Ask the artist

The blue prints for the othaship act as a poster for PASS 2010 and seeing her translated from ink on page to a shadow casting sound sculpture in St Georges Mall is a chuckle worthy surreal excursion. She’s called Bianca and Douglas simply shrugs his shoulders when I ask him to elaborate.

Bianca is the mistress Mobutu dreamt of but failed to woo. After much tinkering, tree climbing and wrench turning from Douglas she asserts a willful skewness, pointing slightly to the left.

“We always get from one straight point to another, the way forward is not straight but leans off the center,” quips Francis, Doug’s friend and assistant for the launch.

She is also as Douglas says, ‘a failed’ advert.“This is meant to be some kind of ad for PASS but none of the text makes you immediately aware of this, infact it’s been purposefully omitted…”

PASS was originally meant for everyone and to not get a radio frequency but use an online medium limits reach and the othaship/Bianca/B serves as a public sculpture that will disseminate PASS by put it off the internet and launch it on street level.

As Douglas drills a hole onto the cement floor to anchor the othaship, the doorman from the Taj Hotel; laughs at the spectacle we are for him. I understand his humor, we are a strange tableaux of workers, non workers and observers as Francis and Doug climb ladders and puncture cement whilst the only darkies at the Launch party circle them with video recorders and cameras. Even before he is done installing our B, Douglas has attracted passersby who pause to read the text or wait it out as he drills this and pokes that into place.

“It’s a rocket, I think,” says a young boy who’s been considering the text and blue prints. “I don’t understand much of what it’s about but it’s not done yet, but its a rocket man.”

The othaship is propped against a slab of concrete that was once a part of the Berlin wall, there’s a plaque at the bottom of the sculpture proudly identifying the spine as such. After regarding this little fact a middle aged gent spits, “Sacrillage!”

“It’s useful having these kinds of very loaded objects to work with,” Gimberg asserts. “There’s a certain voodoo, lucky charm. The fact that the wall came down was the gesture, having the piece here is putting up another wall. Where there was one wall now there’s fifty thousand little walls all over the world.”

Its a CCID security guard who asks Doug,”How much does it cost to go to the moon?”

“Man, it costs millions and millions. Luckily this thing didn’t cost as much, ” he answers.

Luckily for us SPACE is a place we can all take a short tour bus through tonight as we sing Songs to Biko. The other ship has been fully assembled and I can say at last, with honesty this time that the assembly line is indeed deserted.

photo by: neo muyanga


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