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Istanbul Design Biennial Round UP

I thought it was about time for a roundup of the project Google Weaving Stop Time Project.

Details of the project and exhibition as part of the 4th Istanbul Design Biennial are below.

I was fortunate enough to attend the Biennial (as well as the Contemporary Art Fair in Istanbul), and meet up with fellow artist and weaver Emelie Rondahl from Sweden. The project had fantastic support from the Swedish Consulate in Istanbul who assisted us with the workshop and talks.

I did post about the project previously on the blog… check that out here.

Highlights of attending the Biennial and taking part in the project were heading the weaving workshop with about 22 participants. Unfortunately Emelie lost her voice the morning of the workshop so instead of just helping out on the day, my old lecturing skills kicked in and we had participants weaving in no-time! Thanks so much to Suzi from the Swedish Consulate who translated for us on the day, particularly during the ‘tell us about yourself’ session. It was so wonderful to hear from everyone, what their background was, their weaving story and to have so many laughs! They were all so wonderful and I felt that we made so many lovely connections.. . I loved you all!!!

The day after the workshop there was an In Conversation with Emelie Rondahl and Lina (one of the exhibitors from Berlin). Emelie talked (or croaked her way) through the conversation and we all discussed how we thought the project went. Some of the key points of discussion that came up were:

  • For Emelie, embarking on leading such a project as an artist and PhD candidate. Emelie felt that she learnt a lot in terms of organization and communication.

  • Participants in the project came from a variety of backgrounds, many wouldn’t classify themselves as professional artists and there was some laughter around the Facebook discussions of couriers collecting the work and everyone adding photos to the group of their parcels. I wonder if this is our need to constantly document what happens in our life? If it wasn’t instagrammed, it didn’t actually happen kind of vibe…

  • A big part of the project was around the selection of images from the Google search ‘Textile Labour Turkey’. We wanted to see what images came up, how they made us feel. For me I almost felt detached after a certain point of weaving the image. It became about the mechanical process, keeping the time of how many hours we spent weaving and the impending deadlines. We discussed how the google algorithms worked and how in some way we had changed them with all of our images of the tapestries #textilelabourturkey

For me, it was a different experience taking part in a 'design' exhibition and biennial. It's funny as tapestry always seems to sit on the outskirts... not in the art world, not in the design world and for me, not in the craft world either. It was wonderful to expose the work to new viewers and to meet so many makers in Istanbul too. Taking the work into new environments is a great thing!

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