Yesterday I had a telephone conversation with Richard Povall; he is one of the members of the artists group half/angel.
half/angel was commissioned for a project in Cork in 2004. (http://www.halfangel.ie )
I was good to talk with him and get more of an idea about the conceptual background of the project. I spent this morning looking at a lot of images on their website, or better on the website for Knitting Map Cork ( www.knitting.ie). I got a good idea how much interaction with the public was involved, from the initial workshops, to the street event ‘The Knitting Piper of Cork’, to the mostly women sitting in the church in front of their station and creating this enormous piece of knitting.
At the end I asked Richard what is happening now with the MAP. He said it is in storage now; somewhat reluctantly he said they really hadn’t thought more about it, but it felt as if it had fulfilled its purpose. It somehow made me feel sad. I think it is the knitter in me, seeing all this wonderful knitting in this piece, carrying all the memories.
It is this aspect of conceptual art which makes me feel uncomfortable. What happens to all the work, the pieces, the material; what happens to all the stations they created for the knitters to sit and receive their information about the colours and the stitches?
There is a lot I do admire about the Map, the whole concept of involving so many people, mostly women of middle age, who otherwise are generally removed from public listing or viewing.
In Gareth Ballyn (evenfeed.weebly.com/) the resolve at the end was that the participant kept their piece of sewing. they made their piece, came together, shared their stories and showed what they had made together and took it home again. the process was the art.
to me this feels more organic. it was in comparison on a very small-scale to the knitting map. and Richard said that the process of making it, creating this temporary community, was the work , not so much the knitted piece. but it is left behind somewhere, it leave me with an unresolved feeling.
But this uneasiness is more of an indicator for me where I see my own integrity in my practice.I am a material girl and like making, love the feel of yarn in my hands, love the proud feeling when a piece is finished, even the sad feeling when the phase of the work in progress is finished and it is no longer the companion of my hands, when it becomes something else.
things to ponder about where I stand, another level of work in progress…………………………..