Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

She Watches Over

Sep 30, 2019 - Vincent Bezuidenhout

She Watches Over was made in collaboration with South African artist Chad Rossouw.


On 22 September 1979, at 00:53 Universal Time, US satellite Vela 6911 recorded a distinctive double flash in an area where the South Atlantic meets the Indian Ocean off the coast of South Africa. Designed to look for clandestine atmospheric nuclear tests, and already operational for more than 10 years, Vela’s gamma-ray and x-ray detectors, along with its two Bhangmeters, indicated a nuclear explosion of approximately 3 kilotons.


Subsequent investigations by various agencies into the incident came to contradictory conclusions ranging from a meteorite hitting the satellite to other natural phenomena, but the prime suspect has always been a joint South African-Israeli nuclear test.


Documents from these investigations are either classified or heavily redacted.


She watches over consists of a life sized replica of the Vela satellite. This sculpture is accompanied by an enlarged copy of an actual redacted document. Through simplicity of form, absence and the geometry of aerospace engineering, this work examines the complex interaction between secrecy, government and fear which intersected with South Africa’s own history of aggressive Nationalism and modernist aspirations.