FDR’s New Deal programs and the American experiences during the Great Depression seem to me to be particularly enlightening in the context of the contemporary “Great Recession” and the global financial crisis. During the 24hr project, “Employed,” I plan on exploring the relationships between the Great Depression and the Great Recession through fibers techniques such as scrap quilting and embroidery: both techniques popularized by the necessary frugality of the hard times of the 1930’s. By utilizing text and images I hope to create a series of compositions that can act individually or as a series.
My research included everything from listening to FDR's fireside chats from the 1930's to reading Paul Krugman articles comparing the economics of the two time periods. But what I found most compelling were the hundreds of posters designed and printed by the Works Progress Administration between 1932 and 1943.
The WPA was the primary institution responsible for getting people back to work during the great depression. They did so by initiating thousands of community improvement projects across the US. Many of these were infostructure building: road construction, bridge construction, etc. But many of them were cultural. The WPA organized and provided funding for murals, musical concert, theater... anything you can think of. And their posters advertised them.