2021

Pattern for Survival System (1). 2020. Flame-resistant aramid fabric, embroidery thread, waterproof seam sealing tape, aluminum, 40 x 18 x 3 inches. 
Detail: Pattern for Survival System (1)
Detail: Pattern for Survival System (1)

Preservation Units
Erika Ceruzzi
September 11 - September 30, 2021

There is a sign in a wholesale garment district where the letters are wearing off describing a purpose that is no longer useful to society. The text became an image, the image became a form, the forms chopped and altered became a repeating motif. This formula of endless sampling and manipulation generates the primary visual material in Ceruzzi’s work. Symbols and arrows are a language without words, an escape route from constant digital connectivity.

Life preservation units, parachutes, military samples tested and destroyed are artifacts of engineering, product development, and survival technology streamlined for conditions of war. Sourced from a factory in Trenton NJ, LPUs that fail safety testing become textile waste, blank material. Define survival as a constant exit strategy. Exit the fallout of precarious technology, broken trust in machines, economic downfall, a state of panic.

Working in contemporary textile embroidery means interfacing with the militarized consumption of desire. Hype craft consumer economics, allegiance packaged in a 5-panel hat, waiting in line for the coveted item, clicking fast enough to catch the limited release. An alliance to group identity situated in individualism. Computerized machines primarily manufacture these objects of desire for various levels of cult obsession. Existential disappointments of chasing and consuming leave one yearning for a way out. Ceruzzi’s formations disturb the cycle of rapid reproduction.

Lack of “work” meant working on personal work again. Everything going “quiet” meant being alone with thoughts that were overbearingly loud. How to drown it out, how to release that energy. The overload of tasks never went away. The staying busy of loneliness. Chaos became desirable. The intense loudness and repetition of machines provide solace as non verbal conversation, preserved as a still frame, extracted from the factory setting.
-Emma Burgess-Olson

Photography by Patrick Woodling