Jenny Brockmann: Seat #12

Interactive Sculpture in the library

Seat #12 is an interactive, public sculpture by the artist Jenny Brockmann, set up in the library of the Goethe-Institut London. Mounted on a single central axis, it creates a seating opportunity for twelve people, referring to a circular conference table layout. The construction touches the floor in only one place, meaning that the 12 aluminium branches, which start in the middle and each conclude with a seat cushion, create dangerous tipping motions as soon as one tries to sit down.

People balancing on a floating seat © Goethe-Institut London | Photo: Jayne Lloyd

With its swing-like function, Seat #12 sets up an unusual situation: every movement, even the very smallest, made by one of those seated has a direct effect on the sitting position of all the others. And so the person sitting requires a counterpart to balance out the tipping motion caused by their weight. The sculpture’s equilibrium depends on the interaction of its sitters, of the group as a whole. That means that the more people wish to sit down, the clearer the agreement needs to be on when and how each one sits.
The interrelatedness between participants, their communication, and (un-)willingness to re-position for a collective balance, become parts of the installation.The seemingly futuristic object deals with communication: A voiced, or perhaps merely sensed discourse on the perfect balance inevitably evolves between those seated.
The kinetic sculpture Seat #12 is a crucial component to the larger discursive performative installation Jenny Brockmann: #LIMITS, curated by Linda Rocco, which will take place at Goethe-Institut London in October of 2021. #LIMITS hereby refers to the allegory of skin, the largest and most versatile organ in the human body, as a shell delimiting the inside from the outside, able to maintain homeostasis, our inner balance.
Unfolding through three Entanglements, three curated workshop events, the performative installation will look into the properties of skin from a literal and metaphorical point of view, considering processes of regeneration and permeability in relation to digital technologies. Guests and the public will be invited to introduce questions on the relationships between inside and outside, permeability, sensitivity, and the shifts within and dynamics of demarcation, identification and re-identification.

About the artist

Jenny Brockmann is an artist and sculptor living in Berlin and New York. Her works combine technology, science, and art, and have been shown internationally. She studied fine art at the Berlin University of the Arts, where she was a student of Rebecca Horn, and received a diploma in architecture from the Technical University of Berlin. Brockmann creates works characterised by discursive aesthetics. In the form of sculptures, interactive spatial arrangements, or outlines of thought, the artist has for years researched dynamic, spatial, and social processes, as well as natural cycles. Brockmann’s works are a starting point for philosophical discourse, and for questions about patterns of human behavior and social structures.

Seat #12 in the Library

This short essay by Rose Lejeune approaches the acquisition of Jenny Brockmann’s artwork Seat #12 by the Goethe-Institut London. Not simply a sculptural object, but rather an intention for creating a space for research-sharing through discursive multi-disciplinary events, Seat #12 is a proposal for participatory learning.

four people standing in the Library by a seat for 12 © Goethe-Institut London | Photo Pau Ros

Europe Talks 2021 - Discussion on Seat #12


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