Monique Pelser

Bystanders

Unnamed bystander #1 2008
the day of the colebrook mining disaster
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the day of the colebrook mining disaster
the day archbishop desmond tutu won the nobel <br>peace prize
the day hector pietersen was shot
one of the days of the worst drought south africa <br>has experienced
the day of the 1976 soweto riots
the day chris hani was assasinated
the day the durban six were convicted
the day the twin towers collapsed
the day nelson mandela was released
the day pw botha declaired a state of emergency
the day nelson mandela was imprisoned
the day verwoed was assasinated
the day a farmer was killed
the day lucky dube was shot dead in <br>johannesburg
the day morgan tsvangirai was sworn in as prime <br>minister of zimbabwe
the day international sanctions were lifted from <br>south africa
the day the south african border war began
the day south africa voluntarily dismantled its <br>nuclear weapons programme
the day of the virgina tech massacre
the day ernie els won the us open
the day the national tax revenue increased to <br>220%
the day of the laingsburg flood
the day south africa won the world cup rugby
the day jacob zuma was inaugurated
the day robin rhode left to live in berlin
the day bloemfontein flooded over the new year
the day queen performed at sun city
the day it snowed in johannesburg
the day hansie cronje admitted to taking <br>bribes from bookmakers
the day steve biko was imprisoned
the day nkosi johnson an hiv-aids orphan spoke <br>at a conference for the needs of children
the day deputy health minister nozizwe <br>madlala-routledge was fired for her policy agains hiv aids
the day a man held an home affairs officer <br>hostage with toy gun over a dispute about his id
the fifteenth day of loadshedding
the day of the worst fire to sweep cape town
the day of the oil embargo on south africa
the day of the first democratic elections
the day chief of metro police robert mcbride got <br>caught for drunk driving
the day kodak came back into the country
the day the berlin wall came down and the cold <br>war ended
the day the internet was launched
the day the berlin wall came down and the cold <br>war ended
the day kodak came back into the country
the day chief of metro police robert mcbride got <br>caught for drunk driving
the day of the first democratic elections
the day of the oil embargo on south africa
the day of the worst fire to sweep cape town
the fifteenth day of loadshedding
the day a man held an home affairs officer <br>hostage with toy gun over a dispute about his id
the day deputy health minister nozizwe <br>madlala-routledge was fired for her policy agains hiv aids
the day nkosi johnson an hiv-aids orphan spoke <br>at a conference for the needs of children
the day steve biko was imprisoned
the day hansie cronje admitted to taking <br>bribes from bookmakers
the day it snowed in johannesburg
the day queen performed at sun city
the day bloemfontein flooded over the new year
the day robin rhode left to live in berlin
the day jacob zuma was inaugurated
the day south africa won the world cup rugby
the day of the laingsburg flood
the day the national tax revenue increased to <br>220%
the day ernie els won the us open
the day of the virgina tech massacre
the day south africa voluntarily dismantled its <br>nuclear weapons programme
the day the south african border war began
the day international sanctions were lifted from <br>south africa
the day morgan tsvangirai was sworn in as prime <br>minister of zimbabwe
the day lucky dube was shot dead in <br>johannesburg
the day a farmer was killed
the day verwoed was assasinated
the day nelson mandela was imprisoned
the day pw botha declaired a state of emergency
the day nelson mandela was released
the day the twin towers collapsed
the day the durban six were convicted
the day chris hani was assasinated
the day of the 1976 soweto riots
one of the days of the worst drought south africa <br>has experienced
the day hector pietersen was shot
the day archbishop desmond tutu won the nobel <br>peace prize
the day of the colebrook mining disaster
 
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about the work

Bystanders (2008) is a series of extreme close-up portraits re-appropriated from South African newspaper archives. The portraits, taken with my Nokia cellular telephone, are of background characters caught in photographs reporting on historical events in South African history.

These marginal bystanders perform as a metaphor for the experience of seeing myself, as a young South African, in the background of a complex national history manifesting itself.

The haunting and lyrical portraits have a momentum mori quality bringing attention to the occasionally violent crop of the camera and the formal pixelated quality of the images, done intentionally as a means of breaking down an image into it smallest form, acts as an annotation of both surveillance and forensic photography.

exhibitions and exposure

This work was printed onto newsprint and was installed along 7 blocks in St Georges Mall in Cape Town as part of Infecting the City Public Arts Festival Cape Town 2014. The work was made to imitate newspaper poster boards, which put the images that were taken from newspaper archives back into circulation.

Wits University Staff Group Show for the WALE (Wits Art and Literature Experience) with Jo Ractliffe, Penny Siopis, Karel Nel, Jeremy Wafer and Robert Hodgins in Johannesburg 2008.

Unnatural History as part of the Month of Photography with Inge Prins and Anonia Steyn at the MutiGallery in Cape Town 2008.

Group Summer Show at the iArt Gallery with artists Wilma Cruise, Diane Victor, Paul Emsely, Colbert Mashile and William Kentridge in Cape Town 2008.

Director Miles Goodall from Suburban Films directed a documentary film called Kool South featuring a group of contemporary South African artists and showcasing Bystanders.

Maputo curators meeting organised and funded by the Goethe Institute where the work was presented to curators namely Kwesi Gule, Colette Olof, Simon Njami, Akin Bode, and Bisi Silva.

Bisi Silva (The Centre for Contemporary Art Lagos, Nigeria) exhibited the work as part of a show In Light of Play shown at the Durban Art Gallery in 2009 and the Johannesburg Art Fair 2009.

publicity

Unnamed bystander #1 2008
the day of the colebrook mining disaster
Unnamed bystander #2 2008
the day archbishop desmond tutu won the nobel
peace prize
Unnamed bystander #3 2008
the day hector pietersen was shot
Unnamed bystander #4 2008
one of the days of the worst drought south africa
has experienced
Unnamed bystander #5 2008
the day of the 1976 soweto riots
Unnamed bystander #6 2008
the day chris hani was assasinated
Unnamed bystander #7 2008
the day the durban six were convicted
Unnamed bystander #8 2008
the day the twin towers collapsed
Unnamed bystander #9 2008
the day nelson mandela was released
Unnamed bystander #10 2008
the day pw botha declaired a state of emergency
Unnamed bystander #11 2008
the day nelson mandela was imprisoned
Unnamed bystander #12 2008
the day verwoed was assasinated
Unnamed bystander #13 2008
the day a farmer was killed
Unnamed bystander #14 2008
the day lucky dube was shot dead in
johannesburg
Unnamed bystander #15 2008
the day morgan tsvangirai was sworn in as prime
minister of zimbabwe
Unnamed bystander #16 2008
the day international sanctions were lifted from
south africa
Unnamed bystander #17 2008
the day the south african border war began
Unnamed bystander #18 2008
the day south africa voluntarily dismantled its
nuclear weapons programme
Unnamed bystander #19 2008
the day of the virgina tech massacre
Unnamed bystander #20 2008
the day ernie els won the us open
Unnamed bystander #21 2008
the day the national tax revenue increased to
220%
Unnamed bystander #22 2008
the day of the laingsburg flood
Unnamed bystander #23 2008
the day south africa won the world cup rugby
Unnamed bystander #24 2008
the day jacob zuma was inaugurated
Unnamed bystander #25 2008
the day robin rhode left to live in berlin
Unnamed bystander #26 2008
the day bloemfontein flooded over the new year
Unnamed bystander #27 2008
the day queen performed at sun city
Unnamed bystander #28 2008
the day it snowed in johannesburg
Unnamed bystander #29 2008
the day hansie cronje admitted to taking
bribes from bookmakers
Unnamed bystander #30 2008
the day steve biko was imprisoned
Unnamed bystander #31 2008
the day nkosi johnson an hiv-aids orphan spoke
at a conference for the needs of children
Unnamed bystander #32 2008
the day deputy health minister nozizwe madlala-routledge was fired for her policy agains hiv aids
Unnamed bystander #33 2008
the day a man held an home affairs officer
hostage with toy gun over a dispute about his id
Unnamed bystander #34 2008
the fifteenth day of loadshedding
Unnamed bystander #35 2008
the day of the worst fire to sweep cape town
Unnamed bystander #36 2008
the day of the oil embargo on south africa
Unnamed bystander #37 2008
the day of the first democratic elections
Unnamed bystander #38 2008
the day chief of metro police robert mcbride got
caught for drunk driving
Unnamed bystander #39 2008
the day kodak came back into the country
Unnamed bystander #40 2008
the day the berlin wall came down and the cold
war ended
Unnamed bystander #41 2008
the day the internet was launched