The Mine Kafon, a minesweeper

by Charlie Crooijmans

Usually News & Noise relates music to current affairs, but this time it is a piece of art that is worthwhile mentioning. It is the Mine Kafon of the Afghan designer Massoud Hassani, recently purchased by MOMA in New York (Washington Post). The big round dandelion-like-object  is made of bamboo and plastic. It is Hassani’s final work for the Dutch Design Academy in Eindhoven. In an interview last week with the NRC Next,  he stated that he feels very honored that the MOMA is interested in his work, but he would rather see it move on a minefield. In Afghanistan “Kafon” stands for “disarming”, and yes, the Mine Kafon is meant to be a minesweeper.

Massoud Hassani (1983) grew up in Kabul where he and his brother used to make their own toys, small wind-powered cylinders  made by paper.  In the desert they had competitions with the other children which was very dangerous because of the minefields.  At the age of ten, he and his family left Afghanistan and they ended up in Holland. Later at the design academy Hassani was stimulated by the teachers to use his childhood memories. The result is the Mine Kafon. In the video below – a trailer of an upcoming documentary  – you can see how it works.

Hassani teamed up with the Dutch military and the country’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit to test it in the desert of Morocco. But the Mine Kafon isn’t suitable for military purposes yet (BBC Future). But he would not give up,  so he searches for solutions to get it work. Currently Hassani talking to a company to get the Mine Kafon in production. This is what art means to Hassani, it has to be functional in society.  He hopes that one day the minefield issue doesn’t exist anymore and that the Mine Kafon can serve as a symbol of the problems of this age (NRC Next, October 10).

You can follow Massoud Hassani on his blog.

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