Birgitta Hosea

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Warping the Weft (2017)

Warping the Weft

This installation combines string that is nailed to the wall with projection mapping of animation to create a moving drawing. It was originally commissioned by the curator Zhang Xiaotao for an exhibition of contemporary artists’ responses to traditional weaving at the Chengdu Museum of Contemporary Art in 2017.

The title of this work refers to the process of weaving in which the ‘weft’ is the name given to the thread going across the cloth and the ‘warp’ is the thread that runs vertically. The word ‘warped’ in English also has the sense of something that is twisted or bent from its usual shape or even abnormal or strange. Additionally, ‘warping’ is used in computer graphics to name a process of distortion from something’s normal shape.

The projection of an animated drop shadow onto the string creates the optical illusion that the string itself is moving and breathing: as if it has a life of its own. Thus, the work explores distortion and the difficulty in telling the difference between reality and illusion.

String detail
Warping the Weft, string detail

This work was inspired by Freud’s thoughts on weaving. In her book, Zeros and Ones, Sadie Plant recounts that Freud thought women had never invented any technologies, apart perhaps from weaving, an activity he thought was subconsciously aimed at creating more public hair in order to hide the female's shameful lack of Phallus.

Warping the Weft, as installed in Chengdu Museum of Contermporary Art, 2017