We were invited to exhibit our Lace Sensor Dresses at the StAnza Poetry Festival in St Andrews, Scotland. The festival ran from 6-10 March 2013 and Anja went to represent our project.
Our dresses were part of an exhibition called Stitched and Spoken, which took place in the Town Hall. As well as exhibiting the pieces on mannequins, StAnza arranged for four student volunteers to be our models. They did a fantastic job, taking the dresses for a walk outside and around the town of Saint Andrews.
At the end of the exhibition Anja gave a lecture as part of the Meet the Artist session. She talked about our inspiration, concept and process. Two of the models asked to share their experiences wearing the dresses, which was a lovely unexpected surprise. Here is what they said:
Siobhan Dooley’s text:
“As one of the models, I think I speak for all three of us when I say that it has been an absolute pleasure to involved in ‘Stitched and Spoken’. Every day I have worn this dress I have been struck by something new.
Craftsmanship in any medium is art, and no one can deny these dresses were thoughtfully and lovingly made. They are truly ‘Poetry by Design’. The crochet and lace detail on each dress is stunning, taking months of hard work. Each dress belongs to a poem and each one is an unique creation.
The interweaving of old and new technologies brings these past voices into the present, and it is fitting that the poetry is spoken barely above a whisper. These women embroidered these thoughts for themselves; perhaps not imagining their quiet legacies would one day become the centerpieces of an exhibition.
Getting back into my own clothes has also become part of the experience. There is no quiet voice, but I am now made very aware of the voices that silently inhabit my own clothing, for they made by someone. Someone separated from me by time and place, much like these women were. These dresses then become a fusion of the lyrical and political, and the experience of wearing these women against your skin is one you will not easily forget.”
Vhari Robertson’s text:
“A rare experience for a model in which the model does not simply feel like a coat hanger wearing a dress to be shown off to the public, but as a model showing off an intricate and clever work of art. The intricate details of the dress compliment the intimacy of the poetry and it is this intimacy which makes the experience of wearing the dress so unique.”
Joanna, another one of our models, sent us the following note:
Joanna Partridge’s note:
“It was lovely to wear something with such meaning and context. The dresses are both beautiful and thought provoking. It was such an excellent experience to wear them.”
Here are some photo highlights of the exhibition taken by Michiel Koelink and Anja Hertenberger:
It was wonderful to have our Lace Sensor Dresses worn by real women and to have the public be able to interact so closely with them. We got so many great reactions, especially because the visitors had come to a poetry festival and didn’t necessarily expect to see media art. The environment was relaxed enough for people to exchange thoughts about the project and some interesting ideas came up.
We’d like to thank Eleanor Livingstone, Maddy Kennedy and the whole StAnza team, especially our wonderful models, Joanna, Olga, Siobhan and Vhari!
Here is some additional press about our project at the festival:
… “poetry takes to the fashion catwalk at StAnza”
… “models wearing ‘poetry dresses’ visited the clothes shops in the town”