Review of Schiporst’s “Tendrils”

Review of Schiporst’s “Tendrils”

Thecla Schiporst’s “Tendrils” is a captivating work of art I observed at the Code Live 2 display at the Emily Carr University of Art and Design on Granville Island.  The display ran from February 4th to February 21st, and featured an array of fascinating dress designs.  While the other works at the display exhibited artistic distinction and creativity, there was something particularly touching about Schiporst’s “Tendrils” appearance.  The purple dress is composed of a shiny material which makes it stand out under the bright lights of the exhibition.  Moreover, the bright multicoloured leaves and pipes attached to the dress made its visually captivating.

Indeed, the unusual appearance of the multicoloured pipes and tendrils trailing from the purple dress forced me to imagine the various ways in which we now find ourselves trailing wires, whether literal or virtual, in our daily lives.  I found myself mesmerized by the visual significance of the dress being contained by its array of tendrils; unlike most dresses which display an air of mobility, I saw quite the opposite with this dress.  The dress was effectively connected to the wall by the tendrils, which would prevent anyone wearing it from having freedom of movement.  This lack of freedom seemed highly significant for me, and caused me to ponder the deeper meaning.  Moreover, the accompanying touch screen permitted me to create some responses in the dress which were interesting, and indeed did create a digital link to the dress which is representative of the virtual world of communications in which we live.

After a careful appraisal of the dress, it seemed to represent the imprisoned existence of people who find themselves living in a world ruled by wireless technologies.  However, the imagery shows the very real sense of containment caused by people’s addiction to digital, wireless technologies such as cell phones and computers.  Although wireless connections might be invisible in nature, they do effectively chain people to the their communications contacts.  In this way, the artist has managed to use dress design as an expose of the debilitating effect that modern technology is having on the relative freedom in people’s lives.

The fact that the dress is attached to the wall by the tendrils, which serve as cumbersome padded chains, shows the extent to which the quality of people’s lives are being both complicated and inconvenienced by so-called technological aids.  Just the thought about a woman trying to wear this garment serves as a stern reminder to those who have the misguided impression that technology has increased our freedom.  Indeed, since seeing this interactive display I recognize just how much my cellphone imprisons me each time it rings.  Electronic touch signals connected me to the dress in much the same way that a telephone call could connect me to a phone’s owner.

Overall, I feel moved by the visual effect and symbolism of Schiporst’s “Tendrils.”  Not only did I find it a creative and attractive piece of art, it has helped to alter my consciousness of modern technology, and its effect on my daily life.  Any piece of art which provokes deep thoughts about the nature of society is valuable in my estimation.


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