clew (kloo) n. a ball of yarn or thread | The word “clue” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon word “clew”, meaning a ball of yarn or thread. In Greek Mythology, Theseus, the founder-king of ancient Athens, escaped from the Minotaur’s labyrinth by unspooling a ball of thread so that he could retrace his steps out of the maze. Based on the Greek myth, the word acquired the metaphorical meaning of something that serves as guide or will lead to a solution and our modern understanding of the word evolved.
I have established the Institute for Clew Studies (hereafter, ICS) as a migratory research facility/archive with a mission to discover and preserve snippets, smidgens, and scraps of evanescent history that escape expected chronicles, fall through the cracks of remembrance, or become untethered to their origins. While conventional archival research is concerned with completing a narrative arc, ICS uses a hybrid strategy combining imagination with historical research to create works that are realized in various media (drawings, video, installations, lectures, objects). Instead of seeking a path out of the labyrinth, ICS focuses on materials--- “clews”---that are not easily connected to a tidy research topic. In order to explore the labyrinth itself, ICS seeks to create a context for revelatory moments (poetic, banal, incidental, humorous) that have been overlooked, forgotten, or dismissed because they have been eclipsed by a more palpable narrative.