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Iviva Olenick
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Boerum Hill

ARTIST STATEMENT: I re-contextualize traditional women's handcrafts (weaving, dyeing, embroidery) within our contemporary digital age, translating selfies, tweets and Facebook posts into embroideries and fabric sculptures. As we increasingly rely on technology, I fear a loss of the art of one-on-one, face-to-face, intimate communication. As an antidote, I convey, through stitched drawings, subtle body language, uncomfortable emotion and even awkward positioning of hands, shoulders, jaw line, eyes and eyebrows, compelling a sense of immediacy and intimacy. The texts I embroider are tweet-length poems and stream-of-consciousness musings about the widening gap between intention and behavior online, or what I refer to as "our selfies versus our psyches." My hand-stitched missives are nostalgic mementos mimicking mostly bygone hand-written, snail-mailed letters.

Embroideries are a tangible record of a moment, thought, feeling or event. By contrast, tweets and Instagram pics refresh every second. And while online data may technically exist forever, most online posts leave our personal, social and cultural memories as quickly as they appeared. By embroidering digital ephemera, I question the ways we craft and define identity. I also broach the question of cultural heritage: if so much of our lives are online, and our current forms of media and communication will eventually become obsolete, how will future generations connect with our current era? In the absence of a cultural desire for preservation and an absence of objects to preserve, I craft my own relics.


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Making of the Brooklyn Love Exchange, community based project, 2011

In 2011, with partial funding from the Brooklyn Arts Council, I created an embroidered map of love in the borough, The Brooklyn Love Exchange. Luke Hoorelbeke documented in film my conversations with strangers (and some friends) at the 2011 Dumbo Arts Festival. Strangers generously shared love stories, helping me fill gaps in my Brooklyn love map, to which I added embroidery on site.


647 Fulton Street
Brooklyn, NY 11217


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