Evan Calder Williams’ final presentation as an ISSUE Project Room Artist-In-Residence, A Fine Thread of Deviation is a collaborative textile, video, sonic, and linguistic work that centers on the intersections between a screen and its projection and on the unseen gestures that vanish into the surface of images they create. At its heart is a projection screen woven on a loom by Anne Low and with a pattern co-designed by Low and Williams. This screen and its pattern forms the structure of the video and sound work shot and assembled by Williams, less a film than an animated graphic composition that draws from the histories of weaving, capitalism, technical systems, and landscape.
Including an original composition by guitarist Marisa Anderson and incorporating constrained writing and abstract cartoons that decompose frame by frame, the work refuses a single mode, method, or explanatory thesis. It takes its title from WWI organizer Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, who in 1916 wrote in defense of alleged textile saboteur Frederick Sumner Boyd that only a “fine thread of deviation” separates the normal degradation of materials condoned by industry from that covertly pushed by they who seek to ruin such industry and its social forms. Pursuing this minor gap between the plan, the conspiracy, the glitch, and the willful mistake, the work follows this “fine thread” across scattered histories, styles, and technologies to give image to the enormous set of gestures, accidents, and knowledge embedded in the thick surfaces of the easily ignored.