‘Sets & Devices’ is a limited edition photobook about life in an artisanal workshop in Salt River, Cape Town. This piece of visual writing emerges from following a team of setbuilders on various job cards for commercials and events - how the sets are assembled, where they go, and what they ultimately become as they get recycled into second lives.
The photobook forms part of a constellation of outcomes for a research project I am conducting, called Green Screen, in the Centre for Humanities Research at University of the Western Cape. This project explores the labour of the imagination and its counterfactual nature from the offscreen perspective of the workshop floor.
The photobook includes my images of visual research as well as a series of commissioned portraits by Thom Pierce. Its publication was timed as a gesture to mark the retirement of the workshop’s founder. It also happened to coincide with the workshop downscaling operations to prepare for a differently configured future. Consequently, the photobook has become a commemoration of the workshop’s former creative life and collective endeavours.
A companion narrative of creative nonfiction can be found here.