© David von Becker 2017
TAPESTRY MEK BERLIN 2017-19
WOOL is the raw product of a complex historical matrix of craft and cultural history, interspecies interstices, genetic dialectics, and industrial imperialism. To invoke this climax material is to summon the individual threads that bind together its ontological tapestry – the elegant and picturesque weave as well as the unsightly loose ends. If we are to love this material, to cultivate it and to exult in its merits, are we ready also to embrace its dark origins, its hidden brutalities? And now that we've seen it all, do we really like what we see?
Five animated sequences spanning a total of 24 minutes are simultaneously projected onto the four walls of the room, creating an immersive visual space. Each sequence combines photographic images of historical carpets from the MEK's own textile collection with the "story behind the story." The installation thus introduces themes ranging from industrial farming and neoliberal extractivism to the brutality of shearing, the environmental impact of pesticides or "sheep dip," the negative effects of sheep farming on global biodiversity and the social injustice of the enclosure movements of 16th-century Europe while remaining light, engaging, and decidedly family-friendly.
The visuals are accompanied by an immersive soundtrack which combines found sound material with original electronic compositions.
"The drive toward monoculture causes a dewilding, of both places and people. It strips the earth of the diversity of life and natural structure to which human beings are drawn. It creates a dull world, a flat world, a world lacking in colour and variety, which enhances ecological boredom, narrows the scope of our lives, limits the range of our engagement with nature, pushes us toward a monoculture of the spirit."