For, of them
the pieces in the series For, Of Them are each based on records of the financial costs associated with witch trials in early modern Europe. The information is embedded into the cloth by visualizing the square area of different line items; unwoven holes in the fabric are a visualization of different amounts of money made off each item of persecution.
These events and systems are not just historic. During the witch trials, the persecutions functioned as a way of social control of women and women’s bodies. Midwives, healers, and herbalists were persecuted. The reproductive care they offered was ended, and the commons from which they harvested medicinal herbs was enclosed. Magical practices were persecuted as an ontological threat to the orderliness of the emerging capitalist system. During the same time period, and in the centuries prior, people we would now call trans, gender nonconforming, or queer were also persecuted under the banner of witchcraft. The connection was so strong that the word heretic became synonymous with homosexual.
The holes, the unwoven sections of the piece carry both the violence of the act and the possibility of escape. They raise possibilities between and within the concepts of tearing vs. mending vs. absence. The work is pliant, and roughly on a body scale. The unwoven sections force visual pauses, and act as redactions, omissions of what is stated plainly in the archive. They raise the question of what is gone and what is left. In the information recorded in it, the cloth is an archive, but the shape, scale, and orientation of the cloth is also a body and references how the corporeal is archived as well.
Can the removal of the information act as an offering, where I am digging against the mound of history to imagine a different past, and therefore a different future? Can the unwoven holes in the work become not silence but a mouth?