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It is a beautiful object. It works for a good cause. It is addressing a real problem, a problem the designer Masoud Hassani knows personnally. The design is rooted in his own childhood plays. The design is easy to make and cheap to produce. In all this there is only reason to praise this design.

Why is the Mine Kafon under attack? The mine kafon is deadly, it is said.
That is a fierce accusation. The mine kafon is deadly?! Let's be clear: mines are deadly. The mine kafon is not.

The mine kafon can only be deadly if it pretends to clear all mines in an area. When the mine kafon has been roling over the windy afghan planes has it then cleared the whole area? No. Does it pretend to have cleared that whole area? No!

The Mine Kafon is completely transparant in it's functioning.
It is low tech. It is easy to understand. When the mine kafon has rolled through a minefield it will lay scattered in the field, being the opposite of a danger. It is then a warning signal. It augments the safety for people.

It is completely obvious that the mine kafon does not clear an area of all mines. Therefore it is not deadly. But why then is it under attack? Calling it deadly is a way to divert the attention from the real concerns of the author.

I find the motive for Timo's attack in the sentence: The Mine Kafon has not been bought by the Pentagon, but by the Museum of Modern Art. I guess you now think that jealousy is the motive for the attack.

Timo obviously would himself rather have his capabilities acknowledged by the Moma, then by the Pentagon. But i mean something else. In the seventies we discussed the pentagon in terms of the military-industrial-complex. I know this sounds like an anarcho-syndicalist paranoia.

But the economical and political power of this complex is enormous, as you can imagine. The military budget of the US is 700 billion a year.

There is no way this machinery would buy a cheap design that can be applied by civilians in their own surroundings.
This has nothing to do with effectiveness but with power.

The pentagon and other industrial military institutions control the power to produce distribute and set mines. They also control the power to clear the mines. Those institutions will never clear mines for humane reasons. They will only clear mines for strategic reasons, be they political or economical.

Without strategic values an area will not be cleared, period.

The mine kafon is a counterforce. A pestilence in this machinery. It gives opportunities to civilians.
At the price of a fire cracker the afghan people can set of a mine.

That is why the mine kafon is under attack. It is humane. It is for people. Not big and obscure. It is transparant. In it's design and in it's function.
The Pentagon is put forward by Timo as the ultimate jury of the qualities of the mine kafon. I would distrust the mine kafon if it had been bought by the pentagon.

But not Timo. He sees it as the ultimate goal. He ends his article with a call for 'a design outlook that focusses on the human being'. Allthough I think that also the Pentagon should use good design for their weapons I would never call that a humane design.

Humane design is what we do here at the DAE.

It is humane because it is made by people for people.
It is not made by the industry for people, or worse by the industry against people.

All ready in that sense do we form a counter force in this world. I think the meaning of this counterforce will grow.
We were in the last decade a counterforce in a mental and esthetic sense. With our other way of thinking and looking we found an audience in the cultural arena. We enriched the world with beauty and wit. We added a free spririt to daily gloom.

Today students in the design academy are more and more addressing social issues. These projects evolve from the soft sector of services to sectors that are more governed by industrial complexes. I see counterforces developing everywhere. In food, energy, social cohesion, mobility. Bottom up people take initiative to organise themselves differently. More direct, in smaller settings.

I think designers are agents of change.
When I see the attack on the Mine Kafon i think: yes! It is under attack because it itself attacks the existing power.

Thomas Widdershoven

Published: 10-Jul-2013 13:48
  • Why is the mine kafon under attack?


  • Why is the mine kafon under attack?

    Massoud Hassani and his Mine Kafon