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Kettle, AM., 2015.

Map to the Future

Output Type:Artefact
Venue:Marine Technology Centre, Lloyds Register, University of Southampton

The research interrogates stitched decorative textiles and its relationship to modernist architecture, questioning how textiles humanises this specific environment. Subsidiary questions examine the mediation between historic and contemporary sites, innovative machine and digital stitch, use of scale, acoustic absorbancy, and public engagement. The artefact, significantly unique to Kettle in its scale and stitch method, is the single artwork in the new international Marine Technology Centre by the modernist Grimshaw Architects, inaugurated by HRH Princess Anne (2015) as the new Research Centre for Lloyds' Register, UK.

The artefact is the only artwork in Lloyds' extensive art collection, located in the Centre. It is designed to represent LR iconography within this distinctive interior. The fabrication on site extended the relationship of artistic intervention with the building, including a collaborative cross-practice enquiry between Manchester School of Art and Lloyds' Register. This innovative model of making functioned as a public research-in-action project where stitch mediated the human presence, creating interdisciplinary dialogue between stitch, architecture and marine engineering. The textile was designed to function as an acoustic soft surface. Digital stitch was developed in association with GS (UK) Ltd, Nottingham to fabricate durable, detailed, stitched artefacts on a monumental scale.

This artistic programme built on prior research (2007) for 'Looking Forwards to the Past', cited as a model of good practice in research by Templeton, A. (2017) 'Art and the Interior: an examination of contemporary interdisciplinary practice'. It was subject of Kettle's keynote ' Walls. Cloth and Thread', Textile Society Conference (2015), and published paper 'The Story of Stitch', Textile Society of America Conference (2016).

The artefact extends prior research on architectural textiles, into a determinedly modernist aesthetic, realizing a juxtaposition of oppositional forms. This research critically places the project in current discourse on textiles within a dynamic, communicative, relationship with architectural space.