Do Not Fold Spindle or Mutilate

Clare Phelan

‘Do Not Fold Spindle or Mutilate’ presents a series of prints which reference our relationship with technology.

Cultural manifestations of technology often outlast their material use. ‘Do Not Fold Spindle or Mutilate’ is such an example. The phrase was printed on IBM punch card, and became a metaphor for alienation and dehumanisation as part of American 1960’s counterculture.

Clare works directly with nineteenth and early twentieth century coding technology artefacts such as textile jacquards, musical box discs and IBM punch cards. These ‘host’ materials have a presence and a history. Faded and sometimes fragile, often rusted, warped, pungent, ripped and torn, they impact upon the senses and are the ancestors of our digital world.

“I’m interested in the idea of a ‘cultural lag’ in our understanding of advancing technology. It’s easy to feel fear, frustration, and a sense of being left behind, as our lives become increasingly mediated through machines. My work speaks to society’s shift away from manufacturing towards the service, knowledge and information sectors. Obsolescence, loss, and change influence this reflective work.”

About the Artist

Having worked as an Art Therapist for the NHS for many years, Clare returned to education, achieving a distinction in MA Visual Arts from Bradford College. Clare now works from her studio in Holmfirth, West Yorkshire, and at Hot Bed Press in Salford. During 2017 she was shortlisted for the ‘Flourish Award for Excellence in Printmaking’, and was a recipient of the ‘art&’ RAW Talent Award.