Ann Hamilton: “the event of a thread” | Art21 “Extended Play”

[Ann Hamilton: “the event of a thread”] [Sound of static and a woman’s voice coming from a radio speaker] [Sound of static and a man’s voice coming from a radio speaker] My first hand is a sewing hand–is a weaving hand– is that connection between text and textiles. The title of the work is “the event of a thread” and that comes from Anni Albers, whose description of weaving is a horizontal and vertical crossing of a thread, which is touch and contact at intersection. The cloth is raising and lowering with the swings. Everyone’s presence registers in some way in the materials of it. And that, in turn, makes its weaving. [sound of audience echoing throughout the hall] [Sound of static and a woman’s voice coming from a radio speaker] [MAN] “Discordant pieces of science.” [MAN] “One man’s injustice” [MAN, THROUGH RADIO SPEAKER] “is another’s injustice.” [HAMILTON] At the beginning, we wondered if people would even swing. We’re like, “I hope they don’t just hang there.” There’s something that happens when you swing. I’m sure there’s a neurological explanation for the sense of pleasure that you feel, and I think people are giving over to that. There was a family in here yesterday that was here for three hours. So, it’s sort of become like a park. I think one of the things that’s here is it’s very intimate, and yet, it’s kind of very large and anonymous– so this quality of solitude and being in a congregation or group of people. I think the feeling of that is actually very comforting, and something that we need. In the middle, under the cloth, I knew it would be a really wonderful place to stand– to have the turbulence and the liquidity of the cloth fall around you. But, I was totally unprepared for the fact that people would lay down on the floor and stay horizontal for a long long time. I decided early on that I was going to stay for the duration of the show, and every day is a little bit different, and every day there’s some other kind of interaction that it’s almost…it holds the piece back up to me. There was a girl who said that she felt really really wild and safe at the same time. When I heard that…you know, it’s like, “Yes! That is great.” There’s so many of those kinds of things, so you’re trying to give or make the opportunity for that kind of experience– but not determine what that is– that in turn, there’s so much that’s coming back from what people are giving into the work. Being here and being present to feel that is tremendously satisfying. [CHILDREN: “Whoa!”]

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