All membranes are porous

A metaphoric feature of Slofa that has not so far been talked about or noticed or mused over is it's skin-like function in covering sitting surfaces that are maybe not so contiguous or new or pretty. As a furniture cover it designates a sitting surface different from what is under or inside of it. Wearing all of the little stitches and knots and minor mistakes and beautiful creations of Slofemists embroiderers over several years it is not just the thing that is looked at, its skin-like function is now one of its features.

Or at least that is one of the meanings that comes from its inclusion inside of the exhibition, All membranes are porous, which is now presented at Kamloops Art Gallery. This exhibition, curated by Charo Neville, brings together works by six Canadian artists that explore dynamic conditions and phenomena familiar to human embodiment --the experiences of living as a body. In her curatorial exhibition walkabout, which preceded the exhibition opening last week, Neville led the crowd in breathing exercises and proudly described how this exhibition would be her last professional output before her own swollen body would deliver an expected baby. Fittingly, this is a project that demands that the viewer use more than just the eyes. The body is expected to maneuver around precarious foam, ceramic and felt sculptures (Zoe Kreye and Luanne Martineau), sit through psychedelic eye-popping effects (Jeremy Shaw), and experience diverse video installation spaces, where the way one's body is positioned or held, is part of the video's effect (Jeremy Shaw, Pascal Grandmaison, Sarah Anne Johnson, and Margaret Dragu). The work of the Slofemists forms surfaces for that kind of altered or enhanced viewing in Margaret Dragu's The Library Project. 

Here are some photos of how Slofemists participants Rebecca Pasch and Lois Klassen experienced the exhibition and opening events. Excerpts of the exhibition notes that describe the Slofemists work is here - Download KamloopsArtGallery_Dragu001.

Congratulations to artists, Margaret Dragu, Pascal Granmaison, Sarah Anne Johnson, Zoe Kreye, Luanne Martineau, Jeremy Shaw, and curator, Charo Neville, and everyone at Kamloops Art Gallery!

 

 


The Slofemists' Intensive

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Embroidery by Karin Millson

Since the fall of 2013, the Slofemists project and its many participants have slowly worked away at embroidery, feminism, self care, group care, and local ecologies --all with deliberate slackness. Not so much sluggishness as a rebellion against speed, the Slofemists project has been a methodology of feminist survival, an excuse to gather and exchange life skills and stories and to produce a pretty singular pile of embroidered creations.

Organizers, Lori Weidenhammer and Lois Klassen, are excited to announce that later in 2016, the work of the Slofemists will appear inside an installation by Margaret Dragu at the Kamloops Art Gallery (September 24 - December 31). In this exhibition the Slofa patchwork, on which so many hands have worked, is expected to designate a place for gallery visitors to view a very special collection of Margaret Dragu’s video archive. Her work called “The Library Project / Commodification of Touch” offers a profound view of people in the act of personal knowledge exchange.

You are invited to join the Slofemists in the final (intensive) production of the Slofa patchwork and other peices for this exhibition project.

The Slofemists' Intensive will take place at the Moberly Arts & Culture, 7646 Prince Albert Street, Vancouver, Canada.

June 23: 9 am to 2:30 pm
June 24: 9 am to 5 pm
June 25: 9 am to 3:30 pm

Everyone is welcome. No textile proficiency is required. This site will become an open textile studio during those times, so feel free to bring your own projects (or mending, etc.), to come and go, or just to enjoy the vibe. As usual, Weidenhammer and Klassen aim to mingle the collective handwork of the workshops with fun and empowerment: topical discussions, collective food, garden time and self-care.

IMPORTANT - Please confirm the times that you plan to come to ease in planning, especially food and supplies - [email protected]

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Feminists Listening

WOW what a lot of feminist news to process at the final 2014 Slofemists event last weekend...

Let's see how much I remember:

  • Hillary Clinton deflecting discussions during her recent visit to Canada of the formidible possibility of her breaking through the thickest of glass ceilings;
  • mansplaining, an as yet unarticulated cultural concept, courtesy of Rebecca Solnit;
  • the complex and contrary messaging of #yesallwomen;
  • Germain Greers's provocation - what will it be like when women are not needed to make babies? (in a lecture at the new Canada Human Rights Museum);
  • ... I'm sure there was more!

Here are a couple of podcasts that were shared:

http://www.slate.com/articles/podcasts/doublex/2014/05/_yesallwomen_paid_menstrual_leave_and_sophia_amorosa_on_this_week_s_double.html

http://www.cbc.ca/ideas/episodes/2014/05/28/fragile-freedoms---germaine-greer/

 

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The reading lists

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Semiotext(s)'s new publication by Simone Weil inspired Sunday's SlofemistS. We wondered if the entrenched economic inequity based on gender, from stories in our families' histories, could be understood as what Weil describes as an unexamined and highly desired "truth" --the stuff of religions, and adherents to political parties. In "Note on the Abolition of All Political Parties" (first published in French in 1957, and now available in English as part of the Semiotext(e) Whitney Series), Weil decides that political parties, like religious groups, are incapable of critically examining the truth... "how can one desire truth without knowing anything about it?" (20). We wondered if her logic could be applied like this: how can one desire some "truth" (like inequitable distribution of family assets based on gender, for example) when one does not thoroughly examine the justice of this truth on all of the people involved?

Weil's essay ends: "Almost everywhere --and often for purely technical problems--the operation of taking sides, of taking position for or against, has replaced the obligation to think." (30)

 Other SolfemistS highlights from Sunday:

Lexie Owen is continuing her deconstruction / reconstruction project called For All The Boys I've Loved Before, that was featured in the graduate exhibition at Emily Carr University of Art + Design at the beginning of this month.

Kriss Boggild dug into her archive and brought along three issues of Makara: The Canadian Magazine by Women for People circa 1975-78. Coming out of an office on Commercial Drive in Vancouver, Makara's editorial policy was "'Canadian general interest alternative magazine by women for people.'... some art, some fiction/poetry, some politics, some humour, some health news, some children's features, some book reviews... We want to reflect the growing, moving, changing times, without making things appear impossibly dismal, because we believe in possibilities, and people who are working for new ideas, new approaches, new lifestyles. Do we sound fussy? We are!" (Vol 2, #4, page 10)

Jem Nobel brought a family story about the important but unacknowledged economic contribution that his mother had made in his extended family. He used the SlofemistS time and supplies to do his mending.

Margaret Dragu was completely delighted by the hazards the heavy weather had presented to her en route... I was so glad she made it!

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