Amazing Meeting of February 28
SMRN held another amazing meeting on February 28 with members that included: Minoo Moallem, Kalpana Subramanian, Wolfgang Weileder, Lynn Marie Kirby, Carol Bier, Steven Baris, Nezih Erdoğan, Katya Nosyreva, Çigdem Borucu, Nina Czegledy, Mriganka Madhukaillya, Jan Hendrickse, Juan Castrillón, Farshid Kazemi, Radek Przedpełski and Laura Marks.
Our member Minoo Moallem shared her work in progress called, “Woven connectivities and ecological Aesthetics.” The current project by Moallem came out of her research on her book, Persian Carpets: The Nation as a Transnational Commodity, which focused on the Persian carpet as a commodity, and in the process began to collect material on the design and aesthetics of carpets and the ways in which artists work with the carpet as material object. While Moallem noted that carpet weaving as a mass-produced commodity diminished creative productivity, and emphasized more a disciplinary order for higher productivity, what was interesting is that how artists inspired by carpet work were breaking the constrains of disciplinary production to create carpet based art that goes beyond the restrictive ideas of such notions. Several critical theoretical questions that Moallem was asking was: how is it that a life-affirming art or what is organic to life such as weaving and textiles became the site of the most exploitative labour relations; or how and in which ways artists break through the confines of such ties; how a mass culture commodity becomes the site of futurity; can artists create an alternative to commodified labour. Thus turning from the logic of commodification to art, Moallem is interested in the way how this move created a space for recognition of weaving as reimagining of a futurity or an alternative to commodified wage labour, while this has been slipped away, how we can imagine the futurity of labour as free and autonomous. In other words, in which ways does carpet art complicate or challenge the effects of repetitious, cliched consumer based design and release possibilities of a life and a world that is not here, a world to come; or in Deleuzian terms, how a ‘will to art’ reflects something new and singular which precedes us and requires us to invent ourselves as another people.