Dien, 2017 - 2019

The project Dien is about the act of dyeing in a contemporary setting, to understand conscious and unconscious processes in our self and our surroundings. The word Dien is an old homograf from middle english, which then meant both to die and to dye. In this project am I lifting the word up as a concept between Bioart, Textile craft and experimental dye practises. A way of deepening our relationship and understanding of the processes we are aware of and in control of, such as a dye recipe, or the ones that feel out of our control such as carbon pollution. Maybe we can say that we are all dying / dyeing ourselves with the trees we plant, the areas we build, the cigarettes we smoke, the chemicals we add into water pipes, the travels we make and the air we all must breathe. What shade do we give?

The Project started during my master years at Konstfack, University of Arts, Craft and design, in Stockholm. The site and ingredients specific nuances plant based and material based dyes made made me think of the act of dye ing as a mapping. Instead of deciding what color I wanted, I focused on urban matter and applied traditional dyeing craft and methods as a way to learn what colors we are living in and creating around ourselves. During a project presentation a fellow student commented on the similarities between the words die and dye in my presentation, saying that it sounded as if I would die with every matter I picked up, hence the research into the word and concept dien started.

Stockholm, my friend, you forgot to wash behind your ears, there is growing moss in the corners. Or is it fine as long as the main part of the facade is clean? Or Stockholm, do you secretly like it dirty? Do you like it green like I do?

The project Dien is research based and through a wandering and ongoing method are different urban environments through stain, dye and cloth. The project has been exhibited and shared in a variety of forms, such as film, workshop, artist talk and installation of collages. However during 2020 I started to revisit the project with the aim to correlate aspects and self developed techniques in my art practice into Dien’s concept of awareness. time and speculative material storytelling. In the project I developed and relocated traditional natural dye techniques from hobby books from around the 1970 into the urban setting of, among other, central Stockholm. By exchanging birch eaves into dropped cigarettebutts, or the posters on a square, or the heather bushes planted by the municipal as a decorative plant during the winter season. The colors and shades in the cloths becomes something more, a trace of a contemporary place that otherwise would remain hidden. The project started in 2017.

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Josefin Tingvall