British Textile Biennial 2021
Collateral, currently in production, is a site-based, participatory work for Queen Street Mill in Burnley, Lancashire. The work reimagines an artefact and site of memorialisation to commemorate the hundreds of workers who die because they work in factories and sweatshops that supply the global garment industry. Working with local embroiderers, a textile work will be re-made thus ‘re-membering’, through the actions of making and speaking together, the disconnections and wilful negligence by which such a horrific devaluing of life comes to underpin the clothing we buy and wear.
Through a collective process of fabrication, using whitework embroidery techniques predominantly by hand, Collateral will manifest an alternative scenario of responsibility and reflection. In doing so, its commitment to the dead is literally realised through the commitment of time, labour and care given by the living.
Collateral has grown from my project N scale in which 188 workers who died in a factory fire in Thailand in 1993 are remembered. In this new project the victims of other major garment factory fires and collapses will be remembered. This will be done by taking the iconography, collective endeavour and material grandeur of the Gawthorpe Textile Collection’s memorial ‘Battle of Britain’ lace panel as inspiration and template for a new hand embroidered panel remembering the dead of these factory fires.
The installed new textile panel will be accompanied by a video/sound work made by the artist in collaboration with broken-folk duo Lunatraktors.