A place that we gather and connect - this could be in a mens shed, a cafe with friends or down at the pub, so many places. But due to my textile background I have chosen to stitch and connect.
Thinking of communication, community, and connection. Guilds, groups and clubs – a place to connect and talk. That as communities we often gather around a common interest and create with our hands as we open up and reconnect with stories and conversation.
Stich skin is looking at Lady Cassandra (the current pet name for this work ) being the super computer – the wearable skin tag - but pays homage to the groups and guilds that gather with busy hands and open minds to connect.
Referencing Chris Dancy’s thoughts on behaviour as the interface – our life the platform. – designing for calm technology, kind technology and designing for contemplation.
What if we gather to hack our skin tags, to custom fit, to re program and re connect. To sit and stitch circuitry to our tags?
The process of stitching a scoby/skin that is fresh and plump was far more confronting than stitching the tired scoby/skin – the tired dry scoby/skin was technically harder – but the plump young fleshy scoby required pressure to force the sharp needle into the surface -and then there would be an audible pop as the needle broke the surface on the other side. The pressure required would cause the scoby to leak a little liquid.
The stitching of circuits with conductive thread had me thinking again about how to interact with Lady Cassandra – and I think at this stage I will use the post grad space to set up a serries of interactive performances to help document and possibly start to resolve ways that may best connect people to this work. I know that I want people to be initially intrigued by the work - But I want them to walk away challenged.
During these performances Lady Cassandra will be treated as a new supercomputer that presents itself as a home grown skin created by a bio hacker and that this is the way of the future. The reason that she has been “hacked” is due to open source ethics and the voidance of large corporations. That we can reclaim our data.
So the plan at this stage is to invite people to Feed it, Kill it or sustain it.
If they choose to feed or sustain – they will then be invited to drink it.
Next they will be invited to stitch it.
Finally to take a selfie wearing the different tags.
This may lead to the final work being a polished version of this performance.
Or the support work being a resolved documentation of this process and the final work being more about coding and hacking?
Artist Eliza Bennett takes embroidery to the extreme, literally creating an art installation in her skin! She uses her own hand and skin as a base for embroidery to create immensely work worn hands; in hopes of challenging stigmas related to traditionally considered ‘women’s work’ (such as sewing and embroidery) in her work named 'A Women's Work is Never Done- Flesh/Thread.'
She uses her own hands to shed light on society’s problematic pre-conceived notions of ‘women’s work’ as being easy work. Bennett literally depicts the labor and pain that goes into the trade of embroidery. She also demonstrates how undervalued and under paid the trade is, along with other gendered trades.
Bennett claims that her work has a "narrative quality," even though it’s shocking and extreme. Most importantly she states, "To me what makes a powerful work of art is when it moves one to acknowledge the wealth of feelings inside, whilst embracing the incoherence of lived experience". Talk about being a dedicated artist!
6th October - Post Stitch Skin and the use of the Post Grad space.
Not surprisingly - most people were repelled by the idea of stitching a scoby. It is too fleshy, too skin like, it is slimy, its smells of vinegar. But one generous sole did stop to stitch with me.
Kathy had a previous interest in the work and the use of a scoby as Kathy also drinks and grows her own Kombucha tea. Kathy had also seen very early incarnations of the skintags, when I was making an entire wearable torso of scoby. This wearable torso was covered in the bruising of the penicillin. The work was confronting and did look like a victim of domestic violence. The torso was going to be worked into a bush dyed silk skirt and form a wedding dress. This work did not evolve past the bodice - even though the message would have been confronting and strong regarding the visual connection of badly bruised torso and domestic violence - this is not what my work is about for this Honours year. (So this became one of those ideas tucked away for another time)
Kathy has been following my blog and online posts about the work and was very keen to come in and stitch with me.
I offered kathy a section of sizes and thickness to work with and we both started to design our miniature works. The conversation was initially about the response the work has had and this then moved between what threads would be used and how do you knot off when you start embroidering such a flesh like material.
Originally Kathy had designed a small badge about Refugees being welcome. I am pleased that she re thought this initial idea as the words embroidered onto a flesh like disk may not translate as she had hoped. instead Kathy worked on a floral motif and our conversation was strong about inclusivity, refugees, politics and other creative people that we know that are also supporting refugees and assisting people with valuable connections into communities and a mutual sharing of culture.