I am looking for 100 people to embroider words onto garments for an exhibition, Illuminating the Self(Hatton Gallery & Vane, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, January 2020)which will explore the experience of living with epilepsy.
I am working in collaboration with a team of 30 neuroscientists, engineers, clinicians and artists from the CANDO project (Controlling Abnormal Network Dynamics using Optogenetics) at Newcastle University and Imperial College, London to explore the ethical, philosophical and personal implications of the cutting-edge brain implants they are developing to try and control focal epilepsy. Epilepsy affects 600,000 people in the UK and uncontrolled seizures have devastating effects on patients’ lives.
The 100 items of embroidered clothing will be hung from the gallery ceiling by wires, and programmed to move in the neural patterns and pathways associated with epilepsy. The movement will become increasingly synchronised. Once fully aligned, they will collapse onto the floor. Slowly, the clothes will start to move again, and restore themselves into their original configuration.
The words will be personal testimonies contributed by people living with epilepsy and also by their carers.
A wide range of clothing is being used, from historical to contemporary items. It is being donated by British designers, Hawk &Dove fine Apparel, and the public (including people with epilepsy) – from wedding dresses and veils, men’s shirts and Victorian underwear to children’s night wear. The eclectic mix of clothing suggests the very individual nature of epilepsy, and the number of garments highlights the fact that 1 in 100 people have some form of epilepsy.
“Whether you are a world class embroiderer or do needlework as a hobby, we’d really love to hear from you. We intend to provide the words and garments to all of our volunteer embroiderers in January 2019 and we would need to receive the completed embroidery back from them by 1st May 2019. We plan to use UV sensitive threads as well as other threads for the project as we will be using blue light and UV light as part of the installation, so the words they embroider will quite literally shine out from the clothing.”
If you’d like to get involved, please contact Susan Aldworth directly on firstname.lastname@example.org