Tapestry (2.9m X 1.45m, cotton, wool) and final drawing entitled I Run and Run, Let Out an Earth Shattering Roar, and Turn into a Giant Octopussy for #MagicCarpet tapestry. Tapestry to be weaved at Flanders Tapestry, which also weaved the tapestries of artists Grayson Perry, Laure Prouvost and others. The image in the header, created in commemoration of Kai's cat Wes who passed away on 23 December 2017 aged 16, is a detail from the tapestry. Large, overcrowded, over the top and overworked, #MagicCarpet flits in and out of reason, legibility and consciousness. It explores mind wandering through the kaleidoscope of time - out of, attuned to, in, without, suspending, prolonging, foreshortening, distorting, travelling, rolling, running out of. It is also a safari of mind wandering beasts/domesticated pets, of pixels, of tactility, of palimpsests, of sex, of death, of mortality, of immortality, of sweat. There is Basquiat as there is Beckett, Kathy Acker, Hokusai and My Little Pony. Grotesque as it is tender, the tapestry is light and flighty as it is weighed down by gravity and the pungency of being alive. The tapestry references what Kai learnt during the residency, as well as to Rene Magritte’s famous Time Transfixed, as an example of how the arts celebrates the wanderings of the mind. The image is itself a snapshot of the artist’s restless and busy mind. She is depicted sitting on a rug, making drawings on iPad, in a reference to her own process of creating this image which is her first in 20 years. Close by is a woman also with a digital device, this time a laptop. This is mathematician Ada Lovelace, who worked with Charles Babbage on his early prototype of the computer (the Analytical Engine), which was inspired by the Jacquard loom. Her taking centrestage in this image thus not only celebrates her status as the figurehead for women in science, but reminds us that the ‘digital’ refers not only to computers, but how it relates to the craft of weaving and hence how these, like our toes and fingers, are extensions of the magical human body and mind.
TAPESTRY COMING INTO LIFE
The gallery above and clips below show the tapestry art work I Run and Run, Let Out an Earth Shattering Roar, and Turn into a Giant Octopussy (2.9m X 1.45m) coming to life. It was weaved over the duration of 10 weeks in Flanders Tapestry in Belgium, which has weaved the works of Grayson Perry, Laure Prouvost amongst others. The clips seem to bear shades of the factory production line scene in Dziga Vertov’s 1929 Man With A Movie Camera. Sweden-based Michael Tebinka, #MagicCarpet’s film director, and Singapore-based Philip Tan, music director, are making a short film which we will launch in Spring/Summer. The photographs and videos have been kindly taken by Flanders Tapestry which is situated in the region that has weaved tapestries for centuries. Other images in the gallery show details of the tapestry, and its christening by psychiatrists and psychologists of the Executive Committee of the UK Adult ADHD Network, including Forensic Psychology Professor Gísli Guðjónsson CBE (whose testimony overturned convictions of Birmingham 6 & Guildford 4). To understand the basic principles of weaving, Kai also took part in a 1-day course at the Working Men's College at Camden. She learnt 3 different methods of weaving, and had a go at the loom. Her results are shown above. It was fortunate that she outsourced the actual weaving of her work to the professionals... See video of weaving here.
Mockup of what the #MagicCarpet exhibition looks like. Subject to change. For details and examples of B) Site for Discourse C) Badge wearing mind-wanderer in action photo essay and D) Display of drawings, see documentation of the Open Studio programme entitled Mind Wandering: Best Friend or Worst Enemy, which was held on 24 October 2017 at the Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry .
ABOUT THE DRAWING Click on respective image for description.
TAPESTRIES AND CARPETS
'Here, I am standing in front of the Devonshire Hunting Tapestry at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Created 1430-1450, the four magnificent pieces traverse entire walls. My eye line draws the viewer onto the two books on my palm. One was on the revolutionary 19th century polymath William Morris, who considered tapestry the noblest of the weaving arts. Now Morris was hardcore. He did not just talk, but walked the talk and got stuck in, knee-deep, by setting up a loom in his own bedroom, and taught himself how to weave, from a 14th century French crafts manual. On the other hand was another book that takes us forward by more than half a century. Turner-prize winner Grayson Perry’s book on his six large tapestries The Vanity of Small Differences (2012) signifies the contemporary re-vision of the tapestry form led by Perry, David Hockney, Chris Ofili and other A-lister artists. The book allows me to make a point about how I am following in Perry’s footsteps with a quasi-anthropological approach, using (tapestry) art to observe, participate, critique and celebrate a different culture. All that said, the books and mise-en-scene in this image are just tips of iceberg of how the tapestry art form has weaved through art history in UK alone. We have not set foot in the Continent to look, for instance, at the ‘mobile frescoes of the North’ in the Flemish regions. Neither have we ventured to the mythical ‘Orient’ where, since the 5th BC, yet more strata of histories of the tapestry existed, and continue to be made and remade. Placed on the floor, tapestries become carpets, and it is also from this part of the world that tales of carpets that fly and produce magic have originated.'