town, 2004 Archival ink on cotton rag paper Each 56 x 45.5 cm

Ukungenisa, 2008 Digital video Duration: 2 minutes 30 seconds Iqaba Lami, 2007 Cowhide, resin, fibreglass mesh, waxed cord, 150 x 115 x 75 cm Courtesy the artist and Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town Zanele Muholi La Rochelle I – III, 2007 Lambda C-type prints Each 45 x 45 cm Courtesy the artist and Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town Brett Murray The Renaissance Man Tending his Land, 2008 Digital print on Cotton Rag, 76.5 x 61 cm The Renaissance Man, 2008 Digital print on Cotton Rag, 101.5 x 77.5 cm The Old Identity Chestnut, 2008 Engraved plastic on wood, 32.5 x 24 x 3 cm Courtesy the artist and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg | Cape Town Tracey Rose

Even I Exist in Embo: Jaundiced tales of counterpenetration 9, 2007 Lambda print, 40 x 60 cm Photographer: Oliver Neubert Even I Exist in Embo: Jaundiced tales of counterpenetration 5, 2007 Lambda print, 40 x 60 cm Photographer: Oliver Neubert …the naivety of Beiruth 4, 2008 Light-jet print on fuji crystal archive paper, 40 x 60 cm Edition of 5 + 2AP Photographer: Chris Saunders …the naivety of Beiruth 2, 2008 Light-jet print on Fuji crystal archive paper, 40 x 60 cm Photographer: Chris Saunders …the naivety of Beiruth 1, 2008 Light-jet print on fuji crystal archive paper, 40 x 60 cm Photographer: Chris Saunders Courtesy the artist and Brodie/Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg Injibhabha, 2009 Installation with Afro-wigs, tailor’s dummy, 120 x 100 cm Courtesy the artist and Whatiftheworld Gallery, Cape Town Berni Searle Once Removed (Head I, II, III), 2008 Archival ink on cotton rag paper, each 112 x 95 cm Once Removed (Lap I, II, III), 2008 Archival ink on cotton rag paper, each 112 x 95 cm

Michael MacGarry

Ciao Bella: Ms Cast series, 2001 Mami Venus Baartman Lolita San Pedro Cicciolina

African Archetypes series, 2008 The Master The Good Student The Classicist The Trade The Orphan

Illustrated, not exhibited Lovemefuckme MAQEII Bunnie Silhouetta Regina Coeli

Inkjet print on cotton paper Each 52.5 x 82.5 cm

Lambda C-type print Each 127 x 127 cm

Installation of 32 vintage photographic prints, plus three original photograph albums, selected by Robert Hart and Andrew Putter

Courtesy the artist and Brodie/Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg

Courtesy the artist and Renaud Proch, The Project, New York

Courtesy the Board of Trustees of the McGregor Museum, Kimberley, South Africa

Courtesy the artist and Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town

Snow White, 2001 Double projection video installation Duration: 9 minutes Courtesy the artist and Michael Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town Alfred Duggan-Cronin

Including works by:

Life Less Ordinary Performance and Display in South African Art

Brett Bailey Dineo Bopape Araminta de Clermont Steven Cohen Pieter Hugo Michael MacGarry Nandipha Mntambo Zanele Muholi Brett Murray Tracey Rose Athi-Patra Ruga Berni Searle Alfred Duggan-Cronin photographs selected by Robert Hart and Andrew Putter

Life Less Ordinary

Engaging photography, performance, video and installation, a younger generation shake loose from the epic narrative of race to play with, stage, transcend, celebrate and deconstruct more complex and nuanced subjectivities.

Probing, challenging, poetical, and at times hilarious and uncomfortably satirical, these works create space for a more enigmatic palette of subjectivities and feelings to come to the fore: stepping stones to new identities.

Edited by Anna Douglas

considers fictions of categorization and difference – be it the idea of race nationhood ethnicity sexuality religion belonging – explored by an extraordinary range of artists from South Africa.

Contrasted with the rarely seen, semi-staged photographs of early-twentieth century amateur photographer Alfred Duggan-Cronin and selected visual material from the Apartheid period, Life Less Ordinary conveys the performative nature of racial categorization.

ISBN 978–1–900809–71–9

Djanogly Art Gallery



Life Less Ordinary: Performance and Display in South African Art  

Produced to complement the exhibition held in the Djanogly Art Gallery at Lakeside Arts Centre between the 4 September and 15 November 2009,...

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