Two photographs from the Human Resources Gallery exhibition Frau Fiber Vs. the Machines
Thursday June 7th-24th
The works in this exhibition document Frau Fiber’s on-going battle with contemporary apparel manufacturing. In video, photography and artifacts, the exhibition makes space to witness Frau Fiber’s attempt to spin yarn, knit a tube sock and knit a sweater as fast as a machine. This series of textile productions are inspired by the folk lore of the ultimate working-class hero: John Henry. Henry, who was immortalized in verse and myth in the 1800’s, fought and lost a valiant battle against the drill machine that took his life and ultimately replaced the jobs of tireless railroad workers.
The exhibition is curated by Frau Fiber’s archivist and biographer, Carole Frances Lung.
Frau Fiber is a textile super-hero who uses pedagogical, material and playful approaches to teach communities about the human cost of mass production and consumption. Many of her spirited durational performances and other projects take place at Frau Fiber’s store-front headquarters in downtown Long Beach, CA, called the Institute for Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms(ILGWU). Her legacy project is the Sewing Rebellion, a national campaign to “STOP SHOPPING AND START SEWING!”. The Rebellion is a grass roots movement that empowers people through skill-sharing, facilitates community building, and advocates for social change. The Rebellion connects participants to the history of “thrift and reuse circles” and “quilting bees,” organizing people to come together to share resources, talk politics, and promote change in the fashion and textile industry. Sewing Rebellions have been hosted in Chicago; New York City; New Orleans; Denver; Sheboygan, WI; Ames, Iowa; San Francisco; Los Angeles; Long Beach, CA; Asheville, NC; Portland, ME; Portland, OR; London, UK; and Weimar Germany.
Carole Frances Lung is an artist and Associate Professor of Fashion Fiber and Materials at California State University, Los Angeles. Through her alter ego Frau Fiber, Carole advocates for an alternative vocabulary of fashion and textile production and consumption, one that is less wasteful and has fair labor practices. Frau Fiber’s works crafting of one of a kind garments, installations, performances, and social sculpture pay homage to textile and apparel manufacturing histories andcritique contemporary production systems. Her slow durational practice of careful listening, problem solving, skill sharing and community building engages in hands-on experiences, which attempt to instigate change in the current Fast Fashion system. Frau Fiber’s performances have been exhibited at Craft in America Study Center, Jane Addams Hull House Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum, Center for Craft Creativity and Design, Museum of Contemporary Craft, OTIS College of Art and Design, Appalachian State University and the Ghetto Biennale Port Au Prince Haiti. Publications include: KCET, Surface Design Journal, American Craft Council: Shaping the Future of Craft, Art in America, and Art Papers. She has lectured at Bauhaus University in Weimar Germany, The School of Art and Design Oslo, Norway, Arrowmont and Haystack Mountain School of Craft. Carole has been awarded: Kohler Arts and Industry Residency, Craft Creativity and Design Center Grant, At the Edge Gallery 400 award and Fred A. Hillbruner Artist Book Fellowship, and Faculty Fellow for the Public Good. Carole maintains the Institute for Labor Generosity Workers and Uniforms, Frau Fiber’s headquarters and experimental factory in downtown Long Beach, CA. "