{ mending }


They are wires that hold us up, wires that strangle us
Like webs they run between you and me (..)
Puppets hanging from threads that our hands pull
That knot themselves and sometimes escape
Threads of conversations lost and then resumed without ever coming to an end
Dark red threads that embroider indecipherable coded messages
That tie your docile wrists to simple memories (..)
Lost in the same labyrinth we follow a ball of yarn
But the thread we chase is the same one
And one day we’ll run through the finish line together
And we will finally be without threads between us
Impatient kite leashes tugging at each other
To break free and get lost and chase each other in the wind [1]

Mending is a common, basic action that has lost ground in contemporary times more used to the disposable. It can refer to sewing, but also to patching, with any available material, relying on one’s own resources, referring to one’s limits. It is a provisional, but very personal, creative and unconventional action. It does not refer to a professional skill, but rather to an immediate and compelling need, a DIY attitude and a capacity of resistance.
When I think of mending as sewing, I think of the repetitiveness of the gestures; of the constancy and slowness that characterize this ancestral practice; of the patience that allows, from thin and apparently weak threads, to strengthen, create and transform. But it also means repairing, reconnecting something torn. Mending relationships. Taking a step back, rethinking, looking from another perspective, revisiting. It has a healing power on the one hand, and subversive potentiality on the other: it is the possibility to self-manufacture, to be able to create and change the shape of predefined situations. It is joining elements, systems and objects that were disconnected. Threads and connections as a possibility to network, to connect people, places and realities that share similar histories without even knowing it.
Thinking about a decolonial practice, the act of mending recalls a domestic process yet takes it to a different level, going beyond the intimate and the private to connect, and indeed to tie up with, the public and the collective. Networking, connecting thoughts and experiences. A collective ritual amplifies its soothing potential by sharing difficulties. Looking at the colonial as a systemic network of repeated violence and injustice, weaving relationships is a transversal, continuous and necessary act of daily resistance.


[1] Frankie HI-NRG, from the song Fili (album: La morte dei miracoli, Sony Music, 1997)


Laura Fiorio