The Joy of Finding Guerilla Knitting

Rose White has observed that Guerrilla knitting has “a couple of meanings in the knitting community – to some, it merely means knitting in public, while to others, it means creating public art by knitted means.”

Her talk at the 24th Chaos Communication Congress noted that:

Contemporary knitters feel very clever for coming up with edgy language to describe their knitting, but the truth is that for decades there have been knitters and other textile artists who are at least as punk rock as today’s needle-wielders. This talk will cover the vibrant history of contemporary knitting, with a focus on projects that will make you say, “Wow, that’s knitted?”

Today at the University of Canberra I had that wow feeling. I came across these examples of the art form.

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The anonymity of guerilla knitting is such that I have no idea who installed these pieces. They may be devotees of Knitta. Or perhaps an acolyte of Bronwen Sandland. Perhaps someone from Parramatta. Whoever it was made it an unforgettable day for me … the first time since 2002 I have seen knitting in the wild!

This delight led me to concur with Kristin at Spinhandspun Design who observes that:

By covering construction sites, road signs, and technologies in handmade materials, each piece reminds us that our symbolic environments deserve a second skin: softer, warmer, imperfect, and tattooed with subtle reminders of our humanity. Ideas spread through human interactions…

 

Playfulness

One of the delightful aspects of sharing ideas is that others reciprocate in sharing. Today I received a YouTube link from a colleague that captured and encapsulated the essence of Johan Huizinga’s play elements of culture in Homo Ludens (1938).

The view we take in the following pages is that culture arises in the form of play, that it is played from the very beginning… Social life is endued with supra-biological forms, in the shape of play, which enhances its value.

On seeing the video my interests in music and performance coalesced around playing and playfulness. The video is from a project at the Odenplan station in Stockholm. (Much discussed earlier this month!) (Some Flickr Creative Commons’ images of Odenplan here.) Laurel Papworth’s has posted about this project and Fun Theory here.

Two other videos from the series, the Bottle bank Arcade and the World’s Deepest Bin can be found here.

Training to Perform: what athletes can learn from musicians

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Last night I was driving up to Sydney and listened to Amy Dickson’s arrangement for soprano saxophone of Philip Glass’s Violin Concerto. Her performance reminded me of a point made by Emma Ayres in her program about Amy’s practicing routines for circular breathing and her interview with Amy (11 September 2009).

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This NZ news item described Amy’s creative achievements:  Transcribing it (Philip Glass’ 1987 Violin Concerto) meant converting the soloist’s double-stopping into arpeggios, although there are “no more than 10 bars to do in the whole concerto”, she told the New Zealand Herald. “The most important thing was those endless notes that go on and on,” she says. “Which meant I had to learn circular breathing so I didn’t leave any of them out.” The result, said Herald reviewer William Dart, was that Dickson blended cunningly into the orchestra around her “creating the illusory textures ideal for minimalist music”.

This is the kind of dedication to which athletes aspire and coaches laud.

Elaine Page has some great observations about performance in her conversation with Margaret Throsby. I particularly liked her discussion of a performer’s access to video and the use that can be made of video.

Both musicians highlighted for me that our discussions of performance in sport and the evolution of a language about performance must be located in the performing arts.

The narratives we use for performance has been an interest of mine for since my time at Dartington College of Arts in the late 1980s.

Photo sources:

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Amy Dickson Twitter