I’m in my final year of university, and more than any of the prescribed knowledge, what my years at UKZN have taught me is that everything is about territory and space, and because of that, nothing is secure.
Territory and space doesn’t have to refer to a physical place or a domain over which you exert some kind of self-conceived ownership. No, space and territory are those spheres of life which are in constant contest.
Be it identity, money, family, school, your bedroom, your boyfriend – anything – these spheres and the notion of ownership over them are in constant flux, and it is the tension which resonates between the two that determine the reading of one’s life.
A Portrait with Keys: Johannesburg Unlocked, by Ivan Vladislavic is a text which I think perfectly encapsulates that idea.
It is not a collection of short stories, or a novel, or a documentary investigation into the experiences of a post-Apartheid man, but rather a fragmentary and disjointed portrait of the idea of a space, occupied within itself by many contesting and clashing notions of space.
I firmly believe that what makes our lives are the fragmented stories that occur within that span, and more than anything, the battles we endure to exert and exact ownership over these stories in a climate of constant change and uncertainty. Nothing we do is secure, and nothing we do is finite. Nothing will live on except our own interpretations and that is what I am attempting to do with this blog.
Inspired wholly and completely by Vladislavic, I which to capture my life in a collection of these fragments – the terror of of the unknown as we try to button down that fear into the suit and tie confidence of owning our own experiences and the spaces and territories within which they occur.
Please read and enjoy!