EMMA & ANNA McCORMICK-GOODHART
EMMA McCORMICK-GOODHART wearing the Rosa cardigan no.004. She is an artist and writer living in New York City. Her sister, ANNA McCORMICK-GOODHARTis wearing the Maria pullover no.002. She is a researcher with the Arshile Gorky Foundation also living in New York City.
What should we be reading?
EMMA: Robert McFarlane’s Underland, a book of musings on subterranean spaces that reminds us of the vastness of geological timescales – and helps relativize our months of quarantine
ANNA: Italo Calvino's Cosmicomics – to set the mind spinning and Marina Warner’s Forms of Enchantment – for her seeing eye, the breadth and play of her associations, and the electricity of her prose.
What is your favorite word?
EMMA: The sound of Virginia Woolf incanting “incarnadine”
What do you still wish to learn?
EMMA: To think less
ANNA: How to make a ship-in-a-bottle. It is still a mystery to me!
Is there a work of art that you feel a certain kinship with?
EMMA: Anicka Yi’s Biography perfume line, developed with perfumer Barnabé Fillion and launched at Dover Street Market, for its highly conceptual process, transhistorical currents, and deeply sensual scent-outcomes
ANNA: Roger Callois’ The Writing of Stones; Noguchi’s set designs for Martha Graham and Rauschenberg’s for Merce Cunningham; Joseph Cornell’s shadow boxes; Joan Jonas’ work; at the moment, Andrew Wyeth’s windows
What does progression mean to you?
EMMA: Flow, growth, and coalescence
What is your favourite representation of simplicity?
EMMA: A child’s drawing of a horizon
What is your favourite representation of complexity?
EMMA: A fishnet
What is good design?
EMMA: When it becomes invisible, or when it provokes (worthwhile) new behaviors
ANNA: The moon-viewing platform, old shoin, Katsura Villa, Kyoto, early Japanese scrolls - calligraphy
Where do you find good design?
EMMA: In a boat hull, and in Braille or tactile writing systems
ANNA: Always in nature
Can you define the words ‘timeless’ and ‘contemporary’?
EMMA: Why not as synonyms? The earliest cave paintings, for instance, are both hyper contemporary and timeless
What is the best cult classic?
EMMA: Michelangelo Antonioni’s “Red Desert” for its images of Monica Vitti dressed in mist from Northern Italian power stations
ANNA: Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant’s Charleston House in East Sussex
Where do you imagine you would find your doppelgänger?
EMMA: In a late silent film (or early 1930s talkie)
Can you share some daily habits or rituals?
EMMA: I add a dash of pearl powder to my coffee every morning
ANNA: A strong coffee in the morning and, during these quieter weeks, reading in bed of an evening.
Do you have a mantra during this time?
EMMA: “In the woods, is perpetual youth.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Who do you find to be an iconic person?
EMMA: My mother, Stephanie, and my sister, Anna: they have always been my muses!
What does your house smell like?
EMMA: We’ve been isolating at our childhood home along the Patuxent River in Maryland, where thick sillages of honeysuckle waft in late. This meeting of land and salty, brackish water makes for ongoing aromatic conversation
ANNA: Wood smoke, even in summer
What does your house sound like?
EMMA: Like being aboard a boat, waves lapping against the shore
ANNA: Our family’s home in Maryland is very much a living house – it breathes throughout the day. As Emma says, the trees that surround us are “vocal” – with windows open, the rushes of wind and birdsong are amplified.
What is a rule that should never be broken?
EMMA: “The first food is air,” sayeth philosopher Luce Irigaray
What is a rule that should always be broken?
EMMA: The idea that it’s ever too late to change course, or that neutral tones necessarily bring clarity: paint your walls deep colors!
What is your perfect meal?
EMMA: Mermaid food: kelp noodles bathed in fresh lemon-mint-tahini pesto
ANNA: Our mother's Thanksgiving. Crisply roasted potatoes are ever-dependable, too.
What is most difficult to find in contemporary culture?
EMMA: The loudness of social media that so often gets in the way of being in the world. Here’s to going info-vegan now and then!
What do you find most exciting in contemporary culture?
EMMA: Speculative design proposals coming out of this moment: for face shields, wearable body cocoons, prosthetic door handle accessories to facilitate remote ‘touch’… new media that returns us to Space Age imaginaries
What do you collect?
EMMA: Books, shells, ephemera, and the occasional second hand Alaïa piece
ANNA: Books; shells; stones of all kinds; matchboxes; Emma’s, our mother’s, and our father’s creations …
The best arthouse film?
EMMA: Maya Deren’s “Meshes of the Afternoon,” or some of the first underwater films by John Ernest Williamson
ANNA: Sally Potter’s “Orlando” – for us both
What is the most enigmatic work you remember seeing?
EMMA: Composer-mystic Maryanne Amacher’s “Mini Sound Series,” a live performance-installation reinterpreted by the collective Supreme Connections at the Stedelijk Museum in 2017. Amacher was interested in psychoacoustic phenomena, where ears themselves emit audible sound, but this piece was as lushly visual and non-linear as it was sonic
What is still a mystery?
EMMA: That our senses work imperceptibly fast
Where is happiness found?
EMMA: In the surprise of synchronicity
ANNA: With presence in the moment
What was the last thing you photographed?
EMMA: The interior of an abalone shell
ANNA: Emma in her lambent orange Leorosa sweater, with a Japanese trumpet conch shell in hand
What do you see outside your window?
EMMA: Moss growing on old roof slate that slopes towards a river
ANNA: The Patuxent River - a tributary of the Chesapeake Bay in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, where we are both sheltering. Sometimes, if I am lucky, a great blue heron rests on a piling in view; if the night is clear, the stars radiate
What is your favorite slogan?
EMMA: “Voices have legs”, “Make haste slowly”
ANNA: “there is nothing in the Understanding which was not before in the Sense” – Johann Comenius, The Visible World, “A line that incorporates oscillation and interruption is better able to survive as a continuous line” – Camille Henrot
What are you working on at the moment?
EMMA: An edition of conceptual face masks, called Particle Ethics, with embroidered language (on sale here — one design pictured on Anna); a perfume for a Boston Ballet commission in May 2021; an exhibition text to be printed on fabric for an upcoming show around James Joyce’s Ulysses at Belmacz (London); and an interview with artist-researcher Susan Schuppli for PIN-UP