An exhibition about the clothing industry and its impact on the environment.
Most of us already know that the clothing industry is one of the main contributors to higher consumption and that this causes a significant increase in environmental and climate footprints. The climate crisis is acute, but at the same time we consume more every year. We simply close our eyes and buy cheaper and more items.
The last fifteen years the worlds production of clothes has doubled and the average times a garment is used before it’s discarded has dropped by 30 per cent in the same period. The biggest producers of clothing in the global industry are doing the bare minimum about this. According to research on the topic, the industry talks about these issues, and apparently have high ambitions, no one clarifies how these goals will be met. Basic rights to a safe working environment and fair pay are overlooked for textile industry workers in such countries as Bangladesh, India and Cambodia, for the benefit of profit. The industry has impact on nature, individuals, demography and community development all over the world, and symptom relief such as circular economy and new technological solutions is far from being able to reverse the current trends.
How are we supposed to relate to this? Who is responsible? Who will take action? Is the industry not willing or able to limit the quantity of sales, improve quality and radically change the conditions of work and life for textile workers? Should consumers be held responsible for changing their way of thinking about the social and practical aspects of clothing? Can change even occur within the neo-liberal economical system and the ideas of capitalism, growth and linear production? What solutions to these acute issues exist among designers and artists?
These are questions Galleri F 15 investigates in Don’t feed the monster! The exhibition presents designers who focus on mending and reuse of textiles, experimental technological solutions, activism and social platforms in their work. The exhibition goes further to show projects which invites the visitors into dialogue, ask them questions about how we relate to our clothes and how much we know or are willing to learn about how they are produced, what they are made of and under what kind of circumstances. One last category of projects involve time, proximity to the earth, the what plants are used for the fabric, the animals and the places involved in textile production. These practices serve as counterpart to mass production which happens too widespread and too far away for us to get involved, or even try to figure out how a meaningful process of change can get started.
The exhibition is a great opportunity to learn and find answers to some of your questions. It’s educational on its own but will also invite several of the artists and designers to do workshops both before and during the exhibition period. Along with the workshops the department of art education will implement a programme targeting specific audiences. During the exhibition Galleri F 15 will cooperate with educational institutions in Oslo and Viken like OsloMet – Storbyuniversitetet and Kunsthøgskolen i Oslo (KHiO). This includes inviting students into the exhibition itself, but also prearranged workshops with chosen artists and designers.
Elisa van Joolen- PORTAL001 © Boijmans Van Beuningen 2017
Annemor Sundbø (NO), Atacac (SE), Carole Frances Lung/Frau Fiber (US), Celia Pym (UK), Elisa van Joolen (NL), Fibershed (US) med Amanda Coen (US), HAiK w/ (NO), Pati Passero (NO), Rational Dress Society (US), Siri Johansen (NO), Tim Mitchell (UK), Tom van Deijnen/Tom of Holland (NL)
Maria C. Havstam og Franz P. Schmidt
ATACAC PRESS, atacac-for-real-morning-pokus-L © ATACAC PRESS, 2019
Tim Mitchell (UK)
Tim Mitchell presents documentary photography from textile production in India and backstage at Paris and London Fashion Week. By showing these two projects together in the exhibition an enormous contrast can be felt by the spectator, between the shiny myths and discarded materials and entropy.
Annemor Sundbø (NO)
Textile artist Annemor Sundbø presents a collection of old knitwear and rags which was raw material used to produce shoddy yard (recycled fibers) for Torridal Tweed in Agder, in Southern Norway. She’s also including documentation of the shoddy yarn production as well as samples of yarn and finished products in shoddy.
Celia Pym (UK)
Textile artist Celia Pym’s work is based on mending and repairing old textiles. In Don’t feed the monster! her contribution is a sweater from Annemor Sundbø’s collection, which she has mended, and a text which follows the sweaters history and how she relates to it.
Tom van Deijnen alias Tom of Holland (NL)
Tom van Deijnen/Tom of Holland works with mending and reparations of old clothes. For Don’t feed the monster! he presents an installation including a large textile made of deadstock cotton calico bought in Brighton’s Saturday Market from a vendor who sells fabrics he finds in old factories and shops that nobody else wants anymore. His vision is to spread knowledge through activism and reparation and inspire change.
HAiK w/ (NO)
HAiK is creating an installation which mimics a checkout area in a clothing store. The installation contains video interviews with researchers from different fields who immerse themselves in psychological and neurological aspects of what goes on within the transactions of buying a new piece of clothing.
Siri Johansen (NO)
Siri Johansen is the head of the knitwear design team KENZO in Paris. Over the last few years she has initiated the development of a design system where redundant yarn is gathered from large clothing producers in China and used to create unique garments in limited editions. In the exhibition she presents this sort of material, along with a video about the project.
Fibershed works with environmentally friendly, geographically limited and adaptable production of textiles and clothes. Both products and the system allowing this kind of production will be a part of the exhibition. The included projects are Kentucky Cloth and Grow Your Jeans. Fibershed has invited Amanda Coen, designer and landscape architect for Snøhetta New York. Coen presents watercolours rendered in Fibershed’s «Clothing Guide», which is available to the audience.
Pati Passero (NO)
Pati Passero is a graphic designer and the creator of the exhibitions visual profile. He also contributes as an artist with a conceptual wall installation, which triggers and challenges the viewer through hidden communication tied to myths and facts from the fashion and textile fields’ environmental impact. The design aspect of his work in Don’t feed the monster! engages methodical practices focusing on re-use of materials and analogue printing methods.
Elisa van Joolen (NL)
For the exhibition Amsterdam based artist and researcher Elisa van Joolen conducts a site-specific workshop. Her approach to design is characterised by strategies of intervention and reinterpretation. Her work studies social context by introducing participation and cooperation. In the exhibition her work will be represented by the results of her research material gathered in Moss during the months previous to the exhibition opening.
Atacac is presenting a site-specific installation. The Gothenburg based design duo is concerned with how we spend increasing amounts of time in the virtual world, jumping between the virtual and the material world as the two get more entangled every day. Since Atacac was formed in 2017 they have turned the conventional design and production standards upside down through their digital design where clothes are ordered before they are made, this way avoiding over production. The duo’s vision is to inspire change through digital solutions which are expedient to all parts of the textile production, from the creators to the buyer, as well as our planet.
Carole Frances Lung/Frau Fiber (US)
Motifs, Migrations and Misappropriations is a site-specific project based on activism by American artist and activist Carole Frances also known as Frau Fiber. The installation is an ongoing project aiming to highlight cultural and underlying causes of mass emigration to the United States, as well as political and social conditions which opens for exploitation of cheap labour. The project invites the audience to become sewing rebels and is inspired by ILGW (the International Ladies’ Garment Workers’ Union) a group of Frau Fibers’ own followers, who are working towards the goal to reduce or stop shopping completely. Her sewing rebels-project has been introduced several places throughout the world. Carole Frances Lung’s motivation for her art and activism is that even if you can feel good buying clothes made ethically in organic materials, new objects are continuously being poured into the world, and at this point, we really don’t need any more clothes.
Rational Dress Society (US)
The designers and activists of Rational Dress Society (RDS) are working from the singular idea that the solution to the pollution problem of the textile industry is that everyone dresses in jumpsuits. In the exhibition the staff of Galleri F 15 will be outfitted with RDS jumpsuits, there will be a jumpsuit workshop and performative lecture and a video work is presented by the gallery’s ticket counter. The overall goal of RDS’ work is to explore the relation between clothing and self-esteem, class, ethnicity and gender. Through humour and design, they create a future where we all are sisters and brothers in jumpsuits.