NETWALK: A COLLECTIVE GARMENT
I was invited to create a piece for public engagement at the Rubin Museum’s 2019 Annual Block Party. The theme was “Power Play.” I got to thinking about the seat of power within an individual body and how it might visibly and sensually extend to a public body. To express this in a tactile way I sewed a series of harness-like belts made of red, orange, and magenta fabrics, with dangling extensions and simple hooking mechanisms. These garments focus attention on the physical core of one’s own body and then to energetic exchanges between the personal and the collective. The red-hued palate conjures the charge and color of blood, while referencing the base chakras, as well as traditional clothes worn by Tibetan Buddhist monks (the museum highlights art from the Himalayan regions). “NETWALK” belts were available to participants attending the event, with the possibility of interconnecting with others to create a unified network. The question of leadership and choreography were left open allowing a fluid response to the nuances of each newly formed collective body.
The event was free, open to the public, and set along West 17th St. between 6th & 7th Avenues on an impossibly hot midsummer Sunday afternoon in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. As people came through, my team and I invited them to hook into “NETWALK: A Collective Garment” and we walked the length of the block together, negotiating the rhythms of body and environment.