Bodies on the Line

2013

5 panels, each 40-42 in w x 70-90 in h

Medium: Silk threads dyed with cochineal and iron and hand-stitched on silk organza; text from conversations between myself and other women artists, activists, and scholars

Each panel in Bodies on the Line is embroidered with text selected from conversations with other women activists, artists, and scholars. The conversations revolve around question of what it means to put one’s body on the line today.

This series of panels was made in response to the space of the Art Factory in Patterson, NJ—a town built on the manufacture of silk by a labor force of working-class women. Here, women put their bodies on the line for work, at work, and in defense of better work. Assembly lines and the picket lines: on both, women risk safety in order to claim dignity and power. The same is true of the line we walk down the street—risking safety in order to move autonomously through public space. The women of Patterson’s silk mills may be distant from us in space and time. But women continue to find and put their bodies on the line in all of these senses, in ways that make our relation to them, and other far-off times and places, intimate.