Gelitin is made up of four artists from Austria. At first, these four artists were known as Gelatin but changed their name in 2005. They are known for their intriguing projects. Amongst them is their pool installation on the roof of a museum1 or their gigantic plush boy, a 55-meter tall pink rabbit near Genoa, Italy.
Over time, they have ventured in other forms of art. Their project The B-thing began in March 2000. This time, the group allegedly removed one of the windows on the 91st floor of the former World Trade Center complex in New York. After this, they installed a narrow balcony, and a helicopter was flying around the scene, capturing every moment which would later be documented in the book The B-thing. After the project concluded, the WTC was involved in one of the most prominent events of the last hundred years.
A balcony in the WTC
The balcony was a prefabricated construction created by the team. After the installation, only one person at a time should be able to stand on the balcony. Another requirement was to camouflage the structure, so it was less visible to all the passersby on the street.
To do this, the team had to remove one of the windows. They had to be very professional to minimize mistakes and injuries and prevent damaging the skyscraper. Gelitin ensured that they are following all legal processes. An attorney guided them on how to behave.
The B-Thing book
The B-thing book was published in 2001 with new copies retailing at $500 on Amazon. It is a hardcover volume that has drawings, color photographs, and a few texts describing the events that took place on the 91st floor of WTC in 2000, approximately 335 m (1,100 feet) above ground.
The B-thing documents the project in a section of glossy color photographs, containing mostly drawings and calculations. The individuals have all turned away from the camera but appear to be of college-age. The 55 pages publication shows photos of each person at a time standing on a tiny balcony.
The book also shows photos of the balcony. With the eight photographs all taken from a distance, some show the tower’s vast eastern frontage stained by a tiny mole-like growth. The balcony is a narrow, cramped space protruding between two interior columns which initially hosted a window. Some of the pictures in The B-thing appear to have been shot from the balcony itself. The photos of the balcony are grainy and unconvincing.
Some people think that there was a close connection with the artists and the September 2001 perpetrators. Although this has never been proven, some people are still furious, with the art project instantly disquieting questions about the security of the high-rise. They feel that this publication tells us something about the vulnerability of the WTC, which later provoked more debates after the attacks.
Some are also confused by the untidy sketches which appear to be jotted in ballpoint. They seem to contradict the precision required to pull off such this covert installation. People have called the B-Thing a successful prank-as-statement by Austrian students, others troubling and stimulating. The quality of the photos makes it challenging to determine what was going on, creating mystery around the events.
The B-Thing is considered by some a troubling and thought-provoking project. However, it is safe to say that it was wholly original and bold.
Exhibition photos, Perrotin Gallery
All images: Gelitin/gelitin.net & Perrotin/perrotin.com unless otherwise noted.