Thuistezien 131 — 28.12.2020

Simon Gush
In the company of

Many people in life are often already 2-0 ahead, while this game makes it a bit more equal. A football game played on a regular grass field, South African artist Simon Gush thought differently. Immigrants from all over the world play a match on railway tracks in the neighbourhood Moscou in the city of Ghent. It doesn’t matter what culture or background you have, everyone who enters this field is equal and thus has the same chances. The obstructions don't make it any less of a challenge to win this game. Their stamina, effort and the risk of a broken ankle, doesn't resist them of wanting to win the game.
The experience becomes one when we can hear all ten players communicating with each other. Communication is crucial in finding your way through these tracks. The ambitious players are beginning to acclimatize. However, they still have trouble getting the manoeuvring ball in the right place at the right time. The football players, each from different countries moved to Belgium coming from both inside and outside the EU, have to deal with the football bouncing and hobbling its own life. The immigrants tell their story by finding their way, a way to a goal over which you sometimes have no control. The obstructed field doesn’t make it easier. However, since both teams have to deal with this, it becomes an interesting.

Both halfs last 15 minutes, which makes time crucial. The rushing football game shows the difficulties and obstacles you’ll find to your destination in life. In this manner you could say it’s an iconic piece of performance since it’s questioning the labour and working class of all times. The football players, getting more and more exhausted, occupy the train tracks by making the working class-structure a field of amusement. If we consider the train tracks being the tracks of life, how do we see our status because of the work we do? We are all equal if we start up with the same obstructions, unfortunately we don’t have control of where our tracks of life begin. This will easily allow you to be put offside. The art work ‘In the company of’ by Gush shows the tracks of life. We could consider the wandering ball as the control we have, or let’s say, we don’t have.

If we ask the players where they prefer to play on, what do you think that would be? The distilled beautifully mowed field, or the obstructed experimental one. To improve skills, you have to be obstructed, and to be obstructed, you have to play on train tracks.

Text: Lotus Rooijakkers