emplacements, The Red Banner Knitwear Factory, 2002
In 2002 emplacements worked with Dmitri Pilikin, as curator, to realise a residency and public event at the Red Banner Knitwear Factory a working textile factory on Petrograd Island. For three weeks from 1 August, 20 artists from the UK, France, Germany and Russia had access to various parts of the factory and were introduced to the stages of textile production and company archive. We were given a disused floor in the factory’s 19th century building to use as a studio and meeting place. Artists, individually or collaboratively, developed work in response to our experience of the factory, its history, environment, the people who work there, and its architectural significance, in particular the part of the factory designed by the architect, Erich Mendelsohn. A two day public event gave visitors and workers the opportunity to view work realised during the three weeks. It included sculpture, video, sound, textiles, mixed media and photography.
[Adapted from Dupré, F. (2004). On Interconnectivity. [online] Site Specific Art.]
My work addressed the connection with knitwear production in Shetland, where I had been living and working permanently since December 2000. I commissioned Shetland knitters to hand knit garments linked to the types produced when the factory was founded in the 19th century, e.g., hosiery and underwear, thus socks and Spencers. I filmed the Shetland knitters speaking about the making, or fabrication of their work and edited it together with excerpts ;of interviews with factory works at the Red Banner Knitwear factory. I had been fortunate to visit St Petersburg briefly in March 2002 with Val Turner from TEA (Manchester) to meet with Margarita Shtiglitz from the Department for Architectural Preservation, find our new curator, Dmitri Pilikin, and identify the Red Banner Factory as our location. I was able to r spend the next five months researching and preparing my work. In addition to hand knitted garments, I also took material about Shetland. I was able to leave everything as gifts for those with whom we worked in the factory.