Awardee: Cat Mazza
Moving Image, 2008
Cat Mazza is an artist whose work combines craft with digital media to explore the overlaps between textiles, technology and labor. Her Creative Capital project Knit for Defense (2012) was acquired by the Smithsonian American Art Museum. She is the founder of microRevolt, a web-based project that hosts the freeware knitPro. Mazza has received support from the Rockefeller Foundation in Media Arts, MacDowell Colony and the Craft Research Fund. She has exhibited internationally at the Triennale di Milano, Dundee Contemporary Art Centre, the Jönköpings läns Museum and in the US at the NYC Museum of Arts and Design and Milwaukee Art Museum. She has also exhibited at new media festivals The Influencers (Barcelona), Futuresonic (Manchester), FILE (São Paulo) and Ars Electronica (Linz) and lectured at institutions such as School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Harvard University, MICA and the California College of the Arts. She received her MFA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (2005), a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University (1999) and is currently Associate Professor of Art at UMass, Boston.
Project: Knit for Defense
Knit for Defense (2012) is an animation at the intersection of craft, labor and combat, exploring the aesthetics of war in film through an experimental visualization of knit stitches. Knitting garments for combat troops was popularized during World War II as a domestic effort, which activated knitting circles into a feminized labor force. Knit for Defense is created from archival footage and historical artifacts, sounds from knitting machines and textile processes, threading together footage from World War II, Vietnam and the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, when wartime knitting was in practice. Knit motifs of tanks, planes, ships and drones animate a cinema of combat, reflecting on war from a pixelated distance. The sound designer for this project is Jesse Stiles.