On Nomadic Textile Forms or:

The Aesthetic of Nomadic Textiles

by Birgit Haehnel/Sascha Reichstein

This text focuses on textiles as a medium for nomadic, visual, and haptic language. The artist Sascha Reichstein and the art- and textile-scientist Birgit Haehnel discuss aspects of textile production and circulation, their patterns, as well as their many connections. The dialog format was chosen to make the authors' respective positions visible. Three different works of art by Sascha Reichstein, (Daily Production, Guiding Patterns and Textil/e/xile), form the basis for a comprehensive examination of textiles in the context of exodus, migration, and production. How do local and global links interact through the movement of patterns, bodies, and materials which make visible the interconnection of the world? How do local forms of knowledge communicate with global relationships of modern day textile production? How do patterns, fabrics, and their uses change through movements and connections around the globe?

B.H: The "nomadic" refers to the mobility of people, their things, and their ideas. It is also an inherent property of textile materials themselves. This is what makes the term so interesting in our discussions. In their theories of nomadology, Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari discuss the rhizomatic structures of fabrics. Fabric is bound within its borders, but it can still extend infinitely far either upwards and downwards. Panels of fabric flow in different directions based on their pliability, draping over the body in folds, then spreading out once more over flat surfaces, until they hang, sink down, and are finally rolled up and brought somewhere else. The framework of a woven structure can have holes and breaks – sink marks for the dissolution and re-organization of totally different kinds of constructions. Deleuze and Guattari deliberately emphasize this play of metaphors surrounding textiles. They stand for a flexible, multi-approach way of thinking, which differs from the conventional, binary, and rigid schools of thought in the European tradition. (Deleuze/Guattari, 1992)
Based on its many analogical possibilities, Virginia Gardner Troy defines the textile as the "cross-over medium" (Gardner Troy, 2006). Its strong, bond-creating power outright demands an interdisciplinary approach to the most diverse content-related, practical, and

technical connection points. This rhizomatic, or nomadic, material property means the textile is predestined, as an artistic material, to formulate statements about the many interrelations of the migration process. Textiles are a central part of material daily life for all people, although their roles can differ. A flexible perception of textiles’ qualities and
patterns of meaning helps to understand complex relationships and to overcome assessments that are Euro-centric and gender-discriminatory. For example, needlework has long been, and in the European perspective still is, devalued as a female and pre-modern task. This perspective values that which is defined as men's art, and portrays industrial developments, particularly in contrast to the colonies, as more progressive. (Gardner Troy, 2006)
(The Beginning of the Text...)

Published in in: Handbook of Art Production, Art Theory, and Global Migration; Hg. Birgit Mersmann/ Burcu Dogramaci, De Gruyter, 2017