BA Design Degree Show 2021: Aarushi Matiyani, “Stitched Sedition”

This year’s graduating Design students are presenting their outcomes this week, under the title “My Friend, Oh! It’s Been So Long.” The blog continues to give you a peek at the work being showcased. Today, Aarushi Matiyani:

“Stitched Sedition acts as a growing archive on textile, recording district-wide network shutdowns in India. It’s a method of protest that raises awareness about the serious implications of internet shutdowns through performing embroidery in public spaces. The word sedition holds a loaded political context in India, with a draconian era law that has put journalists, young activists and artists behind bars for being critical of the government. 

After analysing open source data, I created a visual language with which I’m able to encode parameters such as the district, duration, cause and networks affected of every shutdown into textile. Shutdowns can now be viewed placed next to each other, where patterns begin to emerge. The medium of textile provokes the need for storytelling, requiring the textile to be adorned every time the internet is shut down in a performative act. This is to ensure the shutdowns are contextualised beyond data parameters, and enables amplification of the voices of people living in these blackouts that are being excluded from mainstream media.

Beyond acting as an archive, I am performing a protest that can be unfurled at various heights, and is fully foldable. It’s scale and mobility was designed keeping in mind public spaces, which enables more people to join in the embroidery. The protest is collaborative, conversational and can be performed in a group.

I hope that my scroll of cloth turns plain black at the soonest as shutdowns are outlawed, but until then, I will continue to embroider for as long as internet shutdowns are being implemented.”