I made “Security Blanket” using an electronic knitting machine I had hacked in order to upload an image file as a knitting pattern. I then embroidered the gun’s trigger using conductive yarn, to create a literal trigger- when it is touched, visitors hear the recorded sound of a gunshot. (I use an arduino microcontroller to playback an audio file on a hidden speaker.)
The knitted gun lends a masculine phallus to the feminized medium of knitting (usually seen as “women’s work,” and therefore "merely" craft).
Its power is limited to the symbolic – just as an actual “security blanket” cannot protect a child from physical harm, a (depiction of a) gun has no direct power over the physical world. Yet symbols do carry weight, and the advancement of technology allows me to blur the gender symbolism associated with the very gendered technologies of electronics and knitting. While the soft form certainly seems innocuous (especially in light of the “3D Printed Gun” that received so much press this summer), the unexpected sound of gunfire, triggered by touching, reminds viewers that its innocence should not be taken for granted.