Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Final installation of Desconocida Unknown at The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University

The installation consist of 3850 hand embroidered labels, done by 1900 people in 27 countries. The labels are installed using morse code spelling the Mexican and the US Anthem interwoven. The wall is 2,4 m tall and 9,7 m long.

Art March and performance in relation to Ni Una Mas exhibition May 15th at 3 pm

The curators for the exhibition in collaboration with Drexel University and Amnesty International arranged an art march to protest the situation in Ciudad Juarez. The march went from the Armory to the Gallery. Around 700 people participated, majority students, the girls in pink t-shirts, the boys in black. The girls were given one name each of a murdered girl in Ciudad Juarez, during the march they shouted the names at the same time, creating a sound that carried all the names together. The Dean of the university, the curators, Amnesty international, Marisela Ortis from Ciudad Juarez, and activist and writer Diana Washington Valdez all held appeals. After the appeals I performed my voice performance Presence, where I hold tones long and high in combination with silence. It was a powerful experience to be part of the march and an important start of the exhibition.

Embroidery workshop with fine arts students at Drexel univeristy, during installation of Desconocida Unknown

During the week it took to install Desconocida Unknown at the gallery, several students form the univeristy contributed to the project by embroidering additional labels. Some also helped me install the labels, by patiently pinning one and one label onto the wall. Thank you all! After the opening a table is set up by the wall with all needed materials to embroider labels. This table will be there for the duration of the exhibition. I hope visitors will use the table and add new labels. Best Lise

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Installing Desconocida Unknown Ukjent at The Leonard Pearlstein Gallery at Drexel University, Philadelphia

Sunday afternoon I started working in the gallery to install about 3800 labels on a 2,4 x 9,7 m pink painted wall. The labels are installed using morse code, spelling out the lyrics of the Mexican and the American Anthem interwoven.

There are times when I am thinking this is insane, I will never be able to finish this,(and I still have a way to go) but then I look at one of the labels embroidered so beautifully and I think of the pressing situation in Ciudad Juarez and I do one more line.
The last couple of days I have also had great help. Tomorrow there will be an embroidery workshop in the gallery. And by Saturday it all has to be finished, (and hopefully some time before that!) The gallery is doing a great job to attract attention to the show and the reason for the show: to point again to the city of Juarez, where hundreds of women continues to be killed in raising numbers. By April 2010 34 women are missing. I contacted the journalist and writer Diana Washington Valdez to see if she could help me tracking the names of the murdered women the last years. She answered me: I wish I could help you, but the Mexican government has not released information about the womens murders in the past four years, much less names. They are supposed to provide more transparency and even create a Web site for this purpose, but have not done so. When I say they are "supposed to," I mean that the Inter-American Court of Human Rights directed the Mexican government in 2009 to do this. However, I don't think they gave Mexico a deadline for this.
As soon I know something different, I will definitely let you know

In Trondheim I assume the last things are getting ready for the opening of REALITY CHECK on Friday. I will be there by thoughts and will come June 2nd to do another embroidery workshop, please contact Gallery director Madeleine Park for more information on this event.

And in Philadelphia I hope I see many for embroidering or helping pinning the labels on to the wall, and most importantly at the art march and reception on Saturday.


Sunday, May 02, 2010

Embroidery workshop Trondheim Center for Contemporary Art, Trondheim

In relation to the participation of Desconocida Unknown Ukjent at the upcoming exhibition REALITY CHECK that opens at Trondheim Center for Contemporary Art May 14th, we arranged an embroidery workshop in the Gallery on May 1st. Despite a cold and rainy Saturday afternoon, a small group came to embroider. I find with smaller groups the conversation to be more fruitful and open , which was the case with this workshop as well.

These embroidered labels will be an important part of the "workstation", a table that will be set up in the Gallery for the exhibition. The table will have all needed materials for embroidery, possibilities to gather information about the situation through internet connections and blogs and showcase of videos. Hopefully the labels embroidered yesterday will inspire more people to sit down and embroider while they visit REALITY CHECK. During the exhibition period I also hope to come back to Trondheim to host another workshop event.

Thank you!

Best Lise