Ghosts in the Machine
Embroidery thread, evenweave cotton fabric, wooden bobbin, raffia, seagrass, soundscape
I am interested in how absence from the archive affects historical and contemporary views around disabled people and work. How does this absence contribute to the continued negative stereotyping of disabled people?
Sound plays an important role in this piece, although it appears to go unheard. This reminds us of the hearing loss experienced by many mill workers and challenges us to think about how we communicate.
It has been transformed into a fragmented stitched soundscape using embroidery, and is embedded in the woven vessel. As with the erasure of disabled workers from history, the sound is a ghost-like memory haunting the vessel.
A round woven basket, approximately 20 cm in diameter. To the left, a wooden bobbin, standing on its end so it’s 26 cm high. A length of black cloth spools from it in folds, filling the basket. A pattern taken from a spectogram, a visual representation of sound, has been sewn in tiny, neat cross-stitching across the bobbin-end of the cloth. The bright colours of the cross stitches, magenta, orange, pink and yellow, give the impression of myriad points of light. These form horizontal bars of different lengths, which break up into irregular patterns at one end.
There is no obvious source of the low-volume sound in the sculpture.
Listen to the soundscape from Ghosts in the Machine
BSL translation of Michelle Duxbury's statement.
Translated by Khalid Ashraf.