In its second season, New York Textile Month put on by Parsons School of Design and Lidewij Edelkoort is a month-long city-wide festival designed to celebrate textile creativity and promote textile awareness.
Initiated by Lidewij Edelkoort, trend forecaster and Dean of Hybrid Studies at The New School and assisted by Willem Schenk, this multiple-location event gathers all voices and expressions concerning textiles, bringing together museums, galleries, showrooms, retailers, design studio, students and the general public.
An examination and documentation of our relationship to textiles by using a tablecloth as a canvas, MORDANT features a dinner, cooked by artist Victoria Manganiello, that will be served directly on a table cloth she wove by hand. Recipes and ingredients have been chosen with direct consideration to the potential of dying that cloth and the meal will be served in such a way that the food will inevitably meet the cloth.
MORDANT asks participants to join in the process of connecting fiber with dye; an integral part of Manganiello‘s artistic process.
We caught up with Manganiello to ask a few questions about MORDANT.
When we think about the food and fiber crossover, it almost ALWAYS goes to natural dye projects. Talk about how MORDANT is more than just a natural dye event.
Another important part of the food and fiber crossover is its ubiquitousness. Fibers have been given color from food for thousands of years and by people across the globe. Before the invention of synthetic dyes, a short 161 years ago, all of our colors came from natural resources including food items. My guests at Mordant will be connecting food with fiber in the subtle ways that are a part of the regular ritual of eating dinner but their actions will be exaggerated because of the way the food is served to them. Think bowls made from infused ice, slotted spoons and bread plates. I’m serving them a home cooked meal in such a way that they won’t be able to avoid creating color while creating connections both present and past at the same time. I’d like to highlight our shared relationship with color and I hope my guests find the curious experience of leaving a mark upon a handwoven cloth to be an insight into the ways common objects (like cloth) are and have always been produced and embellished.
I know you talked about how you were filming MORDANT but talk about the documentation of events like these.
Mordant as a dinner series is something that I have been doing with friends and family in my studio for the past few years but when I teamed up with filmmaker Kristin Kremers this year, it took a new direction. Together, we are using the dinner table, dinning cloth and home-cooked meal as a lens through which to view the widespread appeal of textiles. And we will document these dinners as we conduct them around the world. The aim here is document the nuances of different food and weaving cultures but more importantly to highlight their similarities.
The film is scheduled to take us to Romania and Japan in the next year and eventually to other locations as well. We’re still sorting out the details. In July, we conducted a dinner in Sofia, Bulgaria and it was the first in our international journey. Making visual the food and fiber of this culture and place in collaboration with its makers is a big part of our project. In New York, I’m making the food and the table cloth and it becomes a symbol of this place that I come from but when we travel, the dinning cloth will be a symbol of the place from which our collaborators come from. But at the end of the day, food and fiber are ritualistic in ways that can cross cultural boundaries.
What I love about MORDANT is that the impression left on the table cloth is also marking the impression of people who were once there. Some of the images you have almost look like a crime scene which I think is pretty cool. Can you talk about your take on these impressions and why they matter to you to document?
The thing I love most about textiles and perhaps the reason why I’ve dedicated my life to it is that cloth is something we all share. Everybody has an intimate relationship with cloth. We are in contact with it constantly and thus we develop personal and cultural associations but that all come from the same root object. Textiles are this amazing equalizer that inspires me to think of myself as one of many. So the marks left behind by each guest at a MORDANT dinner forever connects the project to a person but as an individual of a larger whole. This project is a collaboration involving everyone who joins me for a meal. Dinner and the dinner table has always been a very important part of my family. I come from Italian and Jewish traditions, I love to cook and the ritual of food has always brought us together to share and learn and grow as a family just as MORDANT grows from those individuals who touch it.