Notes with Caveat Reading Room #9 with Patrick Bernier & Olive Martin
Caveat Reading Room #10: Performing the Contractual
00:00 Introduction by Florence Cheval
Introduction by Olive Martin
Weaving an agreement was an ambitious idea, although it wasn't difficult to convince everyone involved.
We see the process up until now as the unraveling of a thread, necessary to weave something together.
The book was suggested by Steyn Bergs: Zeros + Ones: Digital Women and the New Technoculture by Sadie Plant. It is a portrait of Ada, Countess of Lovelace, a pioneer of computer history.
07:00 Reading pp. 64-66
"Weaving demands more than one pair of hands." (p. 65) Patrick: Pour faire un motif, il faut un programme (pas forcement, peut être integré dans le memoire). On peut le reproduire. Ce programme induit un certain type de motif. On peut ouvrir ou deformer l'algoritme, qui laisse de l'espace pour des interpretations de celui qui tisse.
When the programme is set well, you can reproduce certain motives as much as you wish. Regardless of intential or unintential mistakes, the algorithm is a constraint. In this case the algorithm is very open, it allows to draw infinite interlacing motives. The feminist approach struck me in this text, it is presented as a uniquely female action/profession. In Europe this could very well be a male occupation as well. I did not find the reason why she presented it like this in this text. The part were she talks about the two meanings of weaving, what happens around the weaving is somthing that interests us very much as well. We used two colours for the weaving blue and white, when we were weaving alone we wove with the white thread, when people came and started to talk to us we would use the blue thread.
The first thing people would ask us is what we were doing and our answer would be we are recording you - which would often prompt a slight worry, looking for a recording device - but we were recording their presence in the weaving.
Weaving as the recording of a conversation that takes place while weaving. "Mnemonic device" (p. 65)
Double function of weaving: what does the weaving do; and what does it make us do?
Le papier n'est-il pas la source des problèmes au lieu de la solution?
There's a lot of judgement coming with the reading or interpreting a contract.
Julie: The same thing could happen with a woven contract. I think there is something there, you are right, when avoiding to write a contract and using a language noone really masters you could possibly avoid problems. You don't have to follow the rules of the contract. Du moment que l'on commence a écrire un contract, il y a des problèmes qui se posent faut du langage. Si on tisse un contract ensemble, aucun des parties connait bien la langue utilisée.
30:20 Reading pp 66-67
34:20 Olive: She speaks about motives that we can find everywhere on this planet. Common technique gives birth to a common language. Why don't we use this language more than, for instance, English? It refers to cultural appropriation too, she remains very vague, but you can find these motives everywhere and they are part of the technique. There is a link to the object that is produced.
Il y a un veritable osmose. In weaving, theres is a logical technique.
36:30 Reading pp 67
Ronny: (sums up) It basically produces incidents, when you finish, you have the opportunity to start again, it never stops. There is no end to a wampum, which means: there is no end to the contract. The thread is like a river, without end. Algorithm and pattern is fixed, but goes on forever.
40:30 Reading pp 67-68
Patrick: Le programme c'est un glissement, parce que tout est encore possible. La peinture ou l'écriture Where is it this devision in these ways of weaving, is it perhaps to be found at the point where it becomes a professional activity that it becomes this masculine thing. (When there is a programme, you weave faster. ) Sur un programme, on tisse plus vite.
45:00 Loraine Furter: C'est possible qu'à travers la reolution industrielle, les femmes ont perdu leur place dans les espaces publiques et professionels?
Patrick: We talked to a lot of weavers from Sudan for one project and they, for example, all referred to their grandmothers.
Olive: dans le tissage, y existe un espace symbolique.
Ronny: I think that the industrialisation of textile, during the renaissance All those who lost their rights - of housing, etc - ended up grouped in this one place, a village. This is where the textile industry started. All these people were locked out, doors were closed upon them and in this village there were no doors. It was really a case of exploiting human resources.
51:00 Olive: Women & children were highly represented in industrial weaving, notably thanks to their small hands and low wages.
The boats departing from Nantes for triangular xxx, where packed with textile. Traffic in humans and textile, the Portugese understood that it woul dbe more efficient to combine the two, saving transport but also benefiting from the know-how. Supposingly this weaving technique comes from China and was imported by the Portuguese to the Cape Verdian islands, so its a métissage (mix of cultures). Textile had a symbolic as well as monetary value. Slave value was expressed in length of woven band (?)
56:30 There are crossing influences (Portuguese where influenced by Moorish). The activity, the fact that they had an active position, a skill, freed them from being traded as a slave. Became a caste that still exists, thanks to heriditary, which is feared (magical capacities) and slightly frowned upon. Olive: They develope singular motives with symbolic value, which are considered to have magical properties too. When you start weaving though, and develope these things yourself, you start to understand the force of weaving - these things are powerfull.
1:01:00 Olive: The larger your palette, the higher your status.
1:02:00 Reading pp 68-69
1:06:20 Patrick: (As opposed to weaving,) Spinning seems reserved for women. Olive: might be good to bring all of this back to the notion of the contract - the use of thread to commemorate or register an agreement.
1:08:00 Olivia: Quand on parle d'un contrat, on parle plutôt de registrer la présence d'une partie. Patrick: The first day, when you were present, we started with a representation from a very geographical angle - us as invited artist, by Caveat in this place. The following days, we tried to go further than that geographic angle, stating our intentions. In the mornings we were alone, later there was an encounter with someone from the site, then Julie and Ronny passed by and when they left we started questioning what their intentions were, inviting us to this place. We realised Caveat's intentions were more or less the same, so with them we repeated roughly what we wove.
Everyone moves to the weaving installation, where things are explained by showing the material.
1:15:00 15 'blocks' form the "alphabet". Orange thread: artists. Pink thread: Caveat. Yellow: passers-by. Green: Allee du Kaai