En­tan­gling Threads


Session Title:

  • Playing for Keeps: Social Empowerment Through Physically Interactive Artworks

Presentation Title:

  • En­tan­gling Threads




  • Panel: Playing for Keeps: Social Empowerment Through Physically Interactive Artworks

    This is about a tem­po­rary as­sem­bly (Lind­ström and Ståhl 2010) that we call Threads – a mo­bile sewing cir­cle. Threads is a trav­el­ling ex­hi­bi­tion and work­shop where par­tic­i­pants are in­vited to gather for a day and to, among other things, em­broi­der SMS, by hand and with an em­broi­dery ma­chine con­nected to a mo­bile phone. This in­vi­ta­tion, to en­gage with var­i­ous ma­te­ri­als, tech­nolo­gies, sto­ries and prac­tices, can also be seen as an in­vi­ta­tion to share con­cerns, de­sires, and mem­o­ries in re­la­tion to old and new as well as phys­i­cal and dig­i­tal means of com­mu­ni­ca­tion. What char­ac­ter­izes this tem­po­rary as­sem­bly is partly that its bound­aries are vague and mov­ing. Each time it is as­sem­bled, it looks and works a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ent. We sug­gest that trough our de­sign that al­lows for de­sign-af­ter-de­sign (Ehn 2008) we make it pos­si­ble for the par­tic­i­pants to add, alter and change parts and prac­tices of Threads. This con­tin­u­ous re­la­tional re­order­ing of things, can at times be frus­trat­ing and stress­ful since it in­volves un­cer­tainty. We do how­ever argue that this fluid (de Laet and Mol 2000) char­ac­ter is most of all a good thing, since it al­lows Threads to be­come closely en­tan­gled in the par­tic­i­pants’ every­day lives and thereby starts mat­ter­ing (Lind­ström and Ståhl 2011).