Making of A Stitch in Time, Dead as a Dodo

The survival of sayings seems to go beyond the extinction of elements mentioned in the sayings themselves. ‘Dead as a dodo’ is still commonly used to refer to lifeless beings, events or ideas, even though the dodo as a bird species has long been extinct. The absence of the bird has not affected the existence of the word that represents it. Perhaps fittingly in this case, as extinction insomuch as it is collective death is the ultimate form of death. In other cases, absence means needlessness and prevents the spread of sayings. ‘En boca cerrada no entran moscas’ is a Spanish saying that literally suggests keeping your mouth shut to stop flies going in and metaphorically advises people to keep quiet. In warm Spanish-speaking climates like that of Venezuela, the abundance of flies gives the saying self-explanatory powers but not so in colder Germany where they surely have other ways of keeping excess verbal expression at bay.

A Stitch in Time is a durational work, combining participatory engagement, collective–making, performance and film. This project ’ draws upon the research of The Open University academics Inma Álvarez and Carlos Montoro’s AHRC-funded Language Acts and Worldmaking project, which focuses on the transformative and pivotal role of language teachers as creative mediators between languages and diverse everyday cultures. The collective stitching was facilitated by the artist Sonia Tuttiett and the whole process at Tate Exchange was captured by filmmaker Marcia Chandra.

Inma and Carlos collaborated with Counterpoints Arts team to design and produce A Stich in Time for Who Are We? Project at Tate Exchange.