01 May 2010

Material Construction

This was my first piece for Material Construction. The project was called "craft hack" and the only stipulation was that we had to use the knitting machine. I created a situation consisting of a card table, place settings, vase, and knitted placemats. Since the knitting machine works in a very binary way, I translated an excerpt from Hemmingway's "Hills Like White Elephants" into binary code and used that to create a fair isle pattern (all of the 0s were one color and all of the 1s were another). I used really feminine colors and finishings to contrast the extreme misogyny of the short story, and the vase in the center included the title with distorted transfers, as though the words became trapped on the glass between the imagined people sitting at the table. The piece has a lot of layers to uncover. There's obviously a narrative of a dialogue with the two place settings, but something feels wrong without actual plates. Then there's a feeling of nostalgia and memory, as well as domesticity and femininity. It's not even that important that the viewer is familiar with the short story, it just adds another layer of irony. In the end it was kind of refreshing and liberating to have spent so much time on the knitted parts that didn't end up being the star of the show, but rather one element of the narrative.

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