My paper 'The shamanic seam: transnatured humanities and sutured animal bodies in contemporary visual practice' was featured in the Pointure supplement edited by Leora Farber and I, and published in the December 2012 edition of Art South Africa. This publication following the Pointure exhibition and colloquium hosted by the University of Johannesburg in 2013. This pdf contains this and other fascinating articles that emerged from these events. Here follows my foreword for the supplement:
In pointing to a lace structure in the human experience, the Irish poet and scholar John O’ Donohue chooses an apt model for the frailty of the human interface with the eternal. He also gestures to an unexpected notion: that it is the ruptures in our lives, the openings, punctured, trimmed and mended, and at times raw, that are the most sublime. The recent Pointure exhibition and colloquium ‘laced’ together a poignant range of artworks and theoretical papers that relate to artistic acts of stitching and notional derivations of this material phenomenon. In these written theses and artworks, the acts of stitching, pricking, suturing, tearing, rupturing, cutting, embroidering, appliquéing, grafting, spinning and weaving, and a myriad of other incarnations of this practice of the ruptured mark, demonstrate and invoke the incisive, deconstructive, cathartic and prophetic energy of the ‘stitch’.
Derrida’s rhetorical formulation – pointure – is employed as a probing theoretical frame for this ‘weave’ of medium and metaphor. Pointure is a metaphoric device in Derrida’s 1978 essay ‘Restitutions of the truth in pointing [Pointure]’, ‘poking holes through’ and ‘lacing together’ Heidegger and Shapiro’s exploration of themes of presence in Vincent van Gogh’s painting, Oude Schòenen (Old Shoes). This mimetic word relates to printing in terms of the “small iron blade with a point, used to fix the page to be printed on to the tympan” as well as the “the hole which it makes in the paper”; and serves the figurative purpose of opening the text for critique. Pointure also references the practice of cobbling (in an intertextual gesture to van Gogh’s shoes) in relation to the ‘sewing together’ of the shoe, and the ‘drawing together’ action of the lacing-eyelets. In the context of the Pointure exhibition and colloquium, pointure is employed as a trope through which complexes of visual culture involving ‘pointured’ mediums and ‘pointured’ literary approaches may be critically framed. In this sense, pointure serves as a textu[r]al ‘loom’ for weaving together theory and practice, with the ease that one might lace a shoe.
This extended conception of pointure is here entwined (by unisex design) with Bracha Lichtenberg Ettinger’s intrauterine inspired matrixial theory – a “maternal-feminine” model for human discourse. In a leaning towards aesthetic application and revisionist thinking, matrixial theory and Derridian pointure share a common zeitgeist. Further to this Ettinger has also linked matrixial theory figuratively to the notion of weaving. In terms of the articulation of ‘pointure-type’ visual and textual practices, matrixial theory represents significant possibilities, as it allows for a complex ‘weave’ of subjectivities within visual representation and the ‘warp and weft’ of practice and being.