On July 5th, 2013, artist Lisa Simpson transforms grunt gallery during a full-day performance involving sewing, music and sound, and social interaction. The project, Agente Costura, questions clothing consumption habits, bringing forth a discussion around the sustainability of the fashion industry.
Unwanted apparel is reconstructed into new garments and fashions through a sewing practice that Simpson refers to as “Upcycling”. Attendees are invited to search their wardrobes for clothing to bring to this event; the artist then reimagines these items through an interactive process. Viewers are also encouraged to bring a song that they wish to hear while this textile transformation takes place. The sound influences the alterations as the artist sews to the beat of the music.
“By using clothing, something that we can all relate to, I hope to begin a discussion on the importance of the individual in contemporary society, and the importance of our ability to improvise as a tool for change,” Simpson says. “How a simple act of cutting fabric in half can shock and make you uncomfortable. A seamstress must always measure and be precise: follow a pattern, previously approved. Or not. What if I follow my instinct instead of a rule? I have studied the practice long enough to rebel. I know how people are intrigued by my ability to let go of these guidelines and just do it freehand. Are you really going to turn this into something else without drawing it out, without measuring and calculating? Just simply use these scissors instinctively and then see what happens.”
During the evening, Simpson brings musicians together with a rhythm provided by The Singer, the artist’s sewing machine. The public is invited to dress up, with various costume accessories and garments that transform them from viewers into performers, creating an intervention that merges the act of live music and live sewing.
July 5th itinerary:
2pm – 7:30pm: Visit grunt gallery with an article of clothing and a song of your choice. The artist will be constructing a fabric apparatus to hang textile creations and will be upcycling articles of clothing.
8pm – 10pm: Stop by grunt gallery to hear the musical performance.
Lisa Simpson is a sewing agent. She lives in Curitiba, Brazil and is currently enrolled in the Low Residency Masters Program at Emily Carr University. She has been playing the Singer, a sewing machine, since 2003. Her research focuses on her exhibitions in progress, where she emphasizes the creative process, the performativity of the act of sewing, and audience participation as the source of inspiration. http://
View photos from this performance.
Special thanks to VanDocument for creation of this video that documents a portion of Lisa Simpson’s performance: