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Photopaper 58/59 – Guy Tillim

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Photopaper 58/59 – Guy Tillim Hotel Universo

»In Hotel Universo I didn’t set out to photograph vestiges of colonial power, I was simply fascinated by the place I found myself in, the sensation of it, and the feeling of being utterly lost in fact, so different was this environment from the one I grew up in. To my mind’s eye these modernist colonial structures became museums of themselves, frozen in time. It felt strange to walk amongst them. It felt as if I were in a kind of labyrinth, one from which I secretly hoped I would never quite emerge, or maybe, one from which I would emerge and discover a new world. History is perpetually contentious. There is always a battle for ownership of the past—if you can own the past you control the future, by inventing or perpetuating some myth of yourself, or your culture, or group. I think we’d be a lot better off if we abandoned that quest, but I suppose these myths are central to control of people. I think memorial, or visual memory should be more neutral, or at least abstracted, particularly if something didn’t happen to you. I didn’t live in these buildings. I tried not to photograph them in a hyper-critical way, tried to avoid being a connoisseur of decay. I know someone might take issue with this and say, well, these buildings are in a state of dilapidation, and therefore an attempted metaphor for the African condition of a certain era. But its not my intention to look at these places this way, I only wanted to provide a window onto a world.«
— Guy Tillim

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