AAI TRAILS Collaboration Exhibition
The TRAILS exhibition was made possible by the America Arts Incubator and ZER01. We worked as a collaboration of artists from diverse backgrounds to create an interactive exhibition where viewers can engage and activate artworks via augmented reality where layers within the artwork are unveiled with tech.
The TRAILS exhibition was made possible by the America Arts Incubator and ZER01. Our team was selected for the sustainability project in South Africa in 2020. Collaborating artists include Saaiqa - with a background in visual art, photography and film. Portia Ncwane who comes from the entertainment industry as well as performance art and myself, Jessica Michelle Le Roux, an interdisciplinary visual artist.
We worked to create an interactive exhibition where viewers can engage and activate artworks via augmented reality where layers within the artwork are unveiled with tech. The multidisciplinary exhibition includes archival limited edition photography, original ink and pastel drawings as well as a performance piece showcasing on a projector in the media gallery.
TRAILS EXHIBITION STATEMENT
The systems and institutional structures that held our world together are crumbling all around us. In 2020, COVID has drawn the curtain back, revealing the undeniable truth - of the shortfalls of our convenient lifestyles and the need to construct and forge a new way of existing.
Globally we are witnessing the urgent appeal to transform our societies and industries: to be more inclusive, confront racism in all forms, to elevate those previously cast to the fringe of society, advance access to medical care and education and to actively deal with climate change – to name a few.
With globalisation, influencer and celebrity culture fuelling the way we consume; it is more important now more than ever, to begin to critically engage with these capitalist systems. These systems are firstly selling us sub-standard products and touting that materiality is the basis of happiness but also, violating workers’ rights, exacerbating the climate crisis and polluting and wasting natural resources with astronomical ricochet implications.
Fast-fashion brands and companies do not design their clothing to last. Their models of production are largely unsustainable and are driven by mass production with poor quality of materials. With manufacturing being facilitated often by the exploitation of (mostly female) labourers who face manipulation, intimidation, poor working conditions in dangerous buildings being compensated with meagre wages.
More than 60% of fabric fibres are synthetics, made from fossil fuels – meaning if and when our clothing ends up in landfills (85% of all textiles end up here) across the world which will never decay.
According to studies, the fashion industry contributes to 10% of global carbon emissions, is the second-biggest consumer of the world’s water supply, while polluting the oceans and rivers with toxic microplastics and dyes (20% of all industrial water pollution worldwide).
Through our collaborative artistic engagement, we hope to highlight the need for all of us as individuals to have a more mindful way of consumption; specifically within the fashion landscape. As well as to collectively demand reforms in manufacturing systems. And to pursue a “circular- or closed-loop- system” where products are continuously recycled, repurposed and reused to the point where we create a production environment with minimal, if not zero waste.
As individual consumers, we have power, make no mistake – we influence and have a direct impact within the cycle of supply and demand. Our awareness of social and environmental issues and critique of these companies can revolutionise production methods and materials used, ensure ethical labour practices and preserve our environment and biodiversity.
We discover ourselves at a critical crossroads in our collective history. We as individuals and as a global community must not avert our eyes but must witness, raise awareness and take action through mindfulness.
Text by Saaiqa, contributions by Jessica Michelle Le Roux