Art Object. The Whipped Cream Whisk (de slagroom klopper)
Maaike Gottschal 2018. Unica.
Ready made with twined alpaca, silk, cotton and and merino threads.
The object is part of the research project: Playing Ping Pong With Kami, 2018
Cleaning object/ Ōnusa
As a tribute to beautiful objects that stay with us for a long time I made my own version of the Ōnusa. The object is made “to dust off” old objects. The cords of the mob have reference to Quipu. Quipus (Quechua: khipu) were a type of cords with knots used by the Incas to convey all kinds of information. For centuries the quipus were a mystery. Until the 1970s, it was believed that quipus were a kind of abacus used to document the accounts and administration of the Inca empire. Subsequently, evidence emerged that quipus also contain much more complex information and are in fact a type of script.
Harae stems from the myth of Susano-o, the brother of the Sun goddess Amaterasu. According to the myth, while Amaterasu was supervising the weaving of the garments of the gods in the pure weaving hall, Susano-o broke through the roof and let fall a heavenly horse which had been flayed. This startled one of her attendants who, in her agitation, accidentally killed herself with the loom’s shuttle. Amaterasu fled to the heavenly cave Amano-Iwato. Susano-o was subsequently expelled from heaven and Amaterasu’s sovereignty resumed. The traditional Shinto purification ritual harae is represented when Susano-o is removed from heaven.
To see things in their true nature (pure), in Japan (and many other countries and cultures as well) cleansing rituals are used to remove all impurities that a person or object has collected. For humans, this can be mental or physical stress. In the case of textile, you can think of smoothing the fabric that is creased. By washing textiles, the threads rejoin the right way. Cleaning is an important ritual in Japan. In addition to getting rid of irregularities, cleaning can be a way of getting to know and study the space or an object. When I tidy up my studio, I pass all the objects in it. Do they have to be there? Are they in the right place? Is there enough open space to create? Cleaning means taking care of all the angles and small details. Rearrange and redefine the space. It is an exercise that clears the mind. For official purification rituals in Shinto, that are used to release energy from objects, a mob-like object; the Ōnusa, is used. As a designer, an artist, I think it’s a lovely idea to use a ritual to reactivate an existing object. Objects are time machines. They have the dreams of their maker in them (past), and (if they have sufficient quality) they evoke ideas for new use (future).