8 x 5 x 363 + 1
Eight hours of work a day multiplied by
five days of work per week, multiplied by
three hundred and sixty-three workers
plus an artist.
Multi-part project : artist residency, intervention, installation, round table and publication.
With Cittadellarte-Fondazione Pistoletto, Lanificio F.lli Cerruti, and the Camera del lavoro di Biella
Production team: Julia Trolp, coordination assistant and documentation; Sandra Mariotti, technical support; Sara Conforti, graphic design; Anna Cairoli, research assistant and display mounts; Mirko Sabatini, sound editing and installation technician.
When I started this project, the city of Biella (Piedmont)—whose economy and local pride has been closely linked to the wool industry going back to Roman times, apparently—was entering a period of significant crisis because of the effects of globalization on Italy’s textile industry (business relocation, layoffs, lower job security, revision of labour laws).
During an initial residency in Biella at the Cittadellarte-Pistoletto Foundation in 2002, I did a three-week observation internship at Lanificio F.lli Cerruti (Cerruti Brothers Weaving). Lanificio is the Italian term for a factory specialized in wool-based textiles. These factories are characterized by a work chain that includes every stage of wool processing, from its quasi-raw form to the final fabric. Every day I was meeting with factory workers, following their shift and having lunch with them. The fact that they saw me as a “creative” person opened up new topics for conversation. The people seemed to see me as a neutral observer, a person to whom they could open up about their ideals. This initial contact encouraged me to find a way to prolong the experience.