Wonder and Dread explores the politics and morality of the textile industry through time, and how this industry affects and connects people across continents.
Based on a residency at Bradford Industrial Museum, Alke Schmidt situates local stories from Bradford’s wool industry in a global context, linking its industrial heritage with the present and where our clothes are made now.
Stories range from English wool weavers’ violent campaign against imported Indian cottons in the early 18th century to work at a Bradford scouring plant today. The disastrous collapse of the Rana Plaza textile factory building in Bangladesh in 2013 finds an uncanny echo in the collapse of Bradford’s Newlands Mill in 1882. Elsewhere, Schmidt investigates the historic textile trade between England and Peru, inspired by a Salts Mill sample book from the Museum’s collection.
Each work incorporates a different fabric, chosen for its association with the story being told and combined with painting, stitch or print.