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Through the Empire's Eyes: Engaging the Gaze

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The empire of visuality is said to have eyes everywhere, but what are the consequences for embodied locality in terms of this omnipresence? How do the objects that fall prey to the gaze of the empire engage with its petrifying gaze? By exploring the photography of the Brazilian Mário de Andrade, the Frenchman Marc Garanger and the South African photographer Santu Mofokeng, the challenge to the gaze of the empire is discussed. The Barthesian distinction between the categories of studium and punctum is utilised to unpack the possibilities of embodied localities that confront and engage the gaze of the empire differently.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Visual Arts, University of Pretoria, 0002 Pretoria, Republic of South Africa

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