For me, it’s about just sitting in the body and working with the body – with my hands – with material matter, not with ‘ideas’ about the self. This approach comes from my interest in identity and the narratives that make us. It’s an important feature of my work that it is so physical and non-verbal while dealing with subjects like gender identity which have so much language around it.”

- Mark Rautenbach

(u)telling (s)tories concept by Mark Rautenbach was initiated for DISTANCIO in Sweden. An interception is performed on March 21st 2020 in Mother City, Cape Town, South Africa, in Mama Africa, on the (here in the South) Autumn Equinox the same day in Tranås is the Spring Equinox.

Duration: April 1-May 6th, 2020 residency at Kultivera, Tranås

Media: The performance uses craft circles as a methodology and clothing as material. It's performed by visiting artist Mark Rautenbach and craft circle participants

Description: Us affords both a cathartic gesture, the untelling, and a declaration of allegiance to a more responsible and less fear-based way of being. Us uses a collection of actions which alchemise material through philosophical and artistic means; it's a seasonal Spring cleaning.

In English yarn, long twisted lengths of fibres, also means story. For this performance yarn = story and clothing = identity.

Yarn is produced during early Spring, within interior spaces. Spaces where people are relaxed and let their guard down.

Yarn is fashioned from clothing: the panels of a garment are 'filleted' from the seams. This releases the material of identity from what it was defined by. It returns identity to a virtual state. The panel is then cut in such a way as to produce a continuous length; yarn. This yarn is the story the identity is made from.

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(u)ntelling (s)tories’ lineage can be traced to two sets of performances. The first is an action which was developed by 3rd Year Surface Design Students at Cape Peninsula University of Technology in 2014. The action emerged from a brief which asked the 3rd years to develop an action through which 1st Year learners would embody the action of knitting. They would knit through their bodies.
The second [terror]tory explores the fabric of identity as narrative. Identities which are fashioned from stories (yarns). Yarns which can be knitted into various fabrics, identities which can unravel, yarns which can be borrowed, stories which can be swapped
During us performance I established the representation of identity through clothing. That the fabric of identity is made virtual when the panels of a garment are cut away from the seams (filleting). Narratives are represented by yarns (stories). Yarn is fashioned by cutting a continuous length from the filletted panels. Identity = narrative = story = yarn.
(ref video & photograph)