To clean, to iron, to do the laundry, to wash up… every day, every week.
As a designer, I approach the topic of cleaning through its materiality – the cleaning supplies and objects. The tools/objects/things I work with are everyday and functional artifacts. At the same time, I wantto find a way for them to shine and own their place.
To clean, to iron, to do the laundry, to wash up…. every day, every week.
The time I devote to these things that continuously reoccur in my everyday, and that can affect my mood and be a source of stress, quarrels, inner peace, satisfaction, etc – is huge. That makes me think. What is perceived as clean and unclean, messy and ordered, and how this creates boundaries between people, has long been a central theme of anthropological research. In many cultures the task is designated to others. From men to women. From high status women to low status women.
There are cultures where the task of cleaning is held by specific groups – the untouchables in India, or the Zabbaleen who collect and sort trash in Cairo. Cleaning is embedded in ideas about class, gender, culture, and history. Cleaning also relates to health (allergies, infections), production (where cleaning products are produced and how), ergonomy (how we use them), and environment (components in materials and cleaning products).
Cleaning touches Me, and You.
For Misschiefs I have made an ironing board. Is it a piece of furniture or a tool? A thing that is to be stored away or displayed in the home? Is the ironing board even current today, as the “steamer” is becoming increasingly popular? Do people even iron their clothes anymore?
Cinderella is part of a broader design reflection of mine, consisting of more cleaning related objects, texts and research. Cinderella is a collaboration with Paola Bjäringer and Liv Nilsson Stutz – anthropologist and archaeologist. My project about cleaning is also supported by the Swedish Arts Grants Committee (Svenska konstnärsnämnden).