In 1945, having survived the convulsion of the Second World War, a woman in her mid-30s and her mother move into a state-owned apartment in the heart of a central European city. Here she re-establishes her small dressmaking business. Apart from the turbulent history which plays itself out around her, the woman's life is unexceptional– a repeating pattern of domestic and other duties. But within, she maintains a passionate life of feeling and imagination. After her mother's death, the woman continues to live and work in the apartment for forty more years until her own death following which the place remains unoccupied for several years. The apartment today still bears all traces of her life- furniture, half-made dresses, thimbles, reels of cotton, business records, family photos and books... all much as they were left. (from a programme note for "Apartment in Oktober" by Chris Crickmay and Eva Karczag)
At some point later in time, a large plastic bag with old buttons makes its way from this apartment to me. I actually hardly ever use buttons for the clothes I design, and the buttons have since been stored away in my studio, carefully arranged by colour and size in little transparent envelopes.
For buttoning, Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga and I create an installation with these buttons–their suggested pasts, presents and possible futures. During the exhibition visitors are invited to exchange a button for one of their own.
buttoning is a project about the relationship between individual and object, in this case a button, the stories it may contain and the gestures associated with its use.
Fotini Lazaridou-Hatzigoga (1979, Greece) is an architect and researcher living and working in Berlin. [www.iwishicoulddescribeittoyoubetter.org]