Knitted tiles x 12 | 40cm x 40cm | machine knitted cotton and acrylic
PART OF THE CRUSADER MILL COLLECTION
Part of 'PROGRESS' - Rogue 2016
Sited across the stairwell and façade of Crusader Mill, FAIT ACCOMPLI instils value in the peeling layers of paint and hand-drawn way-finding left by current and past tenants from Manchester’s endangered machine knitting industry. Following the sale of the building to developers Capital & Centric in 2015, this work became a way to capture samples of the history of the mill, and mark the presence of the knitwear community.
Twelve knitted tiles recreate discrete 40cm square samples of these walls, capturing the colours, marks and patterning, and attempting to re-render them as knitted textile. The resulting text-tiles are reinstalled at the site, over the original paintwork. In doing so, the complex layers of texture and history have been captured, reduced and 'fixed' - they act as markers for posterity, textural samples of the archive. The final installations draw attention to these layers of history, and yet they are themselves ambient, blended into the background, easily overlook. The aging of the building has been superfically arrested, though in reality its fate has been sealed.
This is a careful process of digitisation - photographing the site, and reducing the sampled area down to a low resolution binary image that can be passed to the knitting machine. This image must be stretched precisely to account for the shape of the knitting stitch, allowing the knitted textile to pull back into a square. Colours must be chosen to match the evironment, sometimes running additional threads to create depth and texture in this binary pattern. The yarn itself has been accumulated from factory seconds. By reducing these images to a simple binary form, we create a knitting pattern that can be shared, though they lose the complexity of the original.
June 2016 - ‘Progress’ – Rogue Artists Studios @ Crusader Mill – MCR History Festival - Manchester, UK