art, functionality, escapism & despair
a case study & rant by stone fruit grdn
Modular lemonade is an interactive textile installation series. made to explore & blur the distinction between furniture and sculpture.
The issue of climate change has at an embarrassingly slow rate touched a number of industries. creating a cluster of conversations around harmful habits and environmental movements. and while there are several artists, makers, and studios dedicating their practice to greener work and education, the art world as a whole is dragging their feet at doing their part.
historically artists have been cultural front runners, embracing and pushing change. but currently we're responsible for a gross amount of production. this isn't to say physical artwork is waste - instead it's a plea to the institutions pumping out young artists to steer more creative minds toward social ecology focused work.
but we really embrace 'be the change & yada yada' around here. so we're flipping the mirror around on ourselves.
pastiche social bj's
for a few years now, buzz has been collecting odd fabric cuts, old drop cloths, and warn textiles - turning them into bags, garments, and using them to repair clothes. it's upcycling, but it doesn't feel trendy, it feels like a necessity. Eventually we were both searching for fabrics and previously used materials to the point that our traditional art practice took a backseat to our textile studies. our focus was on how to manipulate the fabrics we'd gathered, sewing of course, but also print-making came more heavily into play and exploring natural dyes. whatever artistry we practiced the end product was always the same - an item for use.
"Nothing is yours. It is to use. It is to share. If you will not share it, you cannot use it."
ursula k. le guin, The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia (1974)
use and decor are both nasty words in the art world. because items for use are design and decorative objects are craft. so we find ourselves at an impasse, an artistic moral dilemma (layered on top of some heavy climate change induced existential dread). but really...who the fuck is the art world to decide what constitutes conceptual art? we're talking about an institution with practices so old we should consider a relic, not a current guide. fuck outdated showings of work meant to be commentary on today's world that no one can interact with - work that at it's best is purchased and placed in storage to appreciate in value and at worst, ends up in a thrift store to be purchased because the frame works well for some places bathroom. and most often purchased for display, or as some may refer to it.....decoration.
this isn't mean to be an out right attack on the arts, it's a hard look, a criticism of a beloved, outdated, bourgeois form of entertainment that lines the pockets of collectors, barely provides for the makers, and idly stands by while the world rages in forest fires, specifically on friday nights, drinking wine, discussing whether a piece leans more brutalism(c. 1950's) or futurism(c. 1910's). marge simpson groan.
escapism through play
that final groan brings us to our current series. a collection of work born out of several melancholy situations crashing all around us; over-production, global warming, the mysterious surge in western home prices, etc. so our answer is play, tom foolery, wild'n out at recess. our aim is to make an environment that doesn't isolate and constantly remind viewers of how sick things have gotten. while also not contributing to how sick things have gotten.
we're building wall-sized forms out of used textiles for people to gawk at, sit in, bend up, twist around - interact with. and hopefully get lost in.