Globalization is one of the most pervasive and important processes affecting humankind today. With increasing speed, people, things, and ideas move across vast landscapes, transforming them, and us, in the process.
One of the most omnipresent and noticeable things in global circulation today is cloth, and one of the most critical arenas for global contest is textile production and distribution. Textiles enfold us from the day we are born until the day we die. Made into clothing, textiles document our physical growth, mark the seasons of our lives, and serve as visible markers of our identity and culture. For millennia, we, as human beings, have woven textiles and manipulated cloth to communicate political messages, symbolic power, spirituality, and class relations.
Warp Speeds draws on the textile collections of the Haffenreffer Museum to weave narratives that reveal the historical precedents of globalization, as well as the rapid intercultural exchange that is a hallmark of contemporary globalization.
Bringing together pieces from regions as distant from one another as Nigeria, Laos, the United States, and the Andes, Warp Speeds exposes in particular how globalization is complicated by indigenous ideologies and practices. For millennia, societies have collaborated and collided with others economically and culturally via expansive trades in textiles. Worldwide, people have incorporated cloth made distantly into their own lives, transforming its elements and making it sensible in newly creative, yet still local, contexts. And today, the warps and wefts of globalization are woven at ever-increasing speed.