Nobody's Wife, Nobody's Mother
In 2001 the National Marriage Project by the Gallup Organization found that 94% of people in their 20’s believe that you should marry your soul-mate and 88% of those polled believe that their soul-mate is out there waiting for them. Yet, today, there are just as many single people as there are married people implying that our romantic fantasies aren’t our actual lived experiences. The dresses with their time intensive embroidery and hand-sewn labor symbolize and model an intense pondering of the choice to not have kids or to wed (a choice that is statistically not seen as being made but more of an error in our lives). Embroidered graphs of the world’s population and charts projecting the near future relations between population, pollution, birth, death, food per capita, other resources and industrial output de-romanticize coupling and producing kids. Embroidered onto the first dress is a quote discussing women’s fear of being single motivating their engagement with romance verses a commitment to the act of loving a partner motivating them. A response is added to the quote as to increase a dialogue that despite the gains of feminism isn’t that audible.
Composer Sebastian Birch recorded the Shaker song “A Gift To Be Simple” as the base for the invisible digital audio inside the dress (audio that can only be heard if you bring your ear to the heart of the dresses) because their utopian vision dictates for all members of the community remaining single and not reproducing. Believing that sex is really distracting, consuming lots of energy, the Shakers model the potential of other choices, producing simultaneously a dieing community and some of the most treasured American craftwork.
fabric, digital audio