Broder La Machine

2019 - 2020
Various sizes
Tapestry embroidery
Presented at

Le monument, le labeur et l’hippocampe | Mulhouse | Sep - Nov 2020

Society is changing. Large parts of manual work were taken over by machines. Many people have lost their jobs as a result or have never had a chance to achieve social growth through decent jobs. The fewer jobs there are, the greater the feeling of powerlessness. Machines determine our lives, international corporations our future.

But there are still things that cannot be produced by machines.  The old technique of tapestry embroidery can only be created by hand. This is where my idea comes in. What happens if we embroider the machines? What does this release in people whose history and identity have been shaped by these machines?  What does it do for people who have no work due to this shift in employment? Or in people who feel powerless in the face of social change?
Can we regain the feeling of control by being able to do something machines can’t?

The Setup

Twenty pictures of machines were printed on Stramin. This can be embroidered with thick tapestry wool without previous training, but it takes time and the will to deal with it. I set up the embroidery frames in public spaces and invited people to work with me.  There was lively participation from the most diverse social strata. The joint embroidery work created a basis for conversations and stories. The workshops where both a place of encounter and productive work.

This new creation of the machines was taking place voluntarily and unpaid in many hours. Thanks to all the participants.

Video Tutorial
Tanja Boukal has created a tutorial to explain the embroidery techniques around her work “Broder La Machine”

TV reports
L’ Alsace: Marathon de broderie au café Tilvist avec Tanja Boukal à Mulhouse (French)
France Télévisions Canal 3, De la broderie collective a la Kunsthalle de Mulhouse (French)

2019-09-27 L´Alsace (PDF): Broderie Babel au café Tilvist
2019-09-18 L´Alsace (PDF): Un atelier ouvert á tous pour broder des conversations mulhouseiennes