Roving Machines and Middlemen

Bothy Stores is delighted to present its first project by artist Corin Sworn and designer Alec Farmer of Trakke for Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art 2016.

Roving Machines & Middlemen investigates Glasgow as a post-industrial town in the context of its culture and legacy. It focuses on communities of shipbuilders and merchant traders, and more recent shifts to economies of service and style, as a departure point for two new commissions. Located within a Gardener’s Bothy in Bellahouston Park the exhibition presents two new products that explore their resonance to tangible artefacts and intangible legacies. The exhibition runs 8-25 April 2016 and is open 10am – 5pm daily at House for an Art Lover, Bellahouston Park, 10 Dumbreck Road, Glasgow, G41 5BW.

Trakke are bag-makers based in SWG3, an old tobacco bond in Glasgow. The building they occupy is a relic of what was once the heart of Imperial trading routes, an intersection of upper-class goods and working-class activity.
Alec Farmer has updated the sailor’s ditty bag as a tool bag with universal application. The ditty was once an important object for any aspiring Sail-maker – The bag itself displayed its owner’s skills, precisely sewn onto a round plan with embroidered embellishments. It also held the tools to enlarge these skills onto a macro, sea-worthy scale. Trakke’s Maker’s Ditty is symbolic of labour as a container of the tools that made it, and a showcase of its craftsmanship and provenance. Its history is specific to its form whilst its uses are transferable. It is a carrier of ideas from one time and place to another.

Corin Sworn, an artist based in Glasgow, is often preoccupied with how images may conceal or reveal their stories beneath, using subjective examinations of historic narratives to draw out the forgotten and unsaid. For Bothy Stores, Sworn weaves her reflections of invisible workforces onto the translucent permanence of a women’s scarf. The object is developed from an idea about a place through the people that inhabited it, animating hidden histories through the actions of the wearer.
The chiffon scarf (caressing or repressing the wearer) is a dichotomous emblem of both domestic labour and public leisure, taking the form of a commodified fragment, or captured still, from a zombie movie Sworn is currently developing. Sworn seeks to pause the film to capture an image that can evoke the complexities intrinsic to hidden labour and spectral capitalism.

These first two products for Bothy Stores are usable objects that are embedded within wider narratives that question their role in time and place. These wider narratives evoke shifts in the production process that demonstrate, describe, and question Glasgow’s industrial legacy. Sworn and Farmer have produced pragmatic and thoughtful signifiers, reminiscent of the stories they illustrate, to be adopted and adapted by their new owners in time.

The project was funded by Glasgow International and Outset Scotland, a philanthropic organisation dedicated to the support of contemporary art. Bothy Stores would like to thank the ARTPARK, Centre for Advanced Textiles, Callum Reid, Kaisa Lassinaro & Alice Rooney.