‘Decoy’ Afrikaburn 2012 Mirage Theme

Collaboration with Daniella Mooney
Mirage Fighter Jet F1 CZ tail
Variable: 310cm x 160cm plus Air Brake Parachute

When I first stood in the presence of Fiona Banner’s ‘Harrier & Jaguar’, I couldn’t get over the tantalizing physical relationship created by combining an object of such industrial beauty and awe inspiring power and terror with the incongruity of the silence and marbled encapsulation of the Tate Britain (2010).

Inspired by this occasion, I’ve spent months trying to track down a SANDF decommissioned Mirage Fighter used in the South African Border Wars, culminating in a trip to Swartkops Air force Base in Thswane (Pretoria) Fri, 11th Nov.

23 decommissioned SANDF Mirage F1’s and all their spare parts were recently acquired by Aerosud & the Paramount Group and sold to Gambia.

I failed to convince the powers that be to release or lend an ex Mirage Fighter, amongst other blatently obvious reasons their is a moratorium to prevent exploitation of State assets, decommissioned or otherwise. I did however learn of the wooden and fibreglass decoy Mirages secretly built to bluff foreign intelligence agencies that the SADF (now SANDF) had more firepower than it did.

The extra level of subterfuge compelled me to deliver this installation for Afrikaburn 2012 with its theme of Mirage (something that appears to be what it is not).

The collaboration with Daniella Mooney originally consisted of running a liquid flammable fuel such as Diethyl Ether over the plane’s wing and recycling the unburnt liquid back over the plane’s wing in a mechanism that emulates both a stainless steel urinal and a fountain to create the nightime illusion of a ‘firefall’ (a fire waterfall). The combination of the plane part being leant and being made partly of magnesium rendered any fire aspect to dangerous.

The work then developed to culture a discoarse around the Border War, the 23 year ‘Silent War’ which seems to only now be coming into mainstream media. We conceived four written scenarios in a timeline that accompanied the silent installation in the desert. Two where factually based on our research from past events, one set contemporarily, and the last based well into the future. We were attempting to play with the notions of fact & fiction – much like the military did to maintain power.

Decoy Sketch Decoy Decoy Sketch Decoy

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