Kosminen, Helsinki, Finland
In this exhibition, Watts takes apart the environment of being stuck at home.
The boredom, frustration, climbing the walls, a return to homemaking, bread baking, “family meals”, finally fixing the eternally broken, the times we are now living in, working from home, the death of Friday night drinks, “new normal”, of small spaces needing to have multiple uses.
“Hands On” is shown on a permanent loop in the gallery filling up the floating wall, visible day and night through the windows from the street. This work explores contemporary relationships between doing and being. A dense and trippy layering of images to build a video collage of the home in the present day, at times overwhelming, with moments of clarity, and a general bombarding of images. Overlaid with a narration that guides you through it, also in the form of a collage of pieces of audio gathered from interviews and pop culture discussing or related to this feeling of filling time. The video explores life hacks, shortcuts, and things to make your life easier. From beading, tomato cutters, to trick shots, it’s a dissection of the “unboxing video culture”. The act of watching a process with no intention of carrying that process out.
Why are these videos so seductive? Watching often dismembered, seemingly ownerless hands performing acts that one could very easily do oneself, or even that one does regularly. What is the loss between the screen and the craft itself? For the exhibition, at Kosminen this video works as a platform to experience handwork, to experience craft, and for this to then facilitate informal conversations around making.
Accompanying the video Watts shows works made using craft techniques collected from childhood memories of the activities used to fill the long summer school break each year. Watts also provides a paper handout titled ‘Hand-me-down’ riffing on the English phrase meaning to pass on your unwanted clothes or items, repurposing this for crafts. Handing down some of the processes that have alleviated Watts’s boredom, acting as a sort of catharsis or even marking a transition of passing on to new owners for new experiences, Watts wants the booklet to serve as a way for these crafts to live on as a support network handed down from person to person.
Embroideries (10cm x 10cm)