Monique Pelser (born 1976 Johannesburg lives and works in Cape Town South Africa)

by Monique

 – Is your photographic art work committed to dealing with the context in which you live?

Yes, I live in South Africa in a post Apartheid era and I am currently making photographic still-lives of objects that my father had collected during his life. Both my grandfather and father were South African policemen. Collectively their experience spans over the 1930’s to 2010. During these 80 years there was the rise and fall of enforced Apartheid in South Africa.

I am also working on a series of cloudscapes which stand in as metaphors for change. The work is called “It changes phase” which is the scientific term for how water evaporates and becomes a cloud. This work is committed to dealing with the ephemeral nature of information.

– How does your photography integrate the evolution of your society?

In this body of images I am looking at the objects my father collected from his time at the SAP (South African Police) until the 1980’s and then in security and the Metropolice until 2010. The intends to map change as styles varied over the years. They show priorities and trends as things shifted in security in South Africa.

– Are the marks of the past influencing your way of taking photographs? If they do, how do history and collective memory affect your work?

Yes, I feel that the history and marks left behind in South Africa do influence my way of taking photographs. I try to use the camera and developing technology as a way of re-looking at my country; the land, people and the objects or traces which were left behind and have become a historical burden. I feel that my generation and those that follow have inherited great generational guilt from our forefathers. I try to use photography as dissonance; as a way to re-look and re-present and process this history which is deeply personal but at the same time collective.

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