O, Miami continues its guerrilla-style tactics, making sure every Dade resident encounters a poem during April. This time, the festival has paired with Miami artist Agustina Woodgate. The Argentina-born creative is revered for her teddy bear rugs -- furry tapestries constructed from the pelts of plush toys -- as well as for her recent performance and photo series, Growing Up.
For O, Miami, Woodgate continues her exploration of memories rooted in the material world with a series of renegade poetry tags. In short, she and cohorts will furtively sew verse into select garments at Miami thrift stores. We spoke with Woodgate, who's busy opening her solo show at Spinello this month, about the whys and hows of her O, Miami collaboration.
New Times: What kind of verse are you including? How did you decide which poetry to use?
Agustina Woodgate: The process of choosing the poems was a collaboration between O Miami creators, Scott, Peter, and me. They have all these collections of poems and I have a collection of tags and labels so after a few nice conversations over coffees and lunches both things came together. We produced two embroidery labels that will read:
Life is a huge dream
why work so hard?
Even the sun-clouds this morning
cannot manage such skirts
How do the poetry tags fit in with the rest of your work?
I am interested in collaborations. I work with different groups of people from various backgrounds and disciplines. I intend to work inclusively and socially, finding new access points for communication to create public, intensive, and process-oriented works. Places and objects are alive; we make them alive and they tell our stories and tales. Sewing poems in clothes in a way is giving the garments a voice.
We are in relation -- with others, with things, with the world. This being-in-relation is a way of perceiving, a mode of moving, a narrative of global truths designed by cultural fictions. The peripheries and surplus notions of stories of what we do are integrated, involved, inclusive, and always in-process.
Sewing poems in clothes is a way of bringing poetry to everyday life just by displacing it, by removing it from a paper to integrate it and fuse it with our lives. Sometimes little details are stronger when they are separated from where they are expected to be. I am interested in notions of memory and lineages because our past is part of who we are today, but I am very interest in our present as well as proposing a possible future.
Which stores will have clothing with your poetry tags? Are the items actually for sale?
Together with a group of friends we are planning to sew as many poems as we can in a clandestine way in thrift stores. The idea is to sew the poems in clothes that have been out in the world. The items will be specifically chosen, intervened and then placed back in the hanger. The idea is to generate a surprise for the future buyer. Read the brand of your new suit and next to it find a little message.
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Together with the girls from Lotus we will be sewing the poems in their thrift store and also, I will be providing sewing labels services during selected O Miami festival events.
Have any favorite poets or poems?
I like Edgar Allan Poe and Borges poems, and O Miami has introduced me to Li Po and Silvia Plath, which I now carry around in my purse.