-> Textile book with embroidery and applique on fabrics and masks
-> 18 (w) x 20 (l) x 5 (h) cm
-> Oct-Dec. 2022
-> Published on RISD Museum’s website
The Back Side Story is a textile book/zine that, with brightly colored patch works and embroidery, documents the civilians daily life, sufferings and resilience under the Chinese's government's zero-covid policy.
Inspired by the Arpilleras made in Chile during the military dictatorship (1973–90) of Augusto Pinochet, The Back Side Story acknowledge the values, aesthetics and political power in Chilean arpilleras by visually referencing their styles and textile techniques.
As bottom-up, spontaneous reactions from the civilians to the dictatorial military government, the Chilean arpilleras can be considered as both weapons for fighting for rights, and tools of communication and spreading information. This work hopes to inherit the soft power from arpilleras – a kind of power that is tactile, subtle, voluntary and spontaneous, which gathers the collective intelligence, talents and efforts from the local community. As a point of mobilization, this textile piece might inspire more people, especially those who are currently living under dictatorships, to create more pieces that possess this political power with fabric scraps, needles and threads.
Paragraphs of text are flipped horizontally and embroidered on the front side of masks and fabrics, thus one can only identify the text only when reading from the back side. This intentional action of emcrypting information is an attempt to get away from but also reflect on cencorship.