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.

The Pelindaba Collection

Sep 26, 2019 - Vincent Bezuidenhout

The Pelindaba Collection* is at the centre of my project Fail Deadly, concerning South Africa’s clandestine nuclear weapons program during apartheid. The collection consists of more than 900 pages of declassified, photocopied documents I collected from sources including, The Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, The South African History Archive, as well as N.S.A., C.I.A. and internal government communications I obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. The collection is the largest archive in existence concerning the apartheid regimes WMD program. In response to the most critical information being redacted, I created various photo based works including the Black Landscapes and Holepunch series which I will discuss in subsequent posts.


The collection in its entirety has been exhibited in various iterations such as a vertical stack of documents on a plinth and pinned to a wall. In 2018 I created an installation in an old pharmaceutical factory in Brooklyn with an office printer laboriously printing page after page of the collection which ranges from minutes of a meeting between defense ministers from apartheid South Africa and Israel to technical specifications for uranium enrichment.


* Pelindaba is the name of the area in South Africa where these secret facilities were built in the 1970’s. The word is derived from the Zulu words pelile meaning “finished” and indaba meaning “discussion”.