Monday, February 23, 2009


"In Ilya Kabakov's installation 'Sixteen Ropes' (1984) numerous pieces of garbage dangle at regular intervals, roughly at eye level, from sixteen parallel ropes [...] Although it may not be immediately apparent, 'Sixteen Ropes' presents an archive. In fact, such 'stringing up' of objects was one of the most ancient forms of filing, and the English word 'file' which is derived from the French 'fil' (string), originally meant 'to line something up on a piece of string.'"

Spieker, Sven (2008), The Big Archive: art from bureaucracy, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England, p.ix

The Pleasures of unwinding

"To begin to solve this riddle of the ecstasy of trance, one ought to meditate on Ariadne's thread. What joy in the mere act of unrolling a ball of thread! And this joy is very deeply related to the joy of intoxication, just as it is to the joy of creation. We go forward; but in so doing, we do not only discover the twists and turns of the cave, but also enjoy this pleasure of discovery against the background of the other, rhythmic bliss of unwinding the thread. The certainty of unrolling an artfully wound skein - isn't that the joy of all productivity, at least in prose?"

Walter Benjamin, Hashish in Marseille, quoted in: Spieker, Sven (2008), The Big Archive: art from bureaucracy, The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England, p.56

no more Schiesser underpants!

"Wit tragen also zu Grabe: eines der meistbeachteten Trikotagestuecke der Weltausstellung von Paris 1900 [...]. Eine der entscheidenden Ausstattungsneuerungen der preussischen Armee ab 1876 (Jacques Schiesser war Schweizer). Ein Stueck gewebten Konservatismus. Den fuehrenden Soldatenunterleibausstatter zweier Weltkriege (trotzdem verloren). Ein Kleidungsstueck, welches bein Buecken das beruehmte Maurerdekolletee freilegte! Generaldirektoren griffen zu ihm, Busfahrer, Buerokraten. Schiesser - Wertarbeit aus zwei Beinen. Schiesser war wie Volkswagen, quasi der Kaefer unter den Schluepfern. [...]

Aber nun - es ist 2009 [...] schauen wir an uns herab und hoeren, der 'Nachfrageeinbruch hat der Unterhose das Genick gebrochen.' Das kann man nicht erklaeren, das muss man stehen lassen - die Metaphorik der Wirtschaftsbosse ist besonders in Krisenzeiten von unerbittlicher Plausibilitaet. [...]

Schiesser ist insolvent. Ein Schlag unter die Guertellinie. Tradition - ist eine tote Hose."

Lars L. von der Goenna, Eingriff in die Privatsphaere: Schiesser insolvent! Die Deutschen verlieren ein Requisit buergerlicher Stnandardausruestung. Der Ripp stattete Preussens Soldaten aus, gab aber auch willig den Blick aufs Maurerdekolletee frei. Eine Abschiedserkaerung, WAZ, Nr. 35, 11.2.2009

"We bury: one of the most attention grabbing tricotage pieces of the 1900 Paris World Fair [...] One of the most notable innovations in the equipment of the Prussian Army since 1876 (Jacques Schiesser was Swiss). A piece of woven conservatism. The leading underwear supplier for soldiers of two world wars (but still lost). A garment revealing the famous builder's cleavage. Company directors wore it, bus drivers, bureaucrats. Schiesser- quality on two legs. Schiesser was like Volkswagen, the Beetle among the underpants, so-to-say. [...]

But now, in 2009 [...] we are looking down at ourselves and hear the 'collapse in demand has broken the neck of the underpant.' There is nothing to explain about that, we just have to leave it as it is: the metaphors of the economic leaders are, particularly in times of crisis, of relentless plausibility. [...]

Schiesser is insolvent. A blow below the belt. Tradition - is dead pants."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Disability & knitting

"When I walked with a gray, hospital issued walking stick, people often asked what was 'wrong' with me. Equipment is an instant symbol of impairment. It can be useful for people to see that you have difficulty walking, but on the other hand, sometimes that is all people see! When I covered my stick in green felt, people instead asked where the great stick had come from, and we talked about craft and creativity. Covering my walking stick had an empowering effect, casting me in the role of innovator, inventor, and maker.
The Knitted Walking Stick Cosy returns power to individuals who wish to integrate their equipment into their overall style and gives them access to colors, designs, textures, and materials that might never be commercially available.
So many conversations about living with a disability or knitting a garment revolve around problem solving and ingenuity, and I wanted to bring those worlds togetherto shift questions about living with a disability away from medicine and hospitals and into knitting circles everywhere."

Felicity (Felix) Ford, in Greer, Betsy (2008), Knitting for Good! A Guide to Creating Personal, Social and Political Change, Stitch by Stitch, Trumpeter, Boston and London, p.44, 45


"Though 'craftivism' seems to be associated with left-of-center politics, various agendas and messages have manifested through craft. For example, whereas in 2005 pro-choice activists planned to litter the steps of the Supreme Court with knitted wombs to protest the Court's conservative bent, antiabortion activists crocheted gowns for unborn fetuses.

I came to love knitting as a reaction to working so intensely with technology and became inspired by it as a preinduatrialised skill. It helped me consider the wide gap between handcraft and manufacturing and got me interested in early industrial capitalism, the dawn of sweatshops, and the subsequent labor movement.
When considering the political potential of craft, it isn't craft alone that is powerful, but the scope of the people that engage in it."

Cat Mazza, in Greer, Betsy (2008), Knitting for Good! A Guide to Creating Personal, Social and Political Change, Stitch by Stitch, Trumpeter, Boston and London, p.107

Altermodern webs

"Altermodernism does not work as an idea so much as a web of observations, a web with a weaver at its centre. The real hyperlink here is not the art, but Bourriaud himself."

Laura Cumming, The world as a waste of space, Altermodern: Tate Triennial 2009,
The Observer, 8 February 2009, Review p.19

more about the altermodern
Bourriaud, Nicolas (2008), Altermodern – Manifesto,

... like a knot tied in a rope

"Whereas the intellect reproduces species by attracting likenesses from physical and imaginable things to its coessential and natural intelligible part in which it makes them intelligible, we now write this Book of Light which enables the intellect to become fluent in the science of the General Art, and this book proceeds according to the mode of the General Art (Ars Magna, or Ars Generalis Ultima) whose Principles and Rules it adopts. Now this Book is like a knot tied in a rope to prompt the memory to recollect things."

Raymond Lull (1247), The Book of Light/Liber de Lumiere