Space invading laboratory
Mediamatic presents a new edition of the art installation Fashion Machine, a concept by artist and fashion designer Conny Groenewegen. The fleece sweater, one of the most characteristic cast-offs of the modern clothing industry, wishes to be the main player in the project. This popular garment is often unjustifiably appreciated because it is made of recycled materials, namely plastic bottles (PET). Recycled sounds good at first. However, research shows that it is a major cause of large-scale microfibre pollution in oceans and drinking water. Unlike other garments of other materials, the fleece sweater becomes a totally unusable product after the first user. It is unusual in the second-hand clothing circuit, even in India or Africa. It can also not be used again or recycled. The fleece sweater is a dead-end in the industry.
Reshaping fleece's footprint
With Fashion Machine, a number of cast-off garments find a new destination. During three months, an unimaginable amount of fleece sweaters will be systematically cut into strips to make large fleece bobbins. This will be used to make a large knitting-work on a wooden knitting bench. In this manner, a huge red flag will emerge that will grab your attention, and symbolize the giagantic scale of waste from the clothing industry. The useless material turns into a fashion monument with an activistic expression.
Asking for public attention for this topic is only a small part of Conny Groenewegen's activities. The ultimate goal is to develop ideas and methods for new design applications. This is done in collaboration with Officina Corpuscoli, amongst others. The long term research will focus on the possibilities of biologically decomposing the fleece polyester.
Fashion Machine at Mediamatic
This whole summer, Conny Groenewegen, the FAMA team and volunteers knitted giant fleece banners that slowly engulfed our headquarters by using a special hand-knitting technique. This project reflects the impact of fast throw-away fashion on you, your environment and our world. This project runs until 8 October.
The project Fashion Machine was initiated as part of the Temporary Fashion Museum: the successful exhibition programme showcasing the many sides of fashion, which was at display from September 2015 until May 2016 at Het Nieuwe Instituut, Museum for Architecture, Design and Digital Culture in Rotterdam.
Design Conny Groenewegen i.c.w. Stichting Mediamatic, Esther Meijer and the Laboratory of Critical Technics at Arizona State University / Graphic Design Rudy Guedj / Project Manager Esther Meijer.
Special thanks to Team Mediamatic, all organization assistants and the many volunteers who, with their enthusiasm and energy, set the machine in motion.
More images can be found here.