Preston, Julieanna. "Dear Rosa.” IDEA Journal: Design Activism, 2015, pp. 4-13.

 

Dear Rosa revisits a sculptural work titled This is my feminist survival kit previously featured as part of the group exhibition 13.3%... at the WUHO Gallery, Pasadena, California USA (2010). According to curators Jayna Zweiman and Christian Stayner, the exhibition ‘13.3%… borrowed from the conceptual structure of curator Lucy Lippard’s landmark 1973 exhibition of conceptual art, c. 7,500, in which each work on display fit into a standard manila envelope. Lippard’s exhibition contested the belief that there were no women making conceptual art at the time — and she did so by mailing evidence of this work directly to the gallery for display. Nearly forty years later, 13.3%… provides a space and form in which to consider the contributions and visibility of today’s practicing female architects.’ (http://architecture.woodbury.edu/wuho/?p=91)

As a visual essay, Dear Rosa extends the previous work; it operates as a spatial provocateur to the potential of what such a tiny space can hold and incite. The text plays out as a spatial writing exercise in the form of a personal letter. The anticipation generated by a mere glimpse of the matchbox’s interior contents begs questions about the viability of matches - what they can do, if they are dry, who might use them and if matches inhabit the box at all. The matchbox is inhabited by a wad of string, a length of thread, a ball of beeswax, a timber wedge/shim, a needle, a band-aid, a coil of wire, an elastic band, a piece of soap, a paper clip and a coin. Hence, speculation is raised on what such ordinary materials can do – what danger or risk they can activate and what situations they can ameliorate.


 

Read Dear Rosa at IDEA 2014 Design Activism