AWSS is a pop-up sound and textiles installation accompanied by original works of music and a storytelling performance by The Only Animal’s Artistic Director, Barbara Adler. 

On a stage embellished with slow textiles, Barbara tells a story while carefully stitching a piece of abstract crochet – it could be lichen, coral, water or cloud –  which will eventually find its home as part of the installation. The technique is called hyperbolic crochet, a baroque folding of the fabric that expands exponentially. In this form, the longer you stitch, the further you are from the finish. 

The crochet ruffles cover audio speakers playing environmental sound pieces by commissioned artists, including Toni-Leah C. Yake, Jen Yakamovitch, Aram Bajakian, Why Choir, and Julia Ulehla. Other elements are continuously added to the installation throughout the tour, including ruffled patchwork fabrics, textile-covered audio gear, and knotted thread ‘curtains’ created from fibre scraps. 

Set in the margins of her former day job, the heart of Barbara’s story is a slow unfolding of kinship with chosen families and human and other-than-human colleagues. The text juxtaposes contrasting rhythms of time and practice, sharing stories from Barbara’s ties to village weaving in Bohemia, the history of time management, and her relationships with an eclectic cast of guides, including an aging horse, a radical mender, and a cutblock near her home in xwesam/Robert’s Creek.

Throughout the project, the installation’s colour palette and timeline are continuously updated to respond to seasonal colour predictions taken from the fashion industry and the cutblock in Barbara’s story. In our climate emergency, these predictions are unstable. The AWSS’ colour palette lags behind the growth and spread of invasive plants, species succession and the damaging effects of prolonged drought on the Sunshine Coast. Likewise, caring for other-than-humans, people and place longs for slow rhythms and repeated attention. Though we may feel we are always running late, the installation focuses on what our small steps could seed, through collaboration, conversation, learning and camaraderie. 

Alongside the AWSS Slow Tour, we have additional opportunities for collaboration:  

Top photo by Paula Vitannen, xwesam/Roberts Creek.Bottom photo by Barbara Adler.