Thread Routes

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Thread Routes

Thread Routes 02.jpg

Kimsooja, Thread Routes - Chapter I, film still, 2010
Directed by Kimsooja
Produced by Kimsooja Studio
Cinematography Immanuel Hick
Release date
Running time
16-25 minutes
Country USA
Language multiple

Thread Routes is a 16mm film series by artist Kimsooja.

Kimsooja Korean contemporary artist

Kimsooja is a South Korean, multi-disciplinary conceptual artist based in New York, Paris, and Seoul. She represented Korea for the 24th São Paulo Biennale in 1998 and the 55th Venice Biennale Korean Pavilion in 2013, and participated in more than 30 international biennials and triennials. She has had solo exhibitions at MoMA PS1; Cristal Palace, Reina Sofia; the Vancouver Art Gallery; Kunsthalle Wien; Kunsthalle Bern; Kunstmuseum Lichtenstein; Baltic Center for Contemporary Art, UK; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden; Padliglione d'Arte Contemporanea, Milan; Museum of Contemporary Art Lyon; Museum Kunst Palast, Düsseldorf; Musée d'Art Moderne Saint-Étienne; The National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens; PAC Milan; Daegu Art Museum; ICC Tokyo; CCA Kitakyushu; the Plateau Samsung Museum, Seoul; Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain; Centre Pompidou Metz, France, and most recently National Museum of Contemporary Art (MMCA), Seoul, Korea.

Divided into six chapters, Thread Routes takes place in six different cultural zones around the world. The artist considers her approach to this film as a 'visual poem' and a 'visual anthropology', in that it juxtaposes and presents structural similarities in performative elements of textile culture with the structures in nature, architecture, agriculture and gender relationships in different cultures. [1] [2] These non-descriptive and unnarrative documentary films were conceived after being inspired in Bruges, Belgium, in 2002, by the performative elements of traditional lace making, and the city's architectural structure.

Bruges Municipality in Flemish Community, Belgium

Bruges is the capital and largest city of the province of West Flanders in the Flemish Region of Belgium, in the northwest of the country.

Belgium Federal constitutional monarchy in Western Europe

Belgium, officially the Kingdom of Belgium, is a country in Western Europe. It is bordered by the Netherlands to the north, Germany to the east, Luxembourg to the southeast, France to the southwest, and the North Sea to the northwest. It covers an area of 30,688 square kilometres (11,849 sq mi) and has a population of more than 11.4 million. The capital and largest city is Brussels; other major cities are Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi and Liège.

Bobbin lace lace textile made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread, which are wound on bobbins to manage them

Bobbin lace is a lace textile made by braiding and twisting lengths of thread, which are wound on bobbins to manage them. As the work progresses, the weaving is held in place with pins set in a lace pillow, the placement of the pins usually determined by a pattern or pricking pinned on the pillow.

The first chapter, completed in 2010, explores Peruvian weaving culture, and its tight alignment with its landscapes and historic archeological structures. This piece journeys throughout the country, from the Sacred Valley around Cusco and Machu Picchu to the Taquila Island villages, forming a non-linear timeline of the connection between people and their geographical environment. [3] [4]

Peru republic in South America

Peru, officially the Republic of Peru, is a country in western South America. It is bordered in the north by Ecuador and Colombia, in the east by Brazil, in the southeast by Bolivia, in the south by Chile, and in the west by the Pacific Ocean. Peru is a megadiverse country with habitats ranging from the arid plains of the Pacific coastal region in the west to the peaks of the Andes mountains vertically extending from the north to the southeast of the country to the tropical Amazon Basin rainforest in the east with the Amazon river.

Cusco Place in Peru

Cusco, often spelled Cuzco, is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region and of the Cusco Province. In 2013, the city had a population of 435,114. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft).

Machu Picchu 16th-century Inca site in Peru

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel, located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru, on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru, above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows, which cuts through the Cordillera and originates a canyon with a tropical mountain climate.

Chapter II, which finished filming in the summer of 2011, focused on European lace making actions such as bobbin lace-making from Bruges (Belgium), Lepoglava and Pag (Croatia); industrial lace-making in Calais (France); needle point lace-making by nuns in a monastery in Hvar (Croatia) who use threads from dry aloe leaves; and traditional needlepoint on the small island of Burano (Italy). These scenes are set against representative European architecture such as the Duomo in Milan; the Eiffel Tower in Paris; and the Sedlec Ossuary in Kutna Hora (Czech Republic), which is decorated by human bones and skulls. Local vegetation and flowers overlap with scenes from La Alhambra in Granada (Spain) which, in its detailed and complex decorative Islamic architectural forms, conveys a spatial sensibility and a spiritual dimension that is mirrored in lace-making. The bold, masculine, and power-oriented monumental architectural forms are revealed as similar acts to the delicate, feminine, and ephemeral textile making.

Europe Continent in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere

Europe is a continent located entirely in the Northern Hemisphere and mostly in the Eastern Hemisphere. It is bordered by the Arctic Ocean to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. It comprises the westernmost part of Eurasia.

Lepoglava City in Varaždin, Croatia

Lepoglava is a town in Varaždin County, northern Croatia, located southwest of Varaždin, west of Ivanec and northeast of Krapina.

Pag (town) Town in Zadar, Croatia

Pag is the largest town on the island of Pag, with a population of 2,849 (2011) in the urban core and 3,846 in the entire municipality.

The third chapter (2012) journeys to India and studies the traditions of dyeing, sewing, weaving, embroidery, tattoo and woodblock printing; juxtaposing them with the archeological structures and temporary housing structures of the nomadic communities in Gujara, as well as the Step Well and the Sun Temple in Ahmedabad.

India Country in South Asia

India, also known as the Republic of India, is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh largest country by area and with more than 1.3 billion people, it is the second most populous country and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the northeast; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives, while its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Ahmedabad Metropolis in Gujarat, India

Ahmedabad ( is the largest city and former capital of the Indian state of Gujarat. It is the administrative headquarter of the Ahmadabad district and the seat of the Gujarat High Court. Ahmedabad's population of 5,633,927 makes it the fifth most populous city in India, and the encompassing urban agglomeration population estimated at 6,357,693 is the seventh most populous in India. Ahmadabad is located on the banks of the Sabarmati River, 30 km from the state capital Gandhinagar, which is its twin city.

Most recently, Kimsooja filmed Chapter IV in China, where she encountered the specific weaving, dyeing and garment culture of the Miao minority in the Guizhou, Hainan and Yunnan provinces. These are depicted alongside elaborate silver adornment and paper making, as well as the ancient local housing structures in Fujian, the rice terraces of Yunnan and the landscapes of Guizhou and Hainan. [5]

Miao people ethnic group in China

The Miao is an ethnic group belonging to South China, and is recognized by the government of China as one of the 55 official minority groups. Miao is a Chinese term and does not reflect the self-designations of the component groups of people, which include Hmong, Hmub, Xong (Qo-Xiong), and A-Hmao.

Guizhou Province

Guizhou, is a province of the People's Republic of China located in the southwestern part of the country. Its capital city is Guiyang. Guizhou is a relatively poor and economically undeveloped province, but rich in natural, cultural and environmental resources. Demographically it is one of China's most diverse provinces. Minority groups account for more than 37% of the population.

Hainan Smallest and southernmost province of the Peoples Republic of China

Hainan is the smallest and southernmost province of the People's Republic of China (PRC), consisting of various islands in the South China Sea. Hainan Island, separated from Guangdong's Leizhou Peninsula by the Qiongzhou Strait, is the largest and most populous island under PRC control and makes up the majority of the province.

Currently in preproduction phase, Thread Routes - Chapter V will explore native American textile culture.

The first three chapters were presented at Guggenheim Bilbao between March and July 2015. [6]

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