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Holes-Linings-Threads | netart project
Alicia Felberbaum
felber@dircon.co.uk

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From 1994, while completing an MA in Textiles at the Visual Arts
Department at Goldsmiths College, University of London, I started to work with digital media. In 1997, I was invited to participate on The Future Looms , an extensive collaborative public Internet  project (commission and initiated by Pavilion and Iris in partnership  with Channel/ Artec, as part of the Photo 98 Public Sightings programme)

Holes Lining Threads, my contribution to The Future Looms, won the Transmediale International Film & Video Festival- Berlin website prize.

As a  former weaver I was interested and familiar with the manufacture of cloth, its cultural and political weight in the history of ancient and contemporary societies. Some of my projects have been related to folk tradition, women as laborers, journeys, story telling and the cloth tradition.

The starting point for the project was an essay in which author Sadie Plant traces the connections between women's work in the textile industry and the birth of the computer.

The foundation for the project was built around a number of linked threads  which would weave together the past and the future, women's history in the textile industry, the advancement of information and technology,  and a real location in the town of Batley. This old textile town in the Spen Valley of West Yorkshire has witnessed the demoralising collapse of the textile industry. 

Holes Lining Threads is metaphorically located in the geographies and economics of (m)any northern textile town(s). Industrial towns like Batley, have being affected   by continuous processes of decline and  renewal as a result of economic developments, change in population and migrancy, which in turn have produced changes in the social and urban configuration. Previously spaces of intense productivity, the mills, at one time  landmarks of activity and perhaps part of the identity of these town, became empty and derelict.

Part of the project envolved  visiting Batley  to absorb its history, assess its present life.and to researched a variety of archival material  as well as photographing and video old places of work . This array of sources  plus texts and quotes selected from an extensive bibliography, helped to provide inspiration and material for the final project.

Among the  source material contributing to the work, I interviewed  local weavers colecting personal stories related to issues affecting women in the workplace, local history and manufacturing in decline. These voices and memories constitute fragments   of an historical narrative and represents
a segment of the past history of the mills. Here I saw reflected how 
technology was affecting and changing their lives. I did not keep a chronological sequence in the work crossing different temporal and spatial zones jumping from the mills of yesterday, to the conditions of today, in the spaces where electronic microchips are assembled. These narratives,  when integrating into the project are reconfigured,  producing new meanings and insights. This pages are titled ¥THREADS¥ and are the underline story for the site.
 

 

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