In the production of the coat, human labour-power, in the shape of tailoring, has in actual fact been expended. Human labour has therefore been accumulated in the coat. From this point of view, the coat is a “bearer of value,” although this property never shows through, even when the coat is at its most threadbare.
- Karl Marx, Capital, Volume I, Part 1
Re-translating Marx’s Capital, Volume I, Part 1, T’ai Smith shows how 20 yards of linen transform into a coat—and then, through a specious turn in logic, back into threads again.
T’ai Smith is an assistant professor in the Department of Art History, Visual Art and Theory and a Wall Scholar at the Peter Wall Institute of Advanced Studies at University of British Columbia. Her articles and reviews have appeared in Art Journal, Grey Room, Journal of Modern Craft, and Texte zur Kunst. Her first book, Bauhaus Weaving Theory: From Feminine Craft to Mode of Design, was published in November by University of Minnesota Press. She is currently developing a new book project, provisionally titled “Textile Media and Philosophy,” which will examine the use of textiles as figures of thought within art history, philosophy, and political economy since the 19th-century.