Interactive Alphabet Primer

archive collective narrative needlework

An alphabet primer embroidery in greek tradition was the first needlework a girl did in order to learn stitching and reading simultaneously. Women at the time didn’t have access to education so an embroidered alphabet primer was part of the home education they received from their mothers.

In this workshop participants (aged 60+) were introduced to basic electronics, conductive threads and conductive fabrics. While they were stitching they shared stories on culture, tradition, their perspectives on contemporary creative methodologies and technology. The stories were recorded and embedded into the handicraft.
The aim of this workshop was to create an atmosphere like the old days, when needlework was the social interaction between women. They gathered together to create and discuss. On the same time the attempt was to bridge the old with the new.
Through the use of conductive threads and fabrics, the embroidery itself becomes a sensor. By providing a platform of information coming from the participants, the viewer himself creates the narrative form. Each time an embroidered letter is triggered, a non-linear narrative based on the viewer’s own physical experience emerges. The result is unique and can never be reproduced in the same order.

In this way, by merging the natural organic elements (interviews, recordings, etc.) with the technical-digital media (conductive thread and fabric, sensors and microprocessors), the needlework manages to be transformed into a timeless cultural archive and at the same time an archive of workshop participants’ experience.

Project in collaboration with Afroditi Psarra.

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