Focus On: Video

Welcome to our ongoing August, 2015 blog series celebrating the final days to enter your artwork for consideration into FI2016! We’re highlighting different artist’s interpretations of fiber art that we’ve loved seeing in past Internationals.

OK, really? Video? Wasn’t the last post bad enough with the lottery tickets and the glass? Where’s the fiber art?

Hear me out. It won’t take long!

Ritual often makes use of fabric. Maybe it’s a piece of special clothing adorning the body, like a baby’s christening gown, or a cloth that’s employed in ceremony, like a chuppah at a Jewish wedding. Or the bit of lace veil that both conceals and reveals a bride’s face in many traditions.

Video is a wonderful medium for recording the act of ritual itself, and April Dauscha uses it to great effect when she films the use of her unique handmade needle-run lace artifacts. April uses her custom-made ceremonial garments to stage intimate personal rituals of penance, contrition, dressing, and undressing.

Act of Contrition still
April Dauscha, “Act of Contrition” (still). Featured in FI2013. Video; handmade needle-run lace veil

This is a still from April’s 2012 silent video, “Act of Contrition.” View the entire video here. It’s about 4 minutes long and well worth it – remember, even though you’ll see her lips moving, it’s a silent video so don’t fiddle with your speakers; nothing’s wrong!

April says:

Lace speaks of purity and sexuality, it reveals and conceals, it is humble, yet gluttonous in its ornamental overindulgence. Lace is the ultimate dichotomy. I use it as a potent symbol to represent the duality of body and soul, right and wrong, good and evil. The story of the fall of man and the origin of ‘original sin,’ was developed around the story of Adam and Eve. Act of Contrition is a video piece that highlights this fall, our struggle with imperfection – the veiled mouth focuses on a site of imperfection, the water becomes a symbol of cleansing, and the fall of the lace portrays our struggle.

As the artist voicelessly whispers her confessional, the lace serves to simultaneously highlight the fact that she’s speaking and silence her voice. It’s as if she can only speak through its refined filter.

Video is the perfect medium with which to view this lace ritual. We see the lace contact the skin, the movement of the lips, the drip of the cleansing water; we get to watch a practice begin, sustain, and end. At the heart of the act is the piece of handmade lace, shining light on yet another facet of our complex, long-standing, human relationship with fiber.

Watch April’s other videos here!