Handmade Macrame Condom

Handmade Macrame Condom

around 3 km of cotton thread, 170 x 60 cm
Year: 2006


Handmade Macrame Condom explores the prospects of perceptive hybridisation, by mixing behavioural processes with societal norms. Conceived as an oversized common contraceptive device, the sculpture questions the gender conjunction, opening a debate on historical patriarchal/matriarchal prevalence. The ritualistic quality of the macrame knotting, shaped as a condom acquires a narrative new dimension. 

Frequently, the macrame knotting is associated to the 1970s as a means to make articles of clothing, bedspreads, tablecloths, draperies and other furnishings. Usually the macrame knotting was made by women. It is less known, that with the same technique in the 19th century, British sailors made hammocks, bell fringes, and belts while at sea, and sold or bartered them when they landed. 

In the same manner, the condom has its own historical peculiarities. Before the 15th century, in China the condoms may have been made of oiled silk paper, or of lamb intestines. In the 16th century, Gabriele Galloppio describes linen sheaths soaked in a chemical solution, used as a contraceptive method in Europe. The cloths he describes were shaped to cover the glans of the penis, and held on with a ribbon.

On the other side, by the late 19th century, the idea of a male-only contraceptive determined the distrust of many feminists, as its usage was decided upon by men alone. They advocated instead for methods which were decided by women, such as spermicidal douches or diaphragms.

The macrame knotting technique consists in repeating the same action over and over again, until the object takes shape. The result is a cumulation of rhythm and repetition. In analogy, the sexual intercourse has the same principles. The climax involves repeated mechanical movements. The sculpture ironically unfolds the similarities and disparities between masculinity and femininity, underlining though their common territory.Reshaping the original perception of two gender ambiguous structures (macrame knotting vs. male contraceptive devices) becomes an anthropological exercise that aims to observe how people change their perception in intertwined, mutated contexts. 

Installed in Galleria di San Marco of Bevilacqua la Masa Foundation for 90ma Collettiva, and also for the collective exhibition of Arte Laguna Prize in 2008.