machine knitting – 12 tiles and 3 signs
Created for PROGRESS exhibition at Rogue Artists Studios, as part of Manchester Histories Festival, 4th – 12th June 2016
In November 2015, members of Rogue Artists Studios were informed that Crusader Mill, the home to Rogue as well as a number of textiles factories, has been sold to developers Capital & Centric. Whilst the news came as a shock, it was perhaps equally not a surprise, and perhaps even overdue. It placed the artists at Rogue and our neighbours in a tough predicament; either to look for new premises, and tackle the logistics of moving, or consider winding up. In the stone stairwell that connects the studios and the factories, hand painted signage pointing to previous tenants is daubed over layers of peeling paint. In the last few months, these have been complemented by the paper grid reference icons of the quantity surveyors.
These works recreate samples of the formal signage, painted type, peeling textures and surveyance systems that ca be found in the stairwell. Each piece is created by documenting a 40cm x 40cm sample, reinterpreted as a knitting pattern, and machine knitted using carefully chosen yarns, before being re-installed over their orginal location, sealing their fate.
A series of works looking at the experiences of people in downtown Montreal, and critically questioning the role of arts in a changing urban environment. The works have been based on a number of interviews around Quartier des Spectacle, as well as visual research into the area.
The works seek to record and imaginatively represent the ideas, experiences and iconography of the people living, working and passing through the area, as traditional knitted fairisle patterns, brought to life as animations, audio recordings, and installed as site-specific markers. The aim is to build a picture of overlapping and often conflicting perspectives on the area, revealing characters, stories, social dynamics and tensions, and ask the question “what is the place of the arts?”.
‘Ceci n’est pas un Spectacle’ – knitted animation
Crossed Lines – interactive sound installation in phonebox
Fairisle Markers for La Place des Arts – textile banners
A 20 minute adrenaline-fuelled machine-knitting performance – perhaps the first of its kind – in which Eadweard Muybridge’s iconic ‘Horse in Motion’ is knitted, ironed and animated to soundtrack of horse-themed 7-inch records. As the artist talks the audience through the process, the “will he / wont he” suspense is heightened by the self-evident danger of knitting-whilst-talking, and using a hot iron whilst listening to loud music. Those audiences lucky enough to see the artist successfully traverse the highwire tension of live knitting are rewarded with the wondrous sight of a knitted horse galloping onscreen, inviting rapturous applause. Previous witnesses have likened it to an almost religious experience.
The Knitted Horse Performance has been successfully performed at Waterside Arts Centre (Sale), Creative Process (Liverpool), and Flatpack Film Festival (Birmingham). It has also been unsuccesfully performed at Film Material (Manchester), whereupon the knit carriage jammed and broke two needles.
An ongoing series of performance experiments to programme sound and light from a punchcard knitting machine. Combining a hands-on interface with midi synths and dmx LED par cans, the knitting machine becomes it’s own disco.
By punching holes in the punchcard, the artist and audience is able to programme a binary value, which is tracked by the camera, and processed as values passed to the synth, lights and projector. The knitted artifact is merely a by-product and document of this performance.
Knit Synth at Test Card 11, Manchester
Knit Synth – Make Fest Liverpool
Knit RGB Disco at Film Material Toast
Knit RGB at The Whitworth