Feast of the Red Thread

2023 - Gislaved Konsthall permanent installtion, secret society meeting room, curtains, red thread, table ceremonial outfit. 

The Feast of the Red Thread is a permanent installation at Gislaved Konsthall which acts as a site and meeting room for the secret society of the Red Thread which is actually many different secret societies with a whole legion of secrets all connected by a thin common red thread. These multiple secret societies know nothing about each other or each other’s secrets. Yet they are all parts of the same Red Thread. They are totally public and transparent, like a redaction in a public document but totally secretive and private at the same time. 

This art project, by Francis Patrick Brady featuring Max Ockborn, consists of meeting table for secret societies to gather around, and curtains and a physical red thread to seal off the room from the public. There is also a set of cards that help people who use the room to figure out why and how they are building their own secret society together here.

At some point in spring of 2023 there was a public/private opening of the totally transparent secret society of the Red Thread with several opening and closing ceremonies to help others to join and create their own secret society. 

Den Röda Tråden” is a common phrase in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Germany but in English speaking countries it is quite unknown. It actually comes from the writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe who references the British Navy whose ropes were made with a small red thread inside all them so that it was possible to identify all the rope belonging to the crown and to catch and punish thieves accordingly. Even a small piece of rope would be connected to the larger red thread and signify its ownership. “Den Röda Tråden” then becomes about connecting property and ownership instead of how it is used to signify the interconnectedness and larger meaning of smaller parts. But who really owns a secret, the one who tells it or the one who keeps it? 

The Feast of the Red Thread is also the fourth project in a series of fictional Secret Societies, that include Feast of the Red Herring (Moderna Museet Malmö), Feast of the Red Porridge (Rum46, Aarhus), Feast of the Red Robins (Malmö Art Museum). Gislaved is now the home of a permanent secret society that ties all these previous versions together with the future versions, with a long long Red Thread.