The courtyard, laundry room, and areas for beating carpets are collective facilities in the private sphere of the home. In Stockholm you can find carpet hangers in connection to many apartment blocks even though they are very seldom used nowadays. The act of whipping carpets is an act that aims to get rid of the dirt – the remnants of life. Cleaning is a repetitive work, where something needs to be done over and over again without it producing something new.
The project Piskan ställningen consists of an essay, sound pieces, and sketches in different materials and is divided into three parts; the one who beats, the beater itself, and that which constitutes a stand for the beating. The various associations to the carpet hanger and the carpet beater form the basis of the project that centres around questions concerning repetition and productivity, place and time, the boundary between the public and the domestic sphere, and how dangerous the pursuit of alleged purity, hygiene, science, and light can be. Through text, sound and images, personal and collective memories, and the object's associations regarding reproductive labour, city planning, violence, the welfare project, and childish games are intertwined.
The material also contains other associations to control and power – with the whip as a means of threat and punishment, and an exploration of different forms of emptiness in relation to architecture, social structures, and mental space. Through a younger and an elderly woman's narrative voice, we follow an associative thought chain that interweaves the public, the domestic, and a bodily sphere. The setting is a society where she comes home from work to yet another form of monotonous routines, where cars get burned down, and tables are placed under vases, whilst someone has been digging a hole down in the city.
Through sketches in different materials, I approach the carpet beater by exploring its shape. My attempts to repeat the knots lead to a series of variations on the memory of whips where mistakes constitute the basis of new forms. In the project repetition and variations in sound, text, and drawing becomes another way of approaching repetitive work.
Livia Prawitz is an artist living in Stockholm and educated at Valand Academy. With an interest in the relationship between language and image, body and architecture as well as memory and reproduction she mainly works with sound, text, sculpture, and moving image.
Keywords (exposition): Reproductive labour, The welfare state, Porosity, Repetition, memory, productive/unproductive, monument, public/domestic/bodily space
Visit the exposition in the database Research Catalogue.