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.
The Institute for Clew Studies (ICS) is an ongoing art project exploring the quotidian moments, everyday lives, and granular histories that saturate the vast expanse outside the more sparsely populated realm of what is considered “important” in the annals of the human endeavor. ICS is not only an art project, it is also a transitory research facility, story book, history archive, detective agency, correspondence school, time machine, analog social media center, and office operation. At ICS, the focus is on “clews” (research-based data/ephemera/information) that are not easily connected to a tidy focused topic—thus, don’t appear to illuminate a path out of the maze of human experience. Instead, in an effort 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.