Gina Lee Robbins
19 Under 18
weaving yarn, metallic thread, CDC underlying cause of death data: 2000-2018
variable installation, 19 strands of knots, varying in length from 72-144 in. and diameter up to 2 in.
Despite the pandemic lockdown, as summer bloomed in Chicago I watched the weekend tallies of death by gunfire headline in my news feed. The media seemed to focus especially on the very youngest casualties of this violence.
I had a good supply of green and white weaving yarn, and after unraveling the skeins, I began making simple, tight slip knots in bundles of 200 strands. I consulted the historic data on death by gunfire in Cook County, and continued this meditative knotting, snipping the length when I’d accounted for the victims under the age of 18 for a given year. I began with 2018, and went back year by year until I’d used up over 800 feet of yarn. I got through the year 2000, and completed 1123 knots. Oddly, this time period covers the childhood of my eldest son.
I subsequently staged several spontaneous installations of the work, in various locations around Chicago, where a child or teenager might be seen….at bus stops, in parks and playgrounds, on street corners or church steps and in the forest preserve.
© Gina Lee Robbins