Black Smoke Rising – a video trilogy by Bernie Searle
The front page image of The Chimurenga Chronic features stills from “Gateway,” a video-work by Bernie Searle.
Bernie Seale’s Gateway is part of her Black Smoke Rising trilogy (2009-2010) – a series shown consecutively as single-screen projections. Capturing ‘the air of discontent’ enveloping the poor in South Africa, these works challenges perceptions of reality, constructions of identity and the notion of home. The title, Gateway, alludes to the government’s failed N2 Gateway Housing Project, which was intended to provide low-cost housing to people living in informal settlements along the highway from Cape Town to the airport, but became mired in controversy and administrative problems. A small house set ablaze gradually reveals itself to be merely a facsimile of the real thing, constructed from corrugated paper and soon reduced to ashes.
The Black Smoke Rising trilogy has had numerous showing, including at Michael Stevenson, Cape Town, South Africa (26 May -23 July 2011), De Hallen, the Belfry Tower, Bruges, Belgium (18 April – June 2011) and Museum voor Moderne Kunst Arnhem (MMKA), Arnhem.