Spatialising Experience : Gail Jones’s Black Mirror and the Contending of Postmodern Space


A recurring theme in Gail Jones's fiction is the relationship between subjects and their social spaces; the possibilities and impossibilities of mapping individuals' experiences in terms of their geographic, temporal, and cultural dimensions. In her work, Jones pits the biographer's desire to uncover and record a coherent narrative history of the subject against postmodernist claims of a weakening of historicity into a 'rubble of distinct and unrelated signifiers' (Jameson, Postmodernism 26). The theme is particularly strong in Black Mirror, a novel which subtly engages with postmodernist discourse on spatial orders. To an extent Black Mirror does celebrate postmodern theory's conceptualisation of space as an aesthetic and frequently paradoxical concept, its configurations contingent on the distribution of capital. However, the work ultimately repudiates postmodernist categorisation and cartography. Instead, Black Mirror seeks the potential for narrative accounts of individuals' experiences, and it seeks that potential within the vertiginous depth and post-colonial dimensions that postmodernists have so often elided from their accounts of space.

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Published 1 October 2007 in Volume 23 No. 2. Subjects: Postmodernism, Time & space, Gail Jones.

Cite as: Roughley, Fiona. ‘Spatialising Experience : Gail Jones’s Black Mirror and the Contending of Postmodern Space.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 23, no. 2, 2007, doi: 10.20314/als.4d8c13649d.