PROJECT FLYING CARPET
“The Flying Carpet Project” is the result of a collaboration between myself, the 5th grade students of the School Les Cometes de Llorenç del Penedes, and a group of local stitchers. Inspired by the myths and the nomadic traditions of my native Kyrgyzstan, I held a workshop where the children were involved in the creation of a felt carpet. The workshop however was not merely a didactic activity but an experience where the children disclosed the location of their magical, real and imaginary places at Cal Figueres and its environs, the farmhouse where the workshop was held. Through careful production (costumes, props and staging), I created a dream-like, magic scenario, where the children were urged to access their inner wizards so as to imbue their work with flying capabilities. The felt pieces made by the children were then sewn together by a group of women from the village to create the flying carpet. In the espai d’Art Les Quintana the precious object was presented alongside a selection of edited material filmed during the workshop as well as the drawings that the children made in response to the question: Where would you go if you had a flying carpet?
Project Flying Carpet Belalcázar, Andalicia, Spain, June 2011:
I came to this village, carrying a precious object on my back: the flying carpet that was made for me by the children of Llorenç del Penedés, Catalunya. I presented it to the 5th graders of Colegio Sor Felipa de la Cruz as an offering, with a plea for another carpet to be made for me as well as the Catalan children. Together, we felted wool in the ancient laundry room, a site no longer used, like the process of making felt from scratch, abandoned practices in our daily lives. As wool slowly transformed into felt, each fiber irreversibly interconnecting with the next, we created a dense substrate that is a metaphor of our society. From this site we entered the intangible space, the space of memories and transformation. Imitating a flock of sheep, bell in their hands, the children steered me through the extraordinary sites of their town’s garment: the church, the cave, the roman bridge, the overview, and of course the castle. I view “Project Flying Carpet” as an attempt to return to seeing, to the collective, to a way of working and living at a slower pace, the pace of a land insect, the sheep, slowly traveling up and down dusty Cañada Reals-thorough, productive and moving forward. The end result of the project was that the two distinct felt carpets made in Catalunya and in Andalucia were exchanged between the two groups of participants.