FiberPalooza – Pae White’s Summer XX at the FWM and Threaded Interface at Grizzly Grizzly

Threaded Interface, a collaboration between two Detroit-based artists, comes alive in Grizzly Grizzly’s small space when viewers interact with it:  Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza have made a glorious piece. Cuppetelli comes from a fiber background (weaving) and enjoys the interaction between garment and body coupled with a minimalist aesthetic. Mendoza’s interests lie at the intersection of craft and technology, influenced by the work of Jesus Soto.  Threaded Interface, a site-specific installation, consists of physical elastic ropes installed in the space and illuminated by glowing virtual strings. The virtual strings are connected to two video cameras that generate an image of sorts fed by the movement of the viewer. The small space is lit up by these virtual ropes alone, giving the otherwise unlit room a soft, softly pulsing, glow.

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“Threaded Interface” by Annica Cuppetelli and Cristobal Mendoza Courtesy of the artists.

The glory of the piece is that it depends upon the viewer to gain life. At the reception, I wiggled and waved my arms while my husband busted out his goosestep a la John Cleese in Fawlty Towers. Not often does a work of art make me (literally) feel like dancing; this piece specifically encourages that sort of participation in a way that stimulates the intellect as well as the body. One wonders, what will happen if I jump up and down? Vibrating bubbles. Move slowly? Languid ripples. The overall result was an intriguingly interactive and immersive experience. The artists both mentioned an interest in producing a similar project in a more public space, and an aspiration to work larger. Cuppetelli and Mendoza are interested in creating art for the viewer—tech meets craft meets you—all seamlessly, fluidly presented in Threaded Interface.

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A visitor interacts with the projection. Courtesy of the artists.

Threaded Interface is on display until April 28 at Grizzly Grizzly as a part of FiberPhiladelphia 2012.

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Pae White, Summer XX (installation view), 2012. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of The Fabric Workshop and Museum. Photo credit: Carlos Avendaño

Over at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, Summer XX by Pae White spawned more threads of connection between art and viewer. The installation, made of red yarn, towers over you and fills the room. White created the piece to memorialize the passing of a beloved mentor, by lifting the phrase, “Hasta La Muerte,” (roughly translated: Until Death) from the graffiti by her studio. The words are formed by stretched lengths of red yarn strung wall-to-wall in a sloping triangular form. The viewer is invited to walk amongst the emotional work, to be consumed and surrounded.

In the gallery, I ran through the space (to strange glances from the gallery attendant and security officer) to see the way my field of vision changed. The lettering and words blurred together in a crimson haze. It was as though White was inviting me into her grief, sharing how she has passed through and dealt with the loss. We were told the piece took weeks to create, as each cord needed to be sutured and tied individually—a labor of love, no doubt. Summer XX was a moving and relational experience.

Summer XX will be on display until late spring at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, as a part of FiberPhiladelphia 2012.