Occasionally I receive invitations to show in exhibitions. Mostly I don't have time to produce the work but this was an invite I couldn't ignore...
"I have been approached by Dr Ele Carpenter (Lecturer,Dept of Art, Goldsmiths College) to coordinate an embroidery art work for an exhibtion she is organising which will be curated by artists anrdrea zapp and simon blackmoore, and be shown at the AND Festival in Manchester in October.
I need a team of creatives to embroider a series of words on to a patch. The size of the patch will be 25 x 25cm and I will provide you with the words. All the patches will get photographed to create slide show and then appear in a series of exhibitions".
I decided I could just about manage a 25cm square piece of embroidery. And I do love how the AND festival has been developing over the past couple of years so was really excited to think my little contribution could become part of it.
"is based on the beautifully crafted language of the Concise Lexicon of/for the Digital Commons (Sarai, 2003) written by the Raqs Media Collective. The full lexicon is an A-Z of the interrelationship between social, digital and material space".
You can read more *here* but it does start to get beyond even my comprehension after that point.
As part of our writing of the term zone my words were 'where logic likes to fuzz.' I wanted something that reflected the words visually, so used the spirograph motif to show logic, something with pattern and predictability; and something more random - a sort of explosion of embroidery - to echo the fuzz. The fuller Zone text talks about how a zone is a transient place with blurring boundaries. So I hoped the mix of predictable pattern and random motifs might put some of that across. Incidentally, the fabric is an old piece of embroidered cotton I bought in a charity shop last year. It seemed a fitting use, a tiny homage from an old to a new embroidered life.
There is a whole other element to this project which, had I thought about it earlier, might have dissuaded me from joining in. Something about open-source development and the application of creative commons licensing. Digitally available work with levels of permission to go with it - how others can borrow, take, use, adapt or sell (or not) variations of that work, and to what extent the original creator needs to be credited.
There's an interesting cross-over with participatory artwork led by named artists. For example, all the work in the big project is made by hundreds of people. However it is publicly referenced as the work of an academic and two artists who organised the exhibition, but who had no hand in creating the work. As far as I know actual makers like myself and others, are not being acknowledged (certainly there's no reference on the festival website - maybe the installation will include contributors' details I don't know). This is an issue across contemporary art, it crops up time and time again and is not yet resolved.
So - here it is, I've loved taking part and thinking about design. I've become re-addicted to embroidery. I'll have some small (probably unnamed) piece of work in a cutting edge festival and central Manchester exhibition. And despite my reservations I am utterly chuffed to bits.