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Frau Fiber and her Global Wage Awards (courtesy John Michael Kohler Arts and Industry Residency, 2014)

Through her alter ego Frau Fiber — a former East German garment worker — and her Institute 4 Labor Generosity Workers & Uniforms, textile artist and activist Carole Frances Lung examines unseen networks of labor and capital in the garment industry. Timed to coincide with our country’s most grotesquely materialistic season, Fiber is setting up a week-long pop-up alterations shop at Santa Monica’s turn-of-the-century Camera Obscura, kicking off on Black Friday.

As with a regular alterations shop, visitors are invited to bring in their slacks in need of hemming, jackets to be darned, or patches to sew. Instead of paying a set fee however, the cost of the labor is determined by spinning the Wheel of Wages, divided into sections listing the main countries from which we import garments — China, Vietnam, Mexico, and others — as well as the wages of US garment workers and those at French Couture brands. At a time when the focus tends to be on shiny, new products lining store shelves, Frau Fiber encourages us to consider the long process of how they got there.

When: Friday, November 24–Saturday, December 2, 10am–3pm daily (closed Sunday, November 26)
Where: Camera Obscura Art Lab (1450 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica, California)

More info here.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.