The Illusion of Safety
Does increased security make you feel safer? Cool Dutch designer and artist Christien Meindertsma investigates this issue in her compelling art book ’Checked Baggage’, which comprises a week’s worth of objects confiscated in Schiphol Airport after 9/11.
Through ‘Checked Baggage’ (2004), which was her graduation project, Meindertsma wanted to uncover whether or not the increased security measures following 9/11 would actually make people feel safer. Keeping in mind the absurd fact that on one of the crashed planes, the pilot locked himself into the cockpit. She thus purchased a container filled with impounded articles and meticulously categorised all 3,267 items – from children’s cutlery to cheese knives – and photographed them against a white background.
“If you design something yourself, it’s only as big as your own head is. These were things from thousands of people with nice little signatures on them – it made the story bigger than me.” The reactions to her art project were mixed and her teachers sceptical, but Meindertsma stuck to it, wanting to show – not tell – how absurd it is to think that taking away everybody’s pocketknives will prevent a terrorist attack: “Maximum security is not always a way to become more safe.”
Christien Meindertsma (b. 1980) is a Dutch artist and designer, graduated from the Eindhoven Design Academy in 2003, who explores the life of products and raw materials. With her designs Meindertsma seeks to regain an understanding of the processes that due to industrialization have become so distant and unfamiliar. Her work has been exhibited at prominent venues such as MoMA and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum in New York and The V&A in London. She has won three Dutch Design Awards (2008) as well as an Index award (2009) for her second book, ‘PIG 05049’ (2007). The book is an extensive collection of photographs that document a vast array of products derived from an anonymous pig called 05049. For more about Meindertsma and her work see: http://www.christienmeindertsma.com/
Christien Meindertsma was interviewed by Marc-Christoph Wagner in her studio in Rotterdam, the Netherlands in 2014.
Camera: Sandder Lanen
Edited by: Sonja Strange
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2015
Supported by Nordea-fonden