Performing the self : autobiography, narrative, image and text in self-representations

Jacobs, Ilene (2007-03)

Thesis (MA (VA)(Visual Arts))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.

Thesis received without illustrations at the time of submission to this repository.


This research follows the assumption that the notion of performativity can be applied to the visual construction of identity within art-making discourse in order to explore the contingent and mutable nature of identity in representation. My interest in performativity, defined as the active, repetitive and ritualistic processes responsible for the construction of subjectivities, lies within the process of production. I indicate how this notion, within the context of self-representation, can provide the possibility for performing identity as a process. I investigate the extent to which gender, the gaze, memory and narrative contribute to the performative construction of self-representations and reveal, through the exploration of my practical research, that these concepts are themselves performative. Although agency to construct the self can be regarded as problematic, considering the role of language and discourse in determining subjectivities, this research suggests that it is possible to perform interventions from within language. I suggest that the notion of inscription provides a means through which identity constructions can be performed differently; and that my art-making process of repetitive inscription, erasure and re-inscription of image and text and the layering of paint not only reflect the notion of performativity, but also enable me to expose the multiple and fragmented nature of identities.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL:
This item appears in the following collections: