Till startsida
To content Read more about how we use cookies on gu.se

Events on the Surface


Thomas Laurien


Event on the Surface - Shibori as Knowledge-Forming Motion

Dissertation in design, HDK - Academy of Design and Crafts, 2016



In present times, shibori, though originally a Japanese word, is an international umbrella term for craft techniques related to the dyeing of textiles. In an artistic context, shibori signifes the act of (e)laborating by way of compressions – in order to create patterning and/or three dimensionality.

In and through a practice-based artistic research project, the question: What is shibori, and what does shibori do? acts as my guide, where the initial focus is on the introduction and development of shibori as an artistic practice in a Swedish context. Here, Japan takes on a main role, albeit in the form of a backdrop – subtly but noticeably in uencing the events being staged.

Shibori comes to take the shape of a vehicle, and I, the researcher, have set the vehicle and myself in a knowledge-forming motion, where interviews are conducted with artists in Sweden, courses in shibori are observed and taken part in, group shows are performed in Japan and Sweden, as well as addressed through the written work that comes into being. Curatorial experiences are also re ected upon in a number of closely-connected essays. A space, in the format of an essay, is created as part of the nal stage – where shibori meets concepts such as wonder, affect and sensation, and where questions on the role and impact of discursive language in art-making and art experience are raised.

Answers to the research question “What is shibori, and what does shibori do?” gradually surface and highlight an abundance of aspects and insights. These include: discovering that artists approach shibori in independent ways, whilst still safeguarding Japanese material and immaterial cultural heritage; shibori becoming a space of possibles, characterised by the presence of strong intention and the appreciation of chance, side-by-side, in mutual interaction; and curatorial experience acting to highlight shibori in its role to enhance the experience of plenitude. Shibori thus comes to signify the forming, as well as the experiencing, of knowledge – in motion between theory and practice – where broader issues, such as the construction of identity, the creation of acting spaces through performative negotiations, as well as curating as both an artistic research method and an artistic act of making, are also revealed.

Beholding and re ecting, I perceive that the envisioning and staging of Events on the Surface have enabled, and continue to enable me, in my quest to find a way into the conceptual, bodily and material constituents of shibori-making, in particular, and artistic practice, in general.

This is thesis no 56 in the ArtMonitor dissertation series.

ISBN: 978-91-982422-8-7 (print version)
ISBN: 978-91-982422-9-4 (digital version)


This dissertation is in Swedish.

Order the dissertation:

Read how to order here.


The dissertation is e-published in GUPEA - Gothenburg University Publications Electronic Archive. Download the dissertation.

Page Manager: Pia Ahnlund|Last update: 8/29/2016

The University of Gothenburg uses cookies to provide you with the best possible user experience. By continuing on this website, you approve of our use of cookies.  What are cookies?