ON SIMONA BRINKMANN'S 'FORT WORTH'
Noah Angell, 2009
Simona Brinkmann's Fort Worth is a post-minimalist sandbag fortification formed of elegant, carefully crafted black leather, refashioned as a sort of high-end furniture. Upon registering the idea of sandbags as luxury items, it follows that perhaps having the ability (both the information and the material resources) to prepare for disaster is itself a luxury, as so many 'never knew what hit them', or saw it coming but were powerless in readying themselves. At the same time there is a sense of permanence to these sandbags- they say "get comfortable, we may be here awhile" – very much the current, pervading attitude towards crisis - not its prevention, but its effective management and exploitation.
Today the imperative to be mindful of potential disaster permeates not only public but also private and internal space. Just as officious automated warnings play without pause in airports and train stations, like utterances circle and wear upon the mind of the layperson. This constant instruction to prepare for the worst creates a situation where many of those who are impossibly far from the reality of such a traumatic event treat it as a fantasy scenario, not in the sense that they actually desire to meet with such destruction, but in that they rehearse over and again a moment which never arrives and so remains an active fantasy. In this context the black leather sandbags also recall the couch of the psychiatrist- the refuge of the neurotic for whom crisis & comfort form a bond of indistinguishable interdependence, only in Fort Worth this couch-trench appears as an aesthetic article of a neurotic society which manufactures goods that further accommodate & naturalize the binary logic of crisis and capital. With each successive installation of Fort Worth, the number of black leather sandbags will increase incrementally, so that in time the piece will build towards a total negation or displacement of human presence, leaving no room to maneuver around or even to view the work- the cumulative result of an overfed security fetish.
Noah Angell is an Artist, Filmmaker, & Lecturer based in London.