Commissioned for The Handbook of Textile Culture, edited by Janis Jefferies, Diana Wood Conroy and Hazel Clark, Bloomsbury Academic, 2015, pp.169-186.
This chapter explores the impacts of economic globalization on the textile industry, considered in fiber based performance works by American artists Anne Wilson and Mandy Cano Villalobos. It locates globalization within a historical trajectory of industrialization and deindustrialization in an industry that has long been characterized by movement. Globalization is an economic phenomenon, but it is also a social and intersubjective one. The artists under study respond to globalization, Wilson through the deployment of weaving, and Cano Villalobos using hand embroidery. Each artist performs the repetitive motions that textile work requires, to draw attention to the devastating effects of globalization on individuals and communities. Wilson’s projects
Local Industry (Knoxville, Tennessee, 2010) and Walking the Warp Manchester (Manchester, UK, 2012) reflect on the demise of the textile industry in the United States and Britain, the result of increasingly deregulated global trade. Cano Villalobos’s ongoing series of sewing performances, Voces (Voices) explores the violent impact of apparel manufacturing in Mexico, where numerous factories were established as a result of free trade. An analysis of these projects can contribute to a greater understanding of the effects of globalization on the textile industry and on local communities in the North and the South alike.