Conny Groenewegen

Fashion Machine

An invasion of space by re-recycling matter

The fashion industry: a beautiful but polluting business. The fast pace of clothing production accounts for devastating amounts of material and immaterial consumption, resulting in the misuse of water, chemicals and (child) labour. How to deal with this tempting but harmful situation? Conny Groenewegen sets out to visualise its enormity by transforming fashion's leftovers into art that takes over our immediate habitat.

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Twined fleece strips - Presentation of Fashion Machine in Het Nieuwe Instituut/Temporary Fashion Museum, 2015-16. Johannes Schwartz

Space invading laboratory

In collaboration with the Laboratory for Critical Technics at Arizona State University, Mediamatic and Officina Corpuscoli, Conny Groenewegen presents a new edition of Fashion Machine in summer 2017, a space invading laboratory and interactive installation. The project deals with one of the most characteristic leftovers of the fast fashion industry: the fleece sweater. This piece of clothing is being popularized amongst practical outdoor folks and respected as an up-cycled product made from PET bottless while at the same time research shows that it is the cause of serious micro fibre pollution. 

Reshaping fleece's footprint

The fleece sweater is considered an undesirable item in the Western world of high fashion and unpopular in the industry of second hand fashion. In places that take in many of the collected and donated clothing, like India and Africa, the sweaters are of little use.

In Fashion Machine this unwanted matter finds a destination. Over the span of three months, an unimaginable amount of fleece sweaters is systematically cut to strips in order to create balls of yarn that consequently feed wooden knitting benches to produce monumental knitted flags for the building’s facade. 

Beyond this symbolic and activist statement Conny Groenewegen will focus on the afterlife of the knitted fleece. She will involve designers and researchers to develop ideas and methods for utilizing composite materials in interior and fashion design. Together with Officina Corpuscoli Conny Groenewegen will conduct a research into the possibilities of fungi cultures to decompose the fleece polyester. 

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Spindle with cut fleece strip2 - Presentation of Fashion Machine in Het Nieuwe Instituut/Temporary Fashion Museum, 2015-16. Johannes Schwartz

Fashion Machine at Mediamatic

This ongoing project is based in Mediamatic’s Panoramastudio, which acts as a sweatshop, involving numerous employees and volunteers. The installation sheds light on the production mechanisms and scale of the fast fashion industry and gives the banal residue textile a new context: an allegation against the destructive nature of the (fast) fashion industry.

Sign up

And your force is needed in the mix! Now you can be part of this playground of communal untangling. Come to the workshop Cut the Crap and send an e-mail to: fashionmachine@mediamatic.nl

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Red fleece knitting station - Presentation of Fashion Machine in Het Nieuwe Instituut/Temporary Fashion Museum, 2015-16. Ralph Vaessen

In collaboration with and with special thanks to: Esther Meijer/ Nieuw Jurk, Adam Nocek/ Laboratory of critical technics, GeoMedia Network, Mediamatic, Officina Corpuscoli.