Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Heaven + Birds

The Sundogs have been at it again - in December, with Cloudishness, another commission from Inverness Old Town Art in Scotland. This time, rather than bombing a graveyard, the ladies (known to us as Jennifer Cantwell and Annie Marrs) used a car park elevator as their yarn-y platform. 

As Cantwell explains it, "The idea was that the elevator was a portal to heaven, heaven is handmade. The ground floor was the departure lounge and there were departure lounge information messages broadcast from a cloud.  We made utopian public information messages relevant to those entering Nirvana: weather reports, public safety info, travel news, directions, etc. – positive affirmations for those entering the next dimension and reassurances for anxious travellers. People loved it, it made them laugh, the elevator was working the whole time so they went to whatever floor their car was on. The sky was knitted on the machine, the clouds were made from wadding, the signs were knitted (steeking, spray glue + hot glue!)."
For those of you who remember the Sundog's previous grievances with their last, elderly knitting machine, Cantwell is pleased to report: "I've a new knitting machine now. I think my concentrated rage killed that last one."
Cantwell also mounted a show sans-Sundogs, entitled Birdsong, using as inspiration an earlier collection of cassette tape doilies she'd made. She says of this project, which was also exhibited in Inverness:

"I wanted to crochet sound, make patterns from the actual notes or structure of the notes. I've an interest in invisible data, coding, radiowaves, information that's all around us and in the air we breathe but [that we] can't see. Crochet turned into knitting.

"The Fair Isle patterns were knitted on a knitting machine, and the designs for the Fair Isle were taken from the shapes contained within the soundwaves of actual recordings from locations – my partner Dave is a sound designer so we recorded birds and ambient sound from different areas of Scotland and then put them through sound processing software on the computer so I was able to actually see the soundwaves and the shapes the sounds were making. Then I designed patterns from the shapes. The birdboxes are handmade, the knitting is steeked, spray glued and sewn onto them. There's an mp3 player inside each one and headphones so you can hear the soundtrack of each box. The QR codes are linked to googlemaps; each box was geotagged so if you scan the code on your phone, googlemaps will take you to the location of each recording. 

All photos courtesy of Jennifer Cantwell

"Kids loved the show and it was well received with the grown ups too. In the gallery, this film was projected  on one of the walls, and I set up a knitting zone and left out needles and wool and instructions. At the opening, Dave brought his decks and dj-ed a live soundpiece made from birdsongs and knitting noises. It was brilliant."

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