For testsite 09.3, Sheila Pepe and Elizabeth Dunbar seek to engage a diverse audience in conversation and action regarding the relationship between DIY culture, craft and contemporary art. At a political, economic and cultural moment in which practicality and action are critical, “the heart of Pepe’s project concerns sustainability—sustainable art making, to be exact.”
In the rooms of testsite, Pepe will install massive networks of crocheted yarn– skeins of yarn available for constructive re-use by testsite’s visitors. Throughout the exhibition’s duration, visitors are “encouraged to become interpreters, collaborators, to sit down and literally unravel Pepe’s crochet stitches, and then use the same yarn to knit items for personal or domestic use, i.e. scarves, hats, socks, mittens, slippers, purses, cosies, potholders, etc. This collaborative effort removes art from a solitary, hermetic experience to one that is social, communal, and interactive—a renewal of old-fashioned notions of togetherness that are being embraced by current generations.” Over time, during open hours as well as a variety of workshops, participants will dismantle Pepe’s installation and creatively repurpose its materials towards practical ends.
As the installation physically deteriorates over the course of time, traces of its presence will remain: wall drawings from Pepe’s ongoing Doppleganger series, created by the artist in collaboration with Dunbar. These sketches, “made according to a sequential method of intuitive object making, shadow casting, and interpretive drawing,” create a playful, impractical counterpoint to the more utilitarian function of the dismantled and repurposed yarn.
All quotations taken from Sheila Pepe and Elizabeth Dunbar, “COMMON SENSE,” 2009, published in conjunction with testsite 09.3. The publication may be downloaded in PDF form below, or obtained in hard copy at testsite.