Hand-printed texts on fabric strips
In ‘The Empathy Exams’ author Leslie Jamison reflects upon her experience as an actor playing a patient for medical professionals-in-training. Working from a script she performs the ailments corresponding to her character’s backstory, cryptically conveying her symptoms. It is up to the student examiners to make a diagnosis, and to provide care with special attention paid to “checklist item 31—voiced empathy.” Parallel to this acting scenario, Jamison recounts her experiences as an actual patient in the medical system: the times when she felt empathy as well as the times when it was lacking.
How can we train ourselves to feel what others feel? How might we (re)consider empathy toward the more-than-human world? What exams can we conduct ourselves? What interspecies gestures are we capable of making?
‘Suggested for You’ is a project by Sandra Kosorotova and Erik Martinson that seeks to broaden our collective capacity for empathy toward plants/fungi in particular. Participants are invited to sign up to receive a free hand-printed text on a strip of (non-violent) silk posted to their address. The texts are unknown to the receiver beforehand, and are intended as informal prompts, or analog algorithmic suggestions for personal reflection/action. In the spirit of zero waste, the fabric strips are sourced from offcuts, and Sandra’s techniques of plant-based textile dyeing are implemented. There are many potential uses for the text/fabric strips, ranging from bookmarks to wall hangings to charms for plants (they can be left outside as they will eventually biodegrade). The text/fabric strips will be made to order; all participants will be notified after the last mailout and are encouraged at that time to visit the website to read all of the texts sent out to other recipients. Together these texts form a record/bibliography, a thread of research that will continue to grow and accrue slowly in future projects.
After all of the fabric strips are sent, a compendium of all the texts will appear here for further reading.
Sandra Kosorotova (Estonia) is a Tallinn-based artist and designer. In 2016 she graduated from Fashion Design MA program at the Estonian Academy of Arts and was awarded the Young Applied Artist Prize by the academy the same year. She also holds a BA degree from the Graphic Design department from the same institution. From 2013 to 2016 Kosorotova co-led the NGO New Russian Culture in Estonia, established to create links between Estonian and Russian speaking communities through cultural events. Currently she is co-running an open garden near Narva Art Residence in Narva, Estonia. Her textile and text-based practice can be located in between the margins of art, design and activism. Most of her artworks act as such only in the exhibition spaces; otherwise they function as wearable clothes, accessories and interior textiles.
Erik Martinson (Canada/Latvia) is an independent curator and writer. Recent projects include: ‘Portal Atop a Bus Stop’ at Contemporary Art Centre (CAC), Vilnius; ‘pontypool-txt-advntr-sim.net’ (with Gailė Pranckūnaitė) at Cosmos Carl – Platform Parasite; ‘Tell me about the ones who sleep through storms: Films and Videos from the Baltics’ at Toronto International Film Festival’s Wavelengths Series; ‘Its origins are indeterminate’ at Whitechapel Gallery and Close-up Film Centre, London; ‘Resistance’ at Process Experimental Film Festival, Riga; texts on Ben Burgis and Ksenia Pedan / Klara Lidén / Augustas Serapinas for Baltic Triennial 13: Give Up the Ghost Catalogue, CAC/CURA; ‘The Surface of the Sun’ at Contemporary Art Museum of Estonia (EKKM), Tallinn; ‘The Hundred Programmes’ (on Steve Reinke) for 5th Anniversary Publication, Rupert, Vilnius; ‘Self Does Not Understand’ at Cubitt, London; ‘Almost No Memory’ at Baltic Analog Lab, Riga; ‘There was a Forest in the Ceiling’ at Rupert, Vilnius; and ‘All Flesh is Grass’ at Kim? Contemporary Art Centre, Riga.