T'ai Smith

Mitchell Lecture Series, Fiber & Material Studies
Thursday, February 13, 12:00 p.m.

Sharp Building, 37 S Wabash Ave, Rm 327, Chicago, IL 60603

Judith Raum, still image from "Discussion of material", video, 2019. Bauhaus printed fabrics sample book, Grassi Museum Leipzig.
Focusing on two recent film projects, by artists Judith Raum and Sascha Reichstein, this lecture will retrace the role of textiles in certain conceptual practices since the 1960s. Textiles, in this narrative—photographed and performing, but not (necessarily) materially present—can be understood as tangential media. If geometric tangents suggest a relationship, it is one where lines may touch or meet at a point on other lines or forms, but do not (ordinarily) intersect. Understood as lines in a network or diagram, textile tangents re-draw the inner logic of media. Understood rhetorically, they become figures that provide a divergence, interventions that re-align the discourse between art, societies, and economies. 
T’ai Smith is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver. Author of Bauhaus Weaving Theory: From Feminine Craft to Mode of Design (University of Minnesota Press, 2014), she has lectured internationally on textile media and design in modern art and philosophy. Her writings have appeared in various periodicals, including Art Journal, Grey Room, Texte zur Kunst, Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung, and in catalogues for the Museum of Modern Art, ICA Boston, and Tate Modern. She contributed to Anni Albers, On Weaving: New Expanded Edition (Princeton University Press, 2017). Recipient of several awards and research grants, she has been a Senior Fellow at IKKM in Weimar, Germany, and a Scholar in Residence at the Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies, UBC. She is currently working on two book manuscripts: Fashion After Capital and Textile Media: Tangents in Contemporary Art and Theory.