Microlight is merely a photographic essay. Despite the fact that all the images are carefully carved and displayed in order to unveil, in a very sensitive and subtle progression within the story, one is struck by the story behind the images and the manner into which Jansen van Staden has managed to transform a very personal quest into a book that can be understood by anyone. I see his project as a family and above all, a personal psychoanalysis. It is a process that combines memory and investigation. There are always things we don’t know about our parents, about our families that, at times, should remain unknown. But despite all odds, Van Staden has decided to open Pandora because there is always a moment when knowing is better than pretending not to know. It is as if Telemaque would have embarked in the journey of trying to fill the gaps in his knowledge of his father’s life. Ulysses had done a lot of things during his long Odysseus. Things that a son should not necessarily be informed of but that constitute at the same time, his way out; the missing key for his own development. Van Staden has carefully gathered the elements of a puzzle that will never be completed. Those elements appear before our eyes as ruins, remains upon which one should try to rebuild a story of his own. With the help of fragile micro lights that could vanish at any moment. In the end, the journey was worth the pain. The story stands on its own aesthetically and, should I say, philosophically. It shows that truth does not necessarily rhyme with reconciliation. Maybe a posthumous forgiveness.
Text by Simon Njami