Displaced (2011). Ballen references Gaston Bachelard when he says, "If I were asked to name the chief benefit of the house, I should say: the house shelters day-dreaming, the house protects the dreamer, the house allows one to dream in peace”
The nature of his personal path as an artist, which unquestionably points to an aesthetic canon, but at the same time is essentially tied to existential concerns, would seem to justify an approach that moves away from the historical perspective, favouring a psychological one, and with it, evoking the possible literary or philosophical references in his works.
Bachelard in The Poetics of Space states: “To say that the poetic image is independent of causality is to make a rather serious statement. But the causes cited by psychologists and psychoanalysts can never really explain the wholly unexpected nature of the new image, any more than they can explain the attraction it holds for a mind that is foreign to the process of its creation”. Angelic (2012)
The House Project, draws on the Analytical Psychological theories of Carl Gustav Jung; using his analytical insights into the symbolic imagination, which according to Jung is situated in the collective unconscious of the mind, the psychical sphere that houses the archetypes. "Squeezed"
Pires explores the relationship between the figurative and conceptual questioning of identity in different societies. Pires uses various materials, media, and everyday objects that have strong symbolism, creating a space for new relations and meanings.
The beaded veil she wears in all her performances works as a device to take away the attention from her face and her identity. “I am embodying other women in trying to bring their histories to the forefront so we can start thinking more about Black women’s histories,” Sethembile explains. "Chapungu- The Day Rhodes Fell" (2015)
Her work engages with key debates on how the commemorating of history that has taken place in South Africa has been constructed through erasure. "Amanzamtoti" (2015)
Her practice has been a process of connecting and acknowledging her ancestry, as well as seeking out the stories of other women on this continent, as a millennial contributing to an archive of their histories. "So Long A Letter" (2016)