Koloniesland, Stellenbosch

Planned long in advance for this date, the day on which Strijdom installed the work entitled “Catching the wind” that he had made previously in Australia, Italy and Germany turned out to be an exceptionally blustery one in Stellenbosch. A passerby living in one of the houses overlooking the site told us that when the clouds start forming over the mountain peaks in the distance early on windy days, as was the case, one could expect it to keep picking up over the course of the day, with strong gusts by late afternoon and into the evening. The forecast based on local knowledge turned out to be spot-on. The wind became the overriding aspect of our experience of the day’s work. We were concerned initially that Strijdom’s bamboo leaves might be damaged by the gusts, and shooting conditions were increasingly challenging as the day wore on. But the pieces all remained standing, with only minor, repairable damage. And in the end the physical demands of the shooting conditions and the discombobulated feeling afterwards were well worth enduring: the images we came away with were far more dramatic and interesting than they would have been on a windless day. The arc of the steady build-up in wind speed and gustiness in the course of the day was clearly visible in our shots and became an element of the story in the edit. It did not feel like it at all at the time, but the wind had been a gift.

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