Artist Interview



Werthein’s Brinco (2005) trainers were designed to assist illegal immigrants seeking to cross the Mexican-American border. The trainers include a map of the region printed on the sole, a compass, a mini-flashlight, a secret pocket to hide money and other features to aid migrants in the arduous and dangerous trek north. Approximately 1000 pairs of Brinco sneakers (meaning ‘to jump’ in Spanish) were produced in China. They were given away for free in Tijuana to Mexicans setting off for the border, and sold for over $200 as a limited edition in a high-end boutique in San Diego, with proceeds going to a shelter in Tijuana. Werthein examines how a simple pair of shoes can be a product of cheap labour in a globalised marketplace, a functional tool and a luxury commodity.