Vita Activa – July 7th 2012

Haegue Yang
(b. 1971, Seoul, Korea)Haegue Yang’s work involves what she calls the ‘condensation of communication’ and frequently makes allusions to political events and personages. The abstract forms and narratives that she creates in installations and sculptures are constructed from things found around the home, including venetian blinds, folding laundry racks, light bulbs and feather dusters. Yang’s installation 5, Rue Saint-Benoît, shown at the Hayward Gallery in 2010, examines the concept of private space as a site for personal and political struggle and survival. It takes its title from the Paris address of author Marguerite Duras, whose apartment became a meeting place for the Resistance during World War II. In her 2009 workshop, Shared Discovery of What We have and Know Already, a skill-sharing and knowledge exchange project in which paper folding and knitting were active ingredients, Yang again alluded to Duras – specifically her wartime work in the Vichy government’s Paper Allocation Agency, and her talent for DIY.
Vita Activa
Haegue Yang hosts a day-long workshop of knitting and origami.

In the morning participants begin with a session of origami and then in the afternoon move on to knitting. The class undertake these activities alongside the artist and instructors from local knitting and origami associations.
Through the low-key activities carried out in small groups, the course explores how learning is ‘unfolded and woven amongst the participants’. By deliberately shunning ‘frontal lecturing’ and the ‘high pressure of productivity’ participants become involved in an exercise of domesticizing the institution’.
Yang has established a studio in Berlin that for the artist functions as a ‘micro or temporary community … which shares the modest process of creation as well as intimate and personal narratives.’ With this class she aims to extend this personal experience to members of the public.

I haven’t written this up before as there wasn’t much to write from a discussion perspective. This was a real involvement workshop which was thoroughly enjoyable. It consisted of basic skills in both media taught by local groups and facilitated by the artist. It was a really communal ‘stitch and bitch’ sort of group. Lovely to chat to the other people in the room (about 30) about their skills and work (some were working artists). But in general it was participatory and there was little I could write about it.

I happened to have lunch with the artist and the Romanian twins who taught the more advanced origami – as they asked me to join them when I was going to sit by myself. We were then joined by a couple of other attendees and eventually the Hayward curator. I told him I’d loved the Open School and hoped they would run more of them in the future.


One response to “Vita Activa – July 7th 2012

  1. Pingback: Hoarding research « Blog on the landscape·

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