I’m very pleased to be included a new book from O’REILLY called “HA3KE3LN + STR1CK3N FUER GEEKS” (Crochet and Knitting for Geeks”) by art, media and cultural studies scholar Verena Kuni. It’s only available in German for now, but there may be an English version in the future.
If you’re in Los Angeles this weekend and you’d like to see Joseph Merrick in life-sized knitted body pillow form, then swing by the opening of Sacred Memories: Cross-Cultural Celebrations of Day of the Dead on Friday from 6-9 at The Pico House Gallery.
I did a little performance in my studio over the weekend, in which I selected a recent Jogging post, then converted it into a digital knitting pattern, knitted it, and then tried to disguise myself as it, all the while submitting my progress to Jogging, with mixed results.
“we are open-source-extremists, the feminist virus infecting your thoughts.” – Pussy Riot
Pussy Riot supporters around the world have been protesting their imprisonment by donning homemade balaclavas like the ones worn during the performance for which they were arrested. Balaclavas are illegal in some parts of the world, so I created this pattern for the open-source Brother electronic knitting machine hack, so that you can make your own homemade balaclava, with images of the members of Pussy Riot who were arrested displayed on it. Now, anyone who creates these open-source balaclavas can be recognized as a supporter of Pussy Riot and their open-source values.
It’s a completely open source idea, and on our website, when we would document performances, we would show everything; we’d put the text, and we’d even show some of the ways the performance was accomplished, because we are creating this conception of a performance group, hoping that other people across the world can do it in their own countries. The important thing is to diagnose problems in your own country. That being said, we’re open, but we’re not totally open: a group member has to be a female, has to have certain kinds of political views, has to be essentially a like-minded individual with us. –Pussy Riot
For anyone with access to a hacked electronic knitting machine, here is the image I used as the pattern: pussy-riot-final-198
and here’s a video of the balaclava-making process:
Obviously, most Pussy Riot supporters probably don’t have access to an electronic domestic knitting machine, which they’d have to hack in order to created this knitted balaclava, so I put together a tutorial for making a DIY Pussy Riot Balaclava from an old t-shirt and some iron-on transfer paper:
Joseph Merrick died in 1890, but he was better known as The Elephant Man because he had a rare condition that gradually disfigured his bones and skin. His head eventually became so heavy that he had to sleep sitting up, but when his body was found he was lying on a bed and the official cause of death was asphyxia from the weight of his head. The doctor who performed the autopsy concluded that Merrick must have tried to sleep lying down because he wanted to sleep like other people. Joseph Merrick never got to sleep in a bed with another person his entire adult life, so this body pillow is designed to mimic the experience of cuddling him since that’s something he never got to experience.
The fabric of the body pillow cover was produced using a hacked domestic electronic knitting machine, which can knit digital image files. Although the digital technology used to create the design did not exist in Merrick’s time, the type of fabric created with the machine did exist, so this pillow also mimics the type of bedding one would have experienced in his time.
Thanks to Matt Corey, Loren Edrich, and Jess Marvin for helping me out with this project.
The Rubberbandits posted this image of themselves wearing the balaclavas that I made for them. I shipped the balaclavas well over 2 months ago, but they were presumed to be lost in the post, so I’m delighted that these finally made it to the boys.
I’ll be working in the open studios at the Museum of Arts and Design for the next few months. I should be there every Sunday and some Thursday nights. Come down and visit me while I futz with a hacked knitting machine for your amusement.
Update: You can see the stuff I’m making in the open studio at: The Museum of Arts and Design Blog