the waste land

 
 photo by @richardrhyme (IG)

photo by @richardrhyme (IG)

 

Toronto's Nuit Blanche

7pm on September 30 - 7am on October 1, 2017

 

Watch this performance progress throughout the night as the artist translates T.S. Eliot’s canonical poem “The Waste Land” into a knitted tapestry. The artist will knit the 500-line poem over 12 hours, using a pattern she created by translating the stressed & unstressed beats of each line of poetry into lines of knit & purl stitches.

Eliot’s poem uses intentionally obscure language & references and was written to be understood only by his fellow male Modernists. What happens when Eliot’s coded language is translated into the coded language of a knitting pattern? By performing the hidden labour of knitting, Bebenek critiques the artificial divide between ‘fine arts’ & ‘crafts’ and the systemic devaluation of ‘women’s work’.

Touch the tapestry, listen to the words, read the pattern, discuss ideas, and follow along at #k2togproject & @notyrmuse on Instagram.

 

Bebenek's interview on the craft & process behind 'The Waste 'Land'

"I understand that institutionally respected forms of knowledge are not the only ways of understanding the world. Since before written history, women have been expressing themselves in their textile work, telling their stories through their designs. This performance is an attempt to blend my dual histories, translating Eliot’s self-expression into another form of expression – one which Eliot would likely not be able to 'read,' but one which a knitter who has never encountered 'The Waste Land' could understand."

 

 

I am developing this performance into a manuscript to be published as a work of conceptual poetry. This will include a knitting pattern for the entire poem and an essay on my thinking and process.

Please contact me if you would like to know more.

 

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