C7 Tucker: Knots

Arlene Tucker


What are knots? How did we find ourselves in one? How do we get ourselves out of one?
I propose that a knot carries the present, past, and future. In that sense, what part of the knot are we in now? There are many playful approaches one could go about defining knots as an object, feeling, or experience. In this gathering we will use knots as a metaphor, a symbol, and an active part of our meaning-making process as well as process of understanding oneself and each other. We will explore the various fields and perspectives knots live in such as the Peruvian Quipu, knots at sea, non-human animals and knots, and decorative knots. A brief look into the history of the knot will support the making aspect of this gathering.

We will have the opportunity to make our knots and rope that translate our chosen object into a knot. How large is this knot? What does this knot feel like? The knot will be a catalyst to creatively realize our thoughts, feelings, and narratives. Using different materials we will first translate non-tangible states into rope as a process to make our knot. As we unravel, we may find closure. As we tangle, bonds could either dissipate or tighten. If possible, I welcome people to Bokvillan in Helsinki to make a plush version of their knot. There are sewing machines free for all to use. This seminar can take place online and/or in real life and depending on the time available, I can develop an experience that best fits the group.

Since 2019 MIELI Suomen Mielenterveys ry has been supporting Knot series, open art workshops which use knots as the grounds for dialogue and discovery of our inner and outer worlds. As my research deepens I have extended my sources to my invaluable correspondence with Des Pawson, an expert in knot tying, the book ‘History and Science of Knots’ (edited by J C Turner and P van de Griend), and the article ‘Knot Tying in Great Apes. Etho-ethnology of an ‘Unusual Tool Behavior’ by Chris Herzfeld and Dominique Lestel.