Raw Material 8: Performance

May 18, 2016

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Photo: Rebecca Cross, Fiber Art,  (2009-2010), Double-Edge Dance

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Photo: Margie Gillis, A Stone’s Poem and The Tornado Project

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Photo: Eleanor Lawler, Dublin Live Art Festival, http://www.dublinliveartfestival.com

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Photo: Martha Graham, Lamentation, A Portrait of Grieving

Textiles remember. This is not something that we necessarily ask of them, nor is it something we can divert them from doing. They do it regardless. And the memory of the textile is unremittingly democratic: moments of joy and tragedy are recorded on the surface and embedded into the structure of cloth, without permission and often without intention. Textiles remember, in part, because they are hostage to their own fragility. Unlike that of metal or stone, the life span of the textile is not dissimilar to that of our own bodies: newness gradually replaced by wear and tear until worn out. (Jessica Hemmings, The Textile Reader, 2012).

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Photo: Ann Hamilton, The Event of a Thread, 2012-13, Park Avenue Armory, New York, http://www.annhamiltonstudio.com

The crossings of thread make a cloth. Cloth is the body’s first architecture; it protects, conceals and reveals; it carries our weight, swaddles us at birth and covers us in sleep and in death. A patterned cloth symbolizes state or organization; a red cross stitched onto a white field is the universal sign of aid. A white cloth can be a ghost, a monster or a truce. John Constable described the sky in his paintings as a “white sheet drawn behind the objects.” When we speak of its qualities we speak of the cloth’s hand; we know it through touch. Like skin, its membrane is responsive to contact, to the movement of air, to gravity’s pull. (Ann Hamilton, http://www.annhamiltonstudio.com)

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Photo: Yoko Ono, Cut Piece, July 20, 1964, Yamaichi Concert Hall, Kyoto, Japan.

studioasheville-butoh-dance-select-3Photos:  Asheville Butoh Dance, http://www.ashevillebutoh.com

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Photo: Akram Khan Dance Company, http://www.akramkhancompany.net, Vertical Road

…(T)extile as skin or membrane provides on the one hand a very real, tangible point of contact and material boundary and on the other hand a more ambiguous metaphorical boundary between self and ‘not self’ (Maxine Bristow, ‘Continuity of Touch -Textile as Silent Witness’ in The Textile Reader by Jessica Hemmings)

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