The flyers for the exhibition – Fashioning Feathers: Dead Birds, Millinery Crafts and the Plumage Trade – I have been working on have been sent out and I want to post them here and invite you to the Opening Reception on May 19th 7pm-10pm @ the FAB Gallery at the University of Alberta.
The exhibition is being presented as part of The Material Culture Institute’s 2011 Symposium – Material Culture, Craft & Community: Negotiating Objects Across Time & Place.
By tracing the movement of these commodities across time and place (and between states of life and death) the exhibition extends cultural geography methodology into an exhibitionary context and aims to develop upon non-anthropocentric approaches to the interpretation and display of animal remains.
As Edmonton is an out-of-the-way kind of place the exhibition website – www.fashioningfeathers.com – is intended to act as an online catalogue and extended exhibitionary space for Fashioning Feathers… In this way we seek to create a virtual space of engagement for those unable to attend the material manifestation of exhibition at the FAB Gallery.
The website headings (linked below) refer to the different sections of the material exhibition and in the online context entitle a series of extended curatorial essays that explore the exhibition themes in greater depth:
- Birds of Paradise – this space explores the relationships, practices and geographies behind the making and presence of millinery bird of paradise skins in a clothing and textiles collection in Western Canada. It includes audio and video recordings of birds of paradise in their natural habitats courtesy of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
- Fsshioning Feathers – this space explores the production processes involved in ‘fashioning’ feathers, from the harvesting of birds for their feathers on ‘feather farms’, to the crafting of feathers by plumassiers and in plume sweatshops.
- Muderous Millinery – this space seeks to outline the extent of the business of killing birds for the millinery trade and to evidence the efforts of various individuals and groups to bring an end to the international plumage trade.
- Ruffling Feathers – this space enlists the artwork of contemporary artists Kate Foster and Andrea Roe to help engage our curiosity to wonder at how birds use their feathers – and what we do to birds in the process of fashioning them.
The blog is dedicated to documenting the making of Fashioning Feathers… As we go behind the scenes and under the skin of the millinery preserved avian parts in store at the University of Alberta Clothing and Textiles Collections we draw attention to their excessive sensory, bodily and affective registers.
I am presently engaged in creating a ‘further reading & links’ page for the site and am particularly looking to link to other academic and artistic work on human-nonhuman relations, exhibitionary geographies, museum geographies and their material cultures, and artwork and writings about death, affect, touch and sci-art collaborations.
Please get in touch with me if you can suggest references or want to link your work to the site: firstname.lastname@example.org