The Project

From 26.6.2015 to 6.9.2015 “Parking Knitting” (Gessnerallee 14, Zürich)’s four above-ground air vents will be knitted as part of the summer festival AUFSEHEN!.
With this knitted piece of art we want to not only provide a visual experience but also send a message and/or make a statement. Therefore, we view the theme, AUFSEHEN! as a double meaning and work with the knitting practically and symbolically, also in depth. The first mezzanine floor and the first underground floor are also knitted and offer the surprise of additional texts which were collected from around the world.
The result is a collection of wishes, stories, quotes, sayings, and anything which the questioned people from 10 different countries found and finds important. These are written on fabric pieces. The result is a cohesive story with great depth.
Zürich is the first stop for the exhibition. Afterwards the complete work travels onto such countries as, Poland, Taiwan and South Africa. People from Basel, Aargau, Zürich, Appenzell, Luzern, and other areas in Germany, France and Finland have worked on this complete knitted textile.
Approximately 100 kg of yarn were used, which is about 250,000 threads. 98 Banners come from Poland, Taiwan, Belgium, Spain, Austria, Switzerland, Hawaii, South Africa, America, and Argentina. 50 square meters of material was used and approximately 200 square meters were knitted.

The Material and the Production
Wool is familiar to us. It stands for warmth and protection. Knitting is an extremely old, culturally based activity which is globally understood.
The fabrication and the hand work are personal, require time, are meditative, emotional, communicative, and connecting. It’s about knitting a fabric together.
Knitted Street Art makes the relationships and connections more apparent…with the creation, the object, the place. Handwork can also be understood or seen as a stand against mass production.
Public knitting frees one from the household context and looks for recognition. In the fabrication personal relationships are at the forefront.
The soft material can be understood as an interest in making us aware of our feelings and capabilities, developing an emotional, interdependent lifestyle.

Street Art
There are many variations of Street Art; graffiti, posters, performances. Common to all of these forms is that they use the public space and open it up to the public to make it available to everyone as a platform for discussion. Many people are accepting of Street Art because they feel spoken to as people, not as consumers. Street Art integrates the environment, the public space and becomes a place of action for unforeseen encounters.
Urban Knitting is a relatively new art within Street Art, which has made the re-appropriation of public spaces a topic.

Urban Knitting
Urban Knitting is a form of Street Art in which yarn is used as the material. Most often the pieces are knitted by hand. The installation of this type of art does not harm anything and can be easily removed, with the use of scissors. This form of Street art originated in the USA (in 2005 Magda Sayeg knitted the doorknob of a local establishment in Houston, Texas.). Initially, its purpose was to “warm up” the coldness of public spaces and to win back and personalize public spaces. In the meantime it can also be used as a means of questioning political and social ideas.

Some time ago, hand work freed itself from the traditional view many had of it. While in school it was once only offered to girls, in the 20th century it is now also offered to boys.
At the same time in the 1980s, the activity of knitting and hooking moved from the school context to the public, into meeting rooms and into knitting circles including participants such as politicians, students, activists, and also men.

Handwork for Public Spaces
Handwork is personal, requires time, is meditative and individual. Each person works as he or she is. In knitting for public spaces, hard is contrasted with soft. The reason for a knitted work comes about through creativity and feeling, and perception.
Street knitting makes relationships visual; the production with the object and the place. Knitting for public spaces is a form of self-expression, which is about the positioning of historic and cultural chapters.
Many people share in the art of making something themselves and letting go (it’s made, delivered and handed over to the observer), bringing life and individuality into a sterile world.
There are many forms of activity. The knitted pieces range from simple knitted squares to complex patterns. There are no creative limits. The groups are well mixed and one finds all age groups, different nationalities, and various ethnic backgrounds. A linked and connected worldwide community is formed.
Through the network urban knitting people are captivated. People connect on the phone and digitally to a network with same interest. The common project connects one to a real community. In a time when cities are lonely and people are looking for ways to exchange socially. Blogs in all forms virtualize a great part of the between human communication and contact and serve, at the same time, as a platform to exchange opinions publically. From here groups emerge which then meet in the real world and have the goal to design the environment themselves and show their dialog.
Items which one daily encounters but which are hardly noticed receive, when are wrapped up, new attention. It’s not about discovering something new but about connecting one thing with another, picking up the pieces/strings and connecting them. Art projects are a suggestion of awareness.

Social Pieces of Art for Public Spaces
An art piece is an ideal tool to regain and change our environment. A new form of memorial in the literal sense; something to consider/ food for thought. Nature, culture and city are a complexly connected system. Urban knitting is a joining work, when knitting, when bringing it together, though virtual channels. By participating the observer will be surprised and influenced. The public installation is the stage. The street becomes the set. Art no longer remains something special only designed by experts and artists. Instead it allows each one’s life to become a living art piece, by setting creative energy, lust, strength and unconsciousness free – a creative freedom.
With the creative design and the related creative task, the social and emotional connection, with the impulse to change the community, one can then speak of “social plastic and/or “social sculpture” in the sense of Joseph Beuys.

The Parking Knitting in Zürich
The coloring of the knitted piece follows the color gradient of a rainbow. This shows similarities to the spectra of colours. Physically explained, each approaching round rain drop breaks the sunlight when it enters and exits and reflects it on the rear wall. The observer has the reflected water droplets before them and the sun on their back.

A rainbow is an impressive and rare display of nature, has left traces in human nature and culture and is found in uncountable art pieces as the subject of the piece. It is well known worldwide and has numerous positive attributes.
In myths it has taken on the role of mediator between the Gods and humans. Mythology without rainbows is seldom.
Greenpeace, for example, made the rainbow its identification. The rainbow flag is a symbol which throughout history surfaces again and again. It’s a symbol for peace and tolerance. It’s also a huge theme in music.
This rainbow symbol also is present in connection with the worldwide collected and completed banners. The question was, “What moves you?”. From different parts of the world, from various social corners and many countries, the banners lie above the knitted work, both portraying the same symbol. In this way an optical connection is made between the knitting and the banners, together becoming one.
The work experiences many transformations, from above ground to underground, superficially and in depth. Realistically, it’s understood as art which invites one to self- awareness. In addition, it will travel to other parts of the world and will be displayed there, yet still remain the same. It stands in context to all past and future projects.

Übersetzung: Marlee Macdonald (vielen Dank)