If You Don’t Owe Somebody is what I call a woven documentary, an ongoing participatory project that started late 2020.The participants in 2022 were asked to reflect on their experiences with debt: from childhood memories, to current struggles, to impacts federal funding has in their life, such as student loan forbearance and the monthly child care tax credit. Once the responses were collected, and with the help of my collaborator, they were composed into an audio narrative and then manually woven into cloth using a TC2 loom. The project to date has over 40 participants from cities across the United States such as Seattle, Boston, Kansas City, Lansing, and New York, as well as multiple countries such as Colombia, Netherlands, and the UK.
If You Don’t Owe Somebody 2022 was made possible in part by Praxis Digital Weaving residency in Cleveland, Ohio. The project was recently published in Everybody Press Review Issue 2 and will travel back to Cleveland in June 2023 to be part of their first “Praxis and Practice: a digital weaving conference”. This project is ongoing, for more information, or inquiries to participate in future chapters please visit www.elizabethshoby.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Elizabeth Shoby is currently based in the Bronx, New York. In 2021 she completed her MFA degree at Cranbrook Academy of Art. As both an artist and a worker, her studio practice is one that exposes our relationship to work. She questions work’s centrality and specifically its intrinsic interconnection to indebtedness. As a domestic worker, her own livelihood is dependent on someone else’s disposable income. This dependency and class disparity drives her participatory art practice to expose a more communal struggle of work and debt. Her projects aim to give notice. Notice to: our devotion to hard work, our adherence to a system of perpetual debt, art’s manufactured divide from work, and the necessity for collectivism.
© Elizabeth Shoby