Berlin was the next city to sew its end of a global quilt as the I, CULTURE Contemporary Craft Workshop gets buzzing. The traveling I, CULTURE project visited Berlin's Alexanderplatz
The I, CULTURE tour graced Berlin's Alexanderplatz, engaging locals in a cross-border contemporary craft project
From 5 p.m. until 10 p. m., the traveling I, CULTURE project came to Berlin's Alexanderplatz (known fondly as 'Alex' by locals). 15 sewing machines and 20 knowledgable volunteers were at the service of all those eager to learn to sew and create their own clothes, bags, pillow cases and accesories. At the end of the evening all the finished pieces were assembled on the surface of a 20x20 metre square. The arrangement forms the lower part of "C" in the "I, CULTURE" logo, drawn up by German participants of the world-wide project.
Olga Wysocka, Presidency Project manager from the Adam Mickiewicz Institute:
I, CULTURE is about the idea of getting together and trying a hand at sewing. It's also about posing the question of the role of crafts in today's world.
The project has come together in partnership with design specialist Monika Jakubiak and her company, Soulstitch. Jakubiak is on a journey with the I, CULTURE Contemporary Crafts Workshop, which was launched in May on the courtyard of the Adam Mickiewicz Institute in Warsaw. During the worldwide community workshops in sewing, squared pieces of a puzzle spelling out the I, CULTURE logo are put together. The logo is also a theme of the International Cultural Programme of the 2011 Polish Presidency of the EU Council, coordinated by Adam Mickiewicz Institute.
Each installment of the project engages a different independent institution in the 12 capitals around the world. Research conducted locally by a team of volunteers explores the meaning of craft. Following the research, workshops with special sewing stands open up, inviting all those interested to participate. The I, CULTURE session closes with participants arranging their pieces together on a huge square to form a part of the I, CULTURE logo. The artist and fashion designer Monika Jakubiak together with the group of volunteers teach participants to sew, remake their clothing and re-use it in different ways. Anybody interested is invited to come up to the stand, take a piece of fabric, sit down by the machine and start sewing. An important part of the event is also a street poll on which of the crafts has the best chances of endurance in our culture. Volunteers also instigate discussions on the role of traditional crafts in the digital age (Why do we buy new shirts and sweaters instead of going to a tailor? Where do our clothes come from and why?) They share their thoughts and predictions as to which crafts will hold (see the I, CULTURE page for our online poll) and thread together an informal history of craftsmanship.
Volunteers sew but also make various things – in Berlin there was a person who used wooden transport pallets to produce chairs. The project always adapts to the local environment and reality of each city. (...)Each person can sew whatever they like – a bag, case, an accesory to sew onto their apparel. Whatever piece gets made, at an established hour, it gets placed on a segment of the I, CULTURE theme-logo. In Berlin, it is the lower part of the letter "C".
The collaborative experience of this project provides an opportunity to observe a work of art emerging from different places, different people and different tastes. I, CULTURE is also an invitation for each individual to personally define their views on culture. The workshop aims to make audiences aware of the fact that everyday objects require someone else's skills and effort. Participants thus get a sense of what 'creating culture' really means.
Video of the I, CULTURE Crafts in Berlin:
A participant of the Berlin installment of I, CULTURE commented:
I'm sewing up a colourful shopping sack. It doesn't have to be beautiful, it's just important that I'm the one who makes it. I came here because I like the original character of this project. People may think that sewing is not fashionable. I don't agree with that, I think it's really cool.
Berlin was the fifth stop of I, CULTURE Contemporary Crafts Project tour after London, Paris, Madrid and Brussels. After Berlin, I, CULTURE returns to Poland before setting out to the East: Kiev, Minsk, Moscow, Beijing and Tokyo. Each square is joined up with other squares from different cities to create a huge patchwork quilt initiated by Poland, produced by the world.
Date: 5th of August, 2011, 5 p. m. - 10 p. m.
Organised by: Soulstitch, Adam Mickiewicz Institute
Project cofinanced by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland.
I, CULTURE is a Flagship Project of the Polish Presidency of the EU Council. For more information, see: I, CULTURE.
Source: Adam Mickiewicz Institute