Smart Casual Bulletproof

Akademie der Künste
Pariser Platz, Berlin

by Abrie Fourie

Fourteen hybrid clothing outfits for men and women, combining standard western dress protocol with bullet-proof functionality. The outfits were produced for the gallery staff of the Akademie der Künste, Pariser Platz, Berlin, to wear during the embedded art exhibition in 2009. The actual tailoring was done in South Africa with the help of Iraqi-born fashion designer, Ahmed Albeek, who now lives in Pretoria, South Africa.
For the duration of the three-month show, security guides escorted groups of public through the exhibition, stretching over multiple levels of the building, under the watchful eye of closed circuit television cameras and broadcast to visitors at viewing areas within the exhibition. The focus of the exhibition was paranoia and security consciousness in the international socio-political situation although the idea for my artwork was conceived within the context of my own lifestyle at home. Contemporary South Africa has bred its own kind of security angst: where there is one group of desperate people with nothing to lose and another equally desperate group with very much to lose, you are likely to reach a point where both parties make tactical decisions within their means.