What is to Hand: The Fold Within Textile Imagination

Conference: The Kyoto Conference on Arts, Media & Culture (KAMC2021)
Title: What is to Hand: The Fold Within Textile Imagination
Stream: Arts Practices
Presentation Type: Live-Stream Presentation
Andrea Thoma, University of Leeds, United Kingdom


This paper will reflect on the fold within textile imagination and will use the project ‘Imaginary Landscapes’ as case study to consider its visual and conceptual potential to signify. This photographic project consists of a series of images taken during the first COVID lockdown in the UK in 2020, which was motivated by a longing for spaces and places at a time of confinement and which has led to the publication of an artist’s book. The series includes images suggesting diverse landscapes such as shorelines, mountains, forests, deserts and volcanoes. It provided an opportunity to work with ready-made colour and textile surface quality, though arranged or folded to allow for light to enhance the creation of form. Here, the photographic close-up was instrumental in conjuring an image, an illusion. There is also interplay of the iconic and the indexical, the former suggesting the image, the latter references to the making of the clothing, such as zips, seams, etc. Claire Pajaczkowska’s reflections on the ‘semiotics of the textile’ provide pointers to the particular qualities of textile imagination. With the relation to clothing, there is a reference to body and to performativity, even if referring to an absent performativity between figure and landscape. Gilles Deleuze observes how the fold relates to both materiality and the world of ideas. The discussion will refer to his reading of Leibniz and to Christine Buci-Gluckmann’s observations on the Baroque. The author will examine the fold as visual and conceptual method within a wider contemporary art context.

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