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A Magic Carpet Offers an Experience of Solidarity

Red crossing Augsburg

An international exhibit exploring the concept of solidarity features the work of two professors from the Stamps School of Art & Design. 

Professor Nick Tobier, Associate Professor Roland Graf, and alumna Jenn Low (MFA 20) originally created Red Crossing for the 2019 Prague Quadrennial. The project is now showing as part of the Who Cares? Rediscovering Solidarity exhibition at the Museum of Textile and Industry in Augsburg, Germany. 

The projects on display at the exhibition examine the roles and forms of social connection in an era of physical distance, emphasizing the importance of solidarity in the public sphere, in particular through the global labor movement of the 19th and 20th centuries through the current challenges of equity, climate change, and the ongoing pandemic. 

Tobier, Graf, and Low created Red Crossing, a unique magic carpet designed to give people a moment of unity as participants hold the carpet for someone to experience. 

Red Crossing is a 75-foot long by 8‑foot wide magic carpet of sorts,” said Tobier. It was originally designed for large public places with lots of people, who individually grab a handle, and then collectively lift. With enough people working together, you can stretch the carpet and create a bouncy surface for people to walk across. But no one just walks… they jump, raise their arms, cartwheel while the holders cheer.”

Tobier says that the experience of collectively holding the carpet has a different emotional resonance when so many of us have been so isolated from one another.” Observing the use of the carpet by people has prompted questions about the type of work taken and how artists and designers can respond in new ways. 

The exhibition continues through February 2022