Make Known - UTS 2018
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Make Known: The Exquisite Order of Infinite Variation - Group Exhibition at UTS curated by Eva Rodriguez Riestra

Design thinking is increasingly recognised as an essential tool for addressing the challenges of the 21st Century. It refers to exploratory processes that involve experimentation, intuition and the prototyping and testing of models. Make Known: The Exquisite Order of Infinite Variation is an exhibition that presents ideas about creative design processes across a range of media and disciplines.

The exhibition featured the work of artists and designers who engage with invisible or imperceptible phenomena such as atmospheric conditions, patterns of occupation and inhabitation, ground stability and fluctuations of ground water, movement, energy flows, fluid dynamics and biological systems. The search and discovery of an emergent order in this phenomenon presents a unique insight into ways of apprehending and shaping the world.

‘Make Known’ was initiated by UNSW’s Design Research Collaboration Research Cluster and is presented in collaboration with UNSW Built Environment.

Work by Tina Fox: Ultra-sample & 12 weeks I, II & III

The moment that you are able to view for the first time an ultrasound of a 12 week fetus is one of the most significant life events. However the image of the interior of the womb is not actual, it is a digital approximation, viewed on a screen through the filter of binary pixels from ultrasound wave technology. The womb is sampled, turned into a string of code, translated into dots of light on the screen that flash on and off. The fetus becomes abstracted and disembodied from the mother. As soon as the probe is removed the scene evaporates.

 

Textiles have been used for thousands of years to record important events and other data, from the storytelling tapestries of the ancient Greeks to the modern commemorative cross stitch sampler. Filet crochet in particular lends itself to the recording of simple imagery and text. It is formed from a series of open or filled squares from which simple bitmap images can be created. The use of gridded imagery in filet crochet pre-dates the invention of the pixel by around 100 years.

 

Ultra-sample is born of the desire to preserve the memory of a momentous yet fleeting digital experience, to create an artefact. Here the artist has taken a printed ultrasound image from her first pregnancy and has reinterpreted it into a binary code of squares manifested in filet crochet. By projecting light through the pixelated textile, the artist is then able to re-create a digital image onto the wall.

 

Similarly, the animated artworks 12 weeks I,II & III are further efforts to digitise crochet and re-work it into a medium that is typically alien to textile practice.

 

Surgical cotton suture is crocheted into hollow round forms which are then placed onto a flatbed scanner and slowly manoeuvred scan by scan to create a stop motion animation. The low resolution imaging creates an interpretation of the pixelated view of the ultrasound scanner as it passes over the womb and fetus, revealing voids and sections of anatomy.

 

The textile appears to come to life creating another artefact from the ultrasound room. Again the methods of digitisation are layered and re-interpreted. The actual forms become blurred and abstracted as information is deliberately lost through each step of the making process.

 

Ultimately both Ultra-sample and 12 weeks I,II & III are artworks that take crochet beyond it’s usual comfort zone. The artist starts to step away from traditional crochet materials and uses surgical suture to give another layer of significance to the making. The crocheted object is also no longer the end goal but instead becomes a medium to create effects and movement. It becomes multidimensional and integrated into the contemporary realms of digital technology and video. The textile becomes relevant and meshes with modern preoccupations, creating craft and technological hybrids.

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© 2019 by Tina Fox