Today I began to cut up a few balls of string, cutting the strand into various lengths so as to indicate the different lengths of lives. It was interesting how as the pile grew, it had a completely different consistency to a ball of string that had become tangled, having been unravelled, dyed and left in a pile. It seems an obvious point to make but an observation that is nonetheless worth mentioning. It was on the second ball of string that I began to focus on the sound of the scissors and as I cut, I realised what the sound reminded me of – it was the sound of hair being cut. Of course the cutting of hair and the Holocaust have particular and distrurbing overtones, and on the third ball of string, I made a loop several strands thick and cut the lengths that way. In this respect, the thickness of the strings and the action of the scissors trying to cut through the threads became interesting to me.
I thought again of the ideas I have had recently where, three ‘Fates’ would pull tape through a reel to reel recorder. The action of the pulling – a violent action – when applied to the idea of Atropos cutting hair was particularly chilling.
Looking at the ‘string’ work I’ve been doing recently, the work with lines in the camp (railways lines, telegraph wires, barbed wire), threads, tape, Clotho, Lachesis, Atropos and scissors, it’s interesting how the action (potential performance) of the Three Fates can be used in so many different ways when the fabric is changed. Certainly, this whole performance/action is something I want to explore thoroughly over the next few months.