Pattern of the World

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Susan Stockwell, Pattern of the World, 2000 Click to view larger image Click to view Larger Image

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‘Pattern of the World’ depicts the world on dress making patterns pinned together to form a model of the world that can be altered. Stockwell deliberately chose the Mercator projection for its distorted proportions and central view of Europe. This projection is regarded as a manifestation of notions of dominance and superiority that were used to justify the ruthless claiming of foreign territories during colonial times; Africa is shown as far too small in relation to Europe and North America and appears on Stockwell's map with the sewing instructions "shorten or lengthen here". The map is stained with tea and coffee, important colonial commodities, thereby emphasising economic interests as key motives for the unbridled appropriation and brutal oppression which continue to determine the shape of our world today. By translating the map of the world onto an alterable sewing pattern Stockwell prompts a debate about the establishment and validity of world orders that can be devised, transported or propagated via the map medium.

Collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London UK

Date: 2000

Material: dress making patterns, tea, coffee

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