‘In today’s art, poets and scientists coexist’
For the Herald
Curator Caroline David talks to the Herald about the omnipresence of textilesCaroline David has been an art curator since the 80s. She has worked with artists from all over the world, from Yayoi Kusama to Maurizio Nannucci, and she has been in charge of Lille 3000, the French city’s cultural programme, for 10 years now; she was even part of its founding committee. And yet for someone who’s been immersed in so many different artistic circles, she never ceases to be amazed at the power of art. She’s currently working on Futurotextiles 3, an exhibit that will open in Tecnópolis on July 16. Shortly after her arrival in Buenos Aires, she talked to the Herald with childlike enthusiasm about the different textiles that will be displayed, many of which are made from unthinkable materials like beet fibre, crab carapace or basalt, and about how, to our surprise, textiles can be found everywhere.
How do you adapt the exhibitions you take on tour to cities in foreign countries?
Well, Futurotextiles, for example, is designed to go on tour all over the world. It was conceived as a moveable architectural scenery, and it can be adapted easily to each different location. There are huge inflatable tents, like igloos, and all you have to do is plug them in. The content of the exposition is divided into two parts. The first one is didactic. It doesn’t change much from city to city and it explains what the textile is; you’ll soon discover that textiles can be made with pretty much anything. The second part presents industrial objects, more artistic creations, but they all show an innovative aspect of the textile sector.
How is Futurotextiles 3 different from the other two?
It’s completely different, especially in terms of the objects being presented. The exhibit is permanently renewing itself, so I’m always adapting it. In Futurotextiles 3, there’s a new object every three or four months, so the only thing that remains the same from the first one in 2006, the second one in 2008 and this one, which opened in 2012, is the underlying concept: the fact that there’s a didactical part, and a second part that shows that textiles are everywhere. They are in the medical world (you can even manufacture synthetic aortas for patients who need them, for example), in transport, in clothing, in architecture, and it’s a tendency that’s growing. With time, it will strengthen or replace key elements of planes, cars and rocket ships, and everything that has to do with clothing will of course see amazing improvements.
How much can the audience interact with the exhibit?
There’s one particular work the audience can interact with; I like including things that are artistic and poetic. It’s an installation made out of Swiss polytechnic. You stand on between two walls as you’re being filmed, and you can play with the clouds that are in the wall. It’s entertaining for children and grown-ups alike. One of the central visual themes of the exhibit is clouds, because clouds are synonyms of lightness. They’re also cottony, so it’s a nice metaphor to talk about textiles in general, since we know today that one of the main aims of the research that engineers carry out is lightness: to make everything as light as possible, from cars and planes to the clothes we wear every day.
What is the star object of the exhibit?
There’s a beautiful model in a 1:10 scale of the Ariane rocket. I like it as a symbol because everybody always wonders what a rocket ship has to do with a textile exhibition. But there are a lot of textiles in rocket ships, particularly at the nose, which is made up of extremely light and resistant textiles. It’s essential to understand that in space, to be able to travel to the Moon or to Mars, for example, the key problem is weight, and the time needed to get there and to return to Earth. If a vehicle is extremely light, it’ll be able to travel longer and more rapidly. So space engineers use textiles. There’s one that looks like a veil and is used to protect satellites from meteorite dust. They have to be very light, but they also have to be resilient, and this veil manages to be both.
How would you define art?
It’s an extremely broad concept, and this exhibition proves that. For the longest time we heard about the fine arts, by which I mean the classic arts; painting, sculpture, and design. But the farther we get into the 20th century, the more we see art evolve until we get to video and photography, which are now artistic fields of their own. The farther we go in history, the more areas that mix art and experience, and craftsmanship and technology will have an art status. The only difference is that in traditional art, the work is often done by one artist, while today we see more people working together in groups where poets and scientists can coexist.
When and where
Futurotextiles 3. Tecnópolis (Juan Bautista de Lasalle 4341 — Villa Martelli). From July 16 to November 2, Wednesday to Sunday from 12pm to 8pm.