2018 – ongoing: craft and electronics research, movement and sound data capture
It begins with the slipknot, nice and loose so that it glides along the yarn: that’s how it starts. Then keep pulling through the knot, making sure you have just the right tension between the yarn and the index finger. The right tension, that’s the key, and then it will all flow. The knot and the tension, and the ability to unravel everything back to the beginning, that’s what crochet is all about.
HOW THE Crochet resistance Suit HAPPENED
The Crochet Resistance Suit was originally conceived on the model of ancient chainmail suits of armor. Imagine a suit of armor that instead of being metallic and cold, would be made of crochet, delicate and pliable: a suit for a soft, slow rebellion.
We were sitting in my friend Marina’s living room in Berlin. She’d helped me to settle there after I returned from Japan. I wanted to help her too. She was juggling multiple jobs in the gig economy. Now she was telling me about crochet, and how she’d love to have an occupation like that instead. So I offered her a job, and made a contract; a very loose contract, full of slipknots that allowed an open-ended process to develop between us, because at this point I wasn’t sure what exactly we were going to make, but I knew it would be made of crochet. It would be a suit of some kind, made piecemeal, depending on resources, time and money. And we’d apply for cultural funding for making art through tactile craft practices and passionate work.
Eventually, the project passed from Marina to the KOBA electronics shop run by Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson of Kobakant Collective. Their opensource crafting project is called ‘How to Get What you Want.’ (learn to do it and they’ll teach you how… is the hacker’s ethos)
Mariam Arid had arrived in Berlin as a refugee from the war in Syria in 2018. She joined the project through a placement at KOBA, and shared the psychoactive healing effects of craft fabrication in an interview (see below) shown at TATE Exchange, London (2019).
The ambition of the suit kept evolving, and through the collaboration with Kobakant, the Crochet Resistance Suit turned into an electronic net, made of conductive copper yarn, embedded with sensors (…did I really want this?…), mutating from warrior armor, into an amorphous and sonic membrane: the electronic sensors and processor woven into the suit, gather data from the wearer’s micro-movements, and turns them into a soundscape.
The manual fabrication of the the Crochet Resistance Suit has been supported by an Invention Creativity and Experience grant award from Goldsmiths University, and European Cultural Funding . The suit’s journey continues to unravel through my current doctoral research project Space of the Nameless, and the various iterations of my research.
Links to works;
“constructing organically with their hands while drawing on a library of algorithms they come to know in their fingers as well as in their brains. Such digital intelligence mediates a process of figuring in which knowledge resides in both body and mind.
Iterate, deviate, elaborate — this is the process we have used.”
M & C. Wertheim M. & C. 2015: Crochet Coral Reef
Koba Exhibition, 2019
Goldsmiths University, 2020
Tales of Fabrication
Tate Exchange (2019)
Goldsmiths University of London (2019)
Tai Kwun Art Centre, Hong Kong (2019)