According to the World Health Organization, it’s been over a year since the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported a cluster of cases of pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province.
In March, the World Health Organization, concerned about the rapid spread and mortality rate, characterized what we now know as the Coronavirus/COVID-19 as a pandemic. One recommendation to help prevent the spread of the virus was and is to wear a mask.
Since then, those who wear masks make daily decisions about what to use as a protective barrier, and demand for masks became a global market with a strong DIY component.
Natalie Wright is a Design History PhD student in SoHE’s Design Studies department at UW-Madison. Wright’s focus is Design History and she is the curator of an online exhibition entitled Rapid Response Mask Collecting Project.
According to Wright, Rapid Response Collecting is a method developed by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London. Her goal is to document the new role masks play in American life. Wright’s exhibit primarily focuses on masks made in our region. In this edition of Radio Chipstone, Wright tells contributor gianofer fields that the Rapid Response method of collecting relies heavily on objects donated by the general public and gives viewers insight into the current conversations around personal safety choices during the pandemic.
About the Host:
gianofer (JON nah fer) fields is an Art Historian and Material Culture contributor and curates the Radio Chipstone series. The project is hosted by the School of Human Ecology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and funded by the Chipstone Foundation; a decorative arts foundation whose mission is preserving and interpreting their collection, as well as stimulating research and education in the decorative arts.
About the Guest:
Natalie Wright is a Design History PhD student in SoHE’s Design Studies department at UW-Madison. Her doctoral research uncovers the long-overlooked history of clothing designs by, with, and for users with disabilities. Prior to joining UW–Madison, Wright was the Charles Hummel Curatorial Fellow at The Chipstone Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she collaboratively curated a wide variety of exhibits including Functional Fashions (Milwaukee Art Museum), Apartment 4: Iris Häussler and The Chipstone Foundation (John Michael Kohler Arts Center), Florence Eiseman: Designing Childhood for the American Century (Museum of Wisconsin Art), and Mrs. M.—–’s Cabinet (Milwaukee Art Museum).
Image: One of Us, Chun-shan (Sandie) Yi, 2020, Screen-printed cotton, metal, elastic. Rapid Response Mask Collecting Project. Photograph by Dakota Mace for the CDMC.