Monday, September 08, 2008

Embroidered Botanic Folksonomy

On Saturday I went to an event called The Gendered City which involved several artists running participatory events in the park. I took part in a masked ball dance, a light therapy session to protect against winter depression, and helped Amy Franceschini stitch local plants onto people's clothing (see my approximation of the Field Horsetail above).

Amy’s project Nearest Nature involved running a workshop with botanists and other participants to explore the local flora, they collected plants and renamed them with their own taxonomy. The results are on display at the Bildmuseet. Amy is also part of Future Farmers in San Francisco, so of course the work plays out a botanic folksonomy, mimicking the social taxonomies of meta-data tagging, and the resulting democratic poetry and confusion. For an introduction to the concept of folksonomy – see my essay on the NoFixedAbode website.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Html Lapptäcke

Today was my first day at HUMlab at the University of Umeå in Sweden. I'm here on a fellowship for a year to develop the open source embroidery project at HUMlab and in partnership with other departments and organisations in the town.

The Swedish words I learnt today were:
Fika - to have cake and coffee
Tack = thank you
Hej = hello
Lapptäcke = patchwork

It was a busy day at HUMlab, the Museum Studies students had a lecture on blogging, then set up their own blogs before starting to design an exhibition in Second Life. The whole session was streamed live on Second Life, for a peek - have a look at the HUMlab blog.

Umea, on first impression, has similarities with Second Life. The landscape is very flat, so you can't see the building you are looking for until you are right in front of it. This is so different from Northumberland in England where the rolling fells and valleys allow you to see the whole landscape laid out like a map. In the hills you can point to you destination and, as you walk, you have a sense of measuring the distance between where you have come from and where you are going. But now I need some new strategies for navigating a series of landmarks.

I'll be starting new projects here in Sweden, but first I want to make just one more small patchwork called 'Get Your Rabbits Mated Before Christmas' to represent the RGB and CMYK colours. The first challenge is to find the colour fabrics needed: bright green, bright yellow, black and cyan, which is a bluey-green sort of pale turquiose. If anyone in Umeå can help - please get in touch...