What happens when radical aesthetic advances suddenly appear in your dog’s food bowl? What does the shift in meaning look like when a vessel changes from utilitarian object to museum artefact? What value can we attribute to the slow activities of (arts and) crafts, given the emphasis on speed and reproducibility in our current image culture?
The dog has assumed the lead role in our digital image culture. What might that indicate? As an animal capable of feeling shame, the dog’s most remarkable quality is its ability to curb its urges through obedience training. Might it be that the image of the dog, man’s best friend, is helping us to visualize the burden of culture – civilization and its discontents?
The exhibition consists of scaled-up dog bowls in stoneware and a series of knitted textile artworks featuring images found online. The slow feeder dog bowls look like anaemic representations of formalistic modernism – abstract, geometric reliefs, a far cry from their functional origin. By contrast, the textile pieces have the form of utilitarian objects – knitted jumpers – but the amount of time that goes into their making stands in stark contrast to their source of inspiration, the online meme culture, which is characterized by quick, cheap and limitlessly reproducible production and dissemination.
Sisse Lee explores how objects and material environments change meaning over time and what this reveals about us. Slow Feeder II draws inspiration from industrially manufactured feeding bowls for binge-eating pets and the prominent role of these animals in the constant stream of online images. The bowls’ form and material qualities have been enlarged and distorted in various ways in order to make the familiar unfamiliar and vice versa.
The exhibition is supported by Norwegian Crafts and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Norway
Photo credit: David Stjernholm