Memory Threads: 2009

Fondazione Pistoletto, Cittadellarte, Italy

Embroidered stop-motion animation about the textile mill projected upon objects from the mill.

Stills from the projected animation.

Installation View. Threads and old wooden machinery salvaged from the textile mill. The layered image projected on top is the historic (1920) and current image of the same mill that these objects are taken from.

Installation view with projected animation. Top left- animation slide 1 – the figure of one of the mill-workers from 1920 emerges behind the machinery.

Animation slide 50 – current state of textile mill.

Animation slide -300

Animation slide – 890

Animation slide – 1000

Participants carry the projection on them as they walk through, becoming a visible/ invisible part of the history.

Projected view of Animation Slide – 950

Viewers walk in. Their shadows integrate with the projected space and the historic figures in it.

Installation Detail. Threads.


Projected Animation Slide – 650.

Drawings, photographs and woven pieces referencing these abandoned mills were also displayed separately.

Getting the objects out of the actual mill.

Project Description: The animation of the image of the textile mill in 1920 created stitch by stitch over the current image. It was projected onto the fabric, threads and old wooden machinery salvaged from the actual mill

Read more about this project

Loading Slideshow...


Biella – a city with renouned textile industries – has been on the verge of economic disaster, since the textile production moved to China. At Cittadellarte, Sumakshi Singh has been photographing and collecting physical debris from several textile mills, once prosperous but now in a state of abandonment and disarray. Her installation displays several parts of old wooden machines collected from one such textile mill, that have been polished and restored. These symbolic containers of Biella’s past, now rendered useless over time, are displayed as if functional, in the Cittadellarte room that was once, also a part of a textile mill. Projected on the wall behind and the white fabric weaving in and out of these machine parts is an image of the textile mill in its current state of devastation with weeds growing through fractured remains of old architecture and machines. The image transforms slowly as the artist juxtaposes over it a skeletal, white image of this textile mill taken from exactly the same spot in 1920. Figures, machines, spools of thread, fabric and architecture from the past appear and slowly disappear, in the form of an animation, generated by the artist, sewing with white thread, stitch by stitch the image of the past on top of the present, using the process and the materials of the textile mills (thread and fabric). Often seen pulled by a needle or the artist’s hand the thread cleary reveals itself as a dynamic material that flops, loops, tigthens as well as takes on the role of forming a contour for the image. Her project collapses layers of the past and present, functional and dysfunctional, the real and virtual.”