Starting from the premise put forward by Ursula Le Guin, that the first tool was not the weapon, but the carrier bag made of netted yarn, the studios built sociable collectives constructing lines together, upcycling at opposite ends of the fabrication process. Two separate but intertwined Design Studios in architecture, “Treads and Traces” from the Fa Vut in Brno and “HOOKUP” from the IKA at the Academy followed the path of the line through the medium of yarn – see the studio descriptions:
In Brno, the raw material is bales of raw untreated wool from Slovakian Laucane sheep. Their wool is now so undervalued because of the perceived superiority of the wool of sheep like the Australian Merino, that the farmer preferred to donate it to the studio for free than sell it for a pittance and have it used as infill material. In Vienna the raw material is used and discarded T-shirts from Charity shops like Caritas and Volkshilfe and from the cupboards of people at the Academy. The T-shirts can be cut up and stretched and transformed quite easily into a thick elastic yarn with very little waste.
In Brno, the emphasis lies in the process of the creation of yarn and the manufacture of string. Following Paul Klee who repeatedly insisted that the processes of genesis and growth that give rise to forms in the world we inhabit are more important than the forms themselves. ‘Form is the end, death’, he wrote. ‘Form-giving is life’ and Tim Ingold “I want to argue that what Klee said of art is true of skilled practice in general, namely that it is a question not of imposing preconceived forms on inert matter but of intervening in the fields of force and currents of material wherein forms are generated”1
1 The Textility of Making by Tim Ingold, Cambridge Journal of Economics, Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2010, Pages 91-102, https://doi.org/10.1093/cje/bep042, Published:09 July 2009
In Vienna, the form-giving occurs through the carrier bag and the mathematical equation. Inspired by the net bag or bilum, that ubiquitous and multifunctional accessory for the peoples of Melanesia. More important than a mobile phone because the same bilum can carry that mobile phone and also expand to carry a baby. Made from one continuous line, or maindshe, they are continually in flux.
The mathematical equation, specifically the Hyperbolic Surface, had to remain numerical until in 1997, the Latvian mathematician, Daina Taimina discovered that these surfaces could be represented and understood through the technology of crochet. Crochet is one of the few "crafts" that have not "yet" been copied or replaced by machines, so it remains the domain of the dextrous hand. Crochet has so far been able to resist through the string or yarn, the fate that Tim Ingold laments in respect of the line "how the line, in the course of its history, has been gradually shorn of the movement that gave rise to it. Once the trace of a continuous gesture, the line has been fragmented - under the sway of modernity - into a succession of points or dots2...........
Performance and filmic observation HOOKUP these discoveries to each other, so that the form-giving is celebrated. The pieces presented in the exhibition are all deliberately open, in the words of Umberto Eco when he talked of the Open Work of Art, they are COMPLETED, NOT CLOSED.
2 From Lines: A Brief history by Tim Ingold, ISBN 9781138640399, Published April 11, 2016, by Routledge