APPAREIL/

LUCKY

INDEX

LUCKY INDEX is a performance and screening event featuring 27 lucky participants.

“I am Lucky, but I am not lucky". These were Lucky‘s own words as Alexine bumped into her in Karai Basti. Sharmili Akther Lucky is a textile worker, one of the many thousands of essentially invisible women making clothes for consumers across the world.

The LUCKY series started in 2016 with the purchase of 27 t-shirts made in Bangladesh, bought in Berlin from a major global fashion outlet, flown back to Dhaka, signed by Lucky during a starkly theatrical event at the Dhaka Alliance Française.

The 27 highly significant T-shirts returned back to Berlin, to be "redistributed" according to an arbitrary mechanism: 27 participants were chosen according to the alphabetical order.

 

Each contributor weaved a story or posed a question around the Lucky T-shirts, processes which were consigned in an indexed journal of luck.

 

These contributions were shown at the Alliance Françaises of Dhaka, Bangladesh and Madras, India as well as at the Women's University, were, as luck would have it, the contributions were drawn by an innocent hand in the public.

 

MICKAEL FAURE/ NICOLAS MANENTI/ OLGA SONJA THORARENSEN/ PATRICK JAMBON/  PUSHON CHOWDHURY/ QUENTIN/ RONIT TAYAR/ STEFANIE ZUTTER/  THOMAS-JOSEPH JOCHER/ ULRICH VOGL/ VALÉRIE LERAY/ WALTER SCHÖNAUER/ X/ YUKIKO NAGAKURA/ ZOE LACAZE

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PERFORMATIVE LECTURE
AND PARTICIPATORY EVENT
/DHAKA BANGLADESH
ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE 
/MADRAS INDIA
ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE
MADRAS WOMEN'S UNIVERSITY

This event is part of project APPAREIL which focuses on fast fashion and the phenomenon of anonymisation in the global economy and through this multinational industry and the discrepancies it creates in local markets.

Further events and exhibitions are planned in Berlin in 2020.

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Read/ download the LUCKY INDEX and all 27 participations

here

LUCKY THANK YOUS IN ALPHAETICAL ORDER

THANK YOU AMÉLIE SEYDOUX/ BRUNO PLASSE/ BULLET SHISH/ CÉLESTE LINDSAY/ DAVID STAR/ ELISA BERTUZZO/ FRANÇOISE CHANEL/ GÜNTER NEST/ HICHAM KETTAB/ INES PANKRATH/ JÖRG HASHEIDER/ JUDITH LAVAGNA + MARIANNE JACQUOT/ KADI ELLASU/ SHARMILI AKTHER LUCKY/ LUCJIA RAMOTOWSKI-BRUNET/ MARTIN STEFFENS/

ASSEMBLY LINE: the assembly of the Alliance Française mimics the speed of fast-fashion

 

APPAREIL/

SPIN ME

A YARN

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READABLE INSTALLATION
48 STUNDEN NEUKÖLLN
GALERIE AM KÖRNERPARK
JUNE 2018

Read/ download

"Spin Me a Yarn"(English version) 

here

 

The installation

SPIN ME A YARN consists of a cluster of 91 booklets entirely printed on textile 

and suspended in space. 

This first edition of “Spin Me a Yarn” brings together seventy-seven tales on the themes of spinning, weaving and tailoring, the world of textiles and garments in general. This assemblage is followed by “The Seven Tailors of New Cologne” - seven real life stories from seven real alterations-tailors of Neukölln, Berlin. It is preceded by a satirical tale “Seven at One Blow” wich is woven from elements of the folk-tales and the realities of the local tailors and the global fashion industry.

Clothes are our chosen skin, we communicate who we wish to be through them. We are surrounded by textile, textus* from birth to death: we wear it day and night, sit on it, walk on it, eat on it, and get buried in it. We are completely immersed in the world of textile and perhaps this explains the abundance of tales and myth centered around its many components.

The narratives were collected along a route loosely following that of the ancient silk-road. All along this navigation, “Spin Me a Yarn” explores the many subtle variations, versions of truth and fiction depicted through the lexical field of textile.

 

Initially, this work seeked to highlight the contrast between the global fashion industry and the stories local tailors, but in fact, the “true stories” of the seven interviewed tailors  are also stories of migration, of socio-economic conditions.

Fashion has been shifting ruthlessly towards a global industry that only thinks in terms of the highest profit.

The worker is so far away from the consumers, that they are invisible, doubly so: the big brands think only in terms of financial capital - not human capital; and the conusumers have long forgotten that every garment one can buy has been touched and assembled by human hands.

“Spin Me a Yarn” is about the clothes we wear, the people who make them and the world in which they are dumped. It’s about migration, greed, fear, power and poverty. It’s complex in that it extends all the way around the world, that clothing can both be a liar and a revelator, and that “truth” has many versions.

 

THE SINGER is a multimedia installation which tells the story of a textile worker, a woman called Lucky. Lucky was interviewed in the urban settlement of Karai Basti, Dhaka, Bangladesh, in April 2016, during a research study of the condition of textile workers in Bangladesh. 

 

The installation

THE SINGER features a song based on this interview. One hears the beautiful, melodic voice of the Bangla singer, emanating from the darkness of the catacombs, telling us about the life of Lucky - yet we don’t see her - only the Singer sewing machine on which she works. A single voice, a singing sewing machine, sheds a light on the existence of thousands of textile workers in Bangladesh.

APPAREIL/

THE

SINGER

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MULTI MEDIA INSTALLATION
48 STUNDEN NEUKÖLLN
KINDL BRAUEREI KATAKOMBEN
JUNE 2017

LUCKY'S SONG

 

 

hum hum hum hum hum hum humm,

hum hum hum hum hum hum humm

 

Lucky, Lucky is my name, not my fate,

Honestly, I’m not very lucky.

Lucky, Lucky is my name, not my fate,

Honestly, I’m not very lucky.

I work as a stitching operator,

Front part, back part, top seam, sides,  overlocking.

 

We came from Khulna. 

We were very poor. 

Our house was burnt 

We fled to Dhaka, 

Settled in Karai.

We were six children, 

We worked as rag pickers. 

At 10, I joined a garment factory.

I was a kid, they paid almost nothing.  

 

Lucky, Lucky is my name, not my fate,

Honestly, I’m not very lucky.

I work as a stitching operator,

Front part, back part, top seam, sides,  overlocking.

 

I was way too small 

to reach the machine!

I operated

The machine standing.

They sacked me a lot

Because of my age. 

Should any foreign 

Buyer come visit, 

They sent me away on a “holiday “

my presence only ‘n the book of presence. 

 

Lucky, Lucky is my name, not my fate,

Honestly, I’m not very lucky.

I work as a stitching operator,

Front part, back part, top seam, sides,  overlocking.

 

I got married off,

They picked my husband.  

I’d never seen him. 

We got two children.

He married some girl,

just three days before 

my daughter was born.  

He lives with her now. 

Often, our children ask for their father. 

I’ ll never tell them what their father did. 

 

Lucky, Lucky is my name, not my fate,

Honestly, I’m not very lucky.

I work as a stitching operator,

Front part, back part, top seam, sides,  overlocking. 

I asked him to come,

Made his new wife mad. 

I cried: “go to her!” 

My babies suffered, 

I suffered a lot,

working in garments. 

A midwife ‘s nail caused 

a scratch in my womb,

And my operation cost a fortune.  

My mother called my husband, she called him.

Lucky, Lucky is my name, not my fate,

Honestly, I’m not very lucky.

I work as a stitching operator,

Front part, back part, top seam, sides,  overlocking.

He said, “Let her die! 

It’s not my business. “

I took out a loan.

Set up a tea shop, 

Took another loan.

Still owe a fortune. 

Can’t pay my debts

So I am going 

Abroad to Jordan, for am skilled:

My hands are still running, they’re running.

 

Lucky, Lucky is my name, not my fate,

Honestly, I’m not very lucky.

I work as a stitching operator,

Front part, back part, top seam, sides,  overlocking.

 

I love to have fun 

and gossip with friends,

I love Bangla films! 

I love to dress up, 

although I am poor. 

I love cooking too…

I love to have fun .

I love politics!

Today we met, talked about child marriage. 

My plea to parents: Consult your daughter! 

 

Lucky, Lucky is my name, not my fate,

Lucky, Lucky is my name, not my fate,

Honestly, I’m not very lucky.

I work as a stitching operator,

Front part, back part, top seam, sides,  overlocking.

 

I cherish a desire, 

that my dear husband 

comes back some nice day.

I am still waiting, 

Won’t marry ever

Again in this life, 

It’s my promise. 

Always there for him, it’s my wish, my fate 

Always I will wait for him to come back.

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INSTALLATION
48 STUNDEN NEUKÖLLN
HERRNUTER BRUDERGEMEINDE
BERLIN, JUNE 2016

APPAREIL/

SPINNING JENNY 2000

The “Spinning Jenny” is a machine that was invented during the industrial revolution. The device reduced the amount of work needed to produce yarn, with a worker able to work eight or more spools at once. This grew to 120 as technology advanced.

 

SPINNING JENNY 2000: a large volume of white cotton gloves manufactured in Bangladesh are hung as so many pennants on miles and miles of string, reminding one of national holidays and fêtes (Feiertage).

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APPAREIL/

LUCKY DAY

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PERFORMANCE
ALLIANCE FRANÇAISE
AUDITORIUM NOUVELLE VAGUE
DHAKA, BANGLADESH
APRIL 2016

"I am Lucky, but I am not lucky"

These are Lucky's own words, uttered shortly after she bumped into us in the streets of Karai Basti, a self-organized settlement in Dhaka, and began to spin her sad tale, which has been recorded to be rewritten as a "banglawood" (as in Bangla Bollywood) pop song. Lucky is a textile worker, one of the many thousands of invisible women that make our clothes. 

 

Lucky, full name Sharmili Akther Lucky, is the star of this show, in stark contrast to her daily life. Nobody outside Karai Basti, the urban settlement in Dhaka, Bangladesh, knows about her work, existence, or presence, especially not we, the consumers who buy the clothes that she makes. 

Yet on this "LUCKY DAY" she becomes a star and performs for us, signing a H&M t-shirt of the "conscious" range,  made in Bangladesh, bought in Berlin, and flown back here for this event.

She signs this highly significant "article" - an item owned by almost “everyone”, yet made on an industrial scale by thousands of invisible hands belonging to “anyones”, or even to “no-ones”, thousands of kilometres away from the sale shelves - with her name, like an artist, in a starkly theatralised event, thoroughly covered by the press of Dhaka. The T-shirt, signed by Lucky, the artist, and therefore transformed into an artwork of inestimable value, will be brought back to Berlin to be exhibited and redistributed across the globe.

LUCKY DAY opens up a space of negotiation between anonymity and subjectivity. It strives to break the textile chain of anonymity with a single life story, to jumpstart our consciousness, make us aware of the existence of the worker as a persona grata with a life and a personality, problems, hopes, dreams and desires. LUCKY DAY aims at summoning up the presence, away from the consumer’s gaze, of the “makers” of any bought garment available for sale on the western consumer shelves. 

 

Event filmed and edited by Benjamin Busch. 

APPAREIL/

FACTS AND

RESEARCH

APPAREIL/

PROJECT

OVERVIEW