During Sam Belinfante’s residency with fabric manufacturers Panaz, he investigated Moire patterns and the optical effects induced through the movements of sheer fabrics. These textiles have the capacity to conjure illusion and narrative; to speak through, and from within, the warp and weft.
I See a Voice was been created using Connect sheer fabrics from the Panaz range, usually used at windows to create privacy or zoned areas. The manufacturer facilitated visits to textile mill partners, including a night sound recording at DHJ Weisters, capturing the moment each loom was turned off at a shift’s end.
Belinfante learnt of ‘Mee-mawing’ from Panaz – a form of exaggerated speech and mime that allowed weavers to communicate over the cacophony of noise at the mills – and became interested in the tapestry of stories that can be told through the surface of materials. The possibilities of seeing a voice is a fundamental element of the artist’s work, and builds on research into Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream while in residence at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. During the play, one of the characters, the weaver Nick Bottom, repeatedly confuses sensory language and experience, claiming, ‘I See A Voice’.
Belinfante’s installation perforated the dividing walls between language and media, without completely disintegrating the necessary separations. An array of draped and recumbent cloth divided and shaped the space in the striking physical environment and performative experience at The Cotton Exchange.
Music, Sam Belinfante and Scott McLaughlin; Percussion, Eli Keszler and Simon Limbrick; Photography Assistance, Kathryn Faulkner; Typography, Joseph Kohlmaier.
It has been an extraordinary experience to work behind the scenes at Panaz. A particular area of interest has been sheers/gauzes that can play tricks on you in what they reveal/unveil. subtle changes in the light conditions of a space and the viewer’s position can drastically alter the visibility and your understanding of the textile material and the objects/ spaces around it.
Sam Belinfante is an artist living and working in London. Along with filmmaking and photographic work, his practice incorporates curating, sound and performance. Recent exhibitions include On the Heights, Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2017) and This is a Voice at MAAS Sydney and Wellcome Collection, London (2016-17). Recent performances include They Are Waiting for You, with Laure Prouvost and Pierre Droulers at Kaaitheater, Brussels (2019) and Feedback at Palais De Tokyo, Paris (2017). In 2021 Belinfante presented On the Circulation of Blood, a major sculptural and performance commission for Creative Folkestone Triennial.
Panaz is recognised as an industry leader, constantly designing and innovating sustainable, flame-retardant fabrics for the contract interiors market. Panaz supply ready-to-go textile solutions for Hospitality, Healthcare and Workspace design projects, working with artists and designers who push the boundaries of textile design with out-of-the ordinary ideas. With a commitment to caring for the environment, innovations such as EcoTWILL™ – the industry’s first, 100% recycled, contract quality, polyester base cloth – and partnerships with organisations such as the Ribble Rivers Trust cement their status as one of the world’s most environmentally-friendly contract fabric suppliers.