At the beginning of The Laboratory of Dissent, I unearthed a poem I wrote about how I want to live. It was a frustrated poem, contrasting the urgent passion of individuality with the unthinking consumption of pre-packaged cultural norms and social agreements. It’s called ‘Shut Eye’ and I was able to draw from it a couple of motifs.
The poem speaks of an urgent fall of wool unravelling across the carpet of our hegemony. A chicken, beak-pecking at the thread of it. Thus began my exploration of hegemonic structures and our personal responses to it. I was able to pick up the thread, literally and symbolically to delve deeper.
To dance, to move, to willingly look silly.
To break up the intensity of deep thought and long conversation
I put on some discordant music and I dance.
I move. I roll. A bodily response to sound and a ball of wool.
It’s perhaps worth mentioning that CAS artists have a tradition of coming together to explore materials in a shared space, paying attention to the relationship to one another as well the materials. It’s a process based practice, a creative jam, that generates ideas and relationships through making together.
I wanted to extend this invitation to our audience at The Laboratory of Dissent Symposium. Perhaps audience is the wrong word as it implies ‘onlookers’. The intention was always to include and invite input, expanding the dialogue to include a wider group of people.
So I invited the group to take the red wool off the wall and interact with it, paying attention to their relationship with each other as well as the material.
Laurence responding to the invitation.
Immediately after Laurence had connected the circle of people, literally, through draping and wrapping a thread of wool, Maija broke the group into four smaller groups for discussion.
For the most part, the thread remained unbroken.
One visitor to The Laboratory of Dissent finger-kitted ‘lace’ out of a cutting of the red wool.
I responded by treating it as an ‘offering’ and returning it to the wall.