The textile recycling plant was about a 40minute bus journey through some beautiful forest and less beautiful bits of the city. It was housed in a large, leaky, corrugated iron barn, and although it was a warmish day, it was cold inside. The workers were very busy, we tried to keep out of their way as they sorted and moved the clothing; collecting it together by fabric type and garment type, depending, and piling it into tonne bags.
I found the place fascinating and depressing. There were so many perfect clothes there, and it was such a small proportion of those discarded in Hong Kong monthly – most are sent to landfill. They were busy clearing out the plant as they were approaching their busy period – Chinese New Year – when people tend to have a spring clean.
The two found jumpers I took from the plant embody use and waste, and various forms of breakage. The outer woollen jumper has small holes – material breakage demonstrating wear and tear; the inner (in perfect condition) is mixed fibre – a design decision that could be considered a breakage.
By adding my jumbled, fragmented thoughts to the jumpers, patching the outers holes by filling it with the inner, I attempt to bring together my thoughts on the trip, on the seen and unseen materials and processes embodied by the jumpers. Merging them shows the blur of fieldwork and interconnectedness of the many problems of personal and universal consumption practices. Hong Kong Jumper assembles damaged, undamaged, pure, mixed, cutting then patching text-lines, covering holes with thoughts and weaving myself into the narrative of the jumpers to record my experience.
First exhibited in Practice Process Play, Chelsea College of Art (March 2014)
Hong Kong Jumper (2014). Found materials (sourced in HK), handwritten and screen printed cotton, cotton thread