With the video installation CONFIDENTIAL (2018) Bertschi traces the spirit of six buildings in Johannesburg’s Central Business District (CBD) and Pretoria. In the National Archives of South Africa, she discovered two boxes containing correspondence documenting the purchase of South African gold by the Swiss Bank Corporation (now UBS) in the 1950s. Folders from following years were not to be found.During this period, a strong foundation was laid for economic relations between Switzerland and South Af-rica, which continued until the end of apartheid de-spite UN sanctions. It was a foundation consisting of individuals and their trust relationships, and remained largely invisible. Bertschi tries to render the invisibility of these deals visible, by enabling the buildings to become architectural agents of the gold trade. The CBD – where Bertschi lived during her stay – was to become a (exclusively white) «New York City of Africa» during the gold rush; after the end of apartheid many of these buildings were abandoned. Thus, the buildings depicted inCONFIDENTIAL are in very different states, and some of the original structures have even given way to new architectures.
Year: 2018, 3-screen video installation with soundtrack, 10 min.6 framed archival documents, camera and edit: Denise Bertschi, colour correction: David Röthlisberger, sound: Melissa Tun Tun