Stitching and Weaving
in the Digital Age
In 1801, French textile merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard invented the “jacquard machine”, a device fitted to power a loom that simplified the manufacture of textiles. Controlled by a chain of punched cards laced together in a continuous sequence, this new method revolutionized the textile industry. Little did Jacquard realize that his invention would become a national treasure nor that a century and a half later the punched card would be the inspiration for Babbage’s analytical engine, Hollerith’s tabulating machine and IBM’s first computer introduced in the 1940s and 1950s.
While the 1970s marked a social transformation worldwide, artists of that time naturally engaged in redefining their art practice. Like two forces moving in opposite directions (the hand versus the machine), artists created bodies of work that came to be known as Land Art, Arts and Crafts and Ceramics at the same time as others explored High Tech and the early days of Computer Art.
This exhibition “Stitching and Weaving in the Digital Age” (working title) will explore the many unexplored relationships between craft and technology and show, through the work of a group of artists, how contemporary art practice has seamlessly embraced both. Many artists employing technology are wanting to strip away the “techy” aspect of their work and return to the “hands-on” approach and feel while weavers are fascinated by the idea of incorporating tech into their craft practice.
Innovation is the touchstone of tomorrow. Apple and Google will continue to bring us data solutions and new objects of desire. Emerging technologies in artificial intelligence, data collection embedded in threads and new production methods are currently being applied to the apparel industry while weaving and tapestry are making a strong come back as an art practice of the 21st century. Contemporary artists always continue to find ways to turn the technologies of the future back into art that subverts their intent.
It is fascinating to think that Jacquard created a punched wooden card capable of producing a repeated pattern in textile and that 150 years later it was a punched paper card that sparked the first computer. From craft to technology and back, these are all marvelous acts of imagination.
Casey Reas writes software to explore conditional systems as art. Through defining emergent networks and layered instructions, he has defined a unique area of visual experience that builds upon concrete art, conceptual art, experimental animation, and drawing. While dynamic, generative software remains his core medium, work in variable media including prints, objects, installations, and performances materialize from his visual systems. Gathering source material from newspapers, social media profiles, broadcast television and YouTube searches, Reas creates new real-time video works that manifest his personal confrontations with media. His software, prints, and installations have has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries around the world. His work has been featured in over one hundred solo and group exhibitions at museums and galleries in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Reas’s work is in a range of private and public collections, including the Centre Georges Pompidou and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Reas is a professor in the Department of Design Media Arts at UCLA and, with Ben Fry, the co-founder of Processing. He holds a masters degree from the MIT as well as a bachelors degree from the School of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning at the University of Cincinnati.
The Today's Ideology series is a set of continuous, generative collages created from all of the editorial photos in a single day of The New York Times. The images are shuffled and then obliquely drawn, one at a time. Each work in the series is made on the day referenced in the title from the images from that day's paper. This work flattens the editorial hierarchy and reduces the significance of individual images to reshape the experience of reading the images.
Guilty Party by The Nationals
video work, 5min39sec
Laura Splan is an artist and lecturer whose work explores intersections of art, science, technology and craft. Her conceptually based projects examine the material manifestations of our cultural ambivalence towards the human body with a range of traditional and new media techniques. She often uses found objects and appropriated sources to explore socially constructed perceptions of order and disorder, normal and aberrant.
The frenetic imagery in this series is formed from electromyography (EMG) data collected while performing tasks and expressions with my own body such as squinting, blinking and even unraveling a finished tapestry. The numerical EMG data was visualized in a custom Processing program that was written to repeat, rotate, and randomly colorize the EMG waveforms.
Splan's work has been included in numerous museum shows exhibitions around the country. Her work has been exhibited internationally in Iceland, South Korea, England, Germany, Sweden, France, and beyond.
She lives and works in Brooklyn.
Studio residency documentation of sculptural performance with biodata actuated motor and synthesizer. Arduino EMG electrodes attached to the chest trigger sounds in a MIDI synthesizer using Isadora software with each beat of the performer's heart. The heartbeat simultaneously actuates a motor to unravel the scarf being continuously knit by the performer.
Tapestry, from the Embodies Objects series, 2016
computerized jacquard loom woven cotton,
approx. 70”H x 53”W each
The artistic duo Ligorano/Reese have been collaborating as a team on amazing projects since the mid 1980s. But Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese’s latest project is a phenomenal, interactive self-portrait derived from Fitbit and psychological data. Self-quantification has become more and more ubiquitous in our culture, reflecting an increasing trend to visualize one’s activities aggregated, quantified and reflected in a mirror of metrics and personal technology. This growing preoccupation captured our imaginations - what kind of portrait could we create given one’s personal data; is a portrait of measure a 21st century artistic innovation? Entitled I•AM•I, the display is a fiber optic tapestry that is constantly changing, a woven data portrait displaying an abstract representation of our own activities and our responses to a self-reporting emotional survey. These activities are collected and generated by the FitBit, a data collection device or if unable to wear FitBit, |•AM•| contacts the “sitter” of the portrait three times per day, by SMS or email to find out how they’re feeling. It asks 11 questions about how they feel. They input this data using a mobile device. These responses are displayed as changing color fields.
Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese are showing internationally for the past 30 years. They both live and work in New York.
Courtesy of Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco, CA
Chien believes it is the responsibility of artists to modernize traditional crafts and forms, in this case, macrame. The Circuit Boards are inspired by electronics parts, Massimo Vignelli’s New York City subway map, and Diana Vreeland’s maxim that “the eye has to travel.”
She begins each work with no preconceived composition nor preliminary sketches. Guided largely by intuition, she nevertheless works within precise parameters. In this sense, the Circuit Boards' subject can be understood as being about the process of their creation. Windy Chien makes art that activates space and crafts objects that elevate the daily rituals of life. She is best known for her 2016 project, The Year Of Knots, in which she learned a new knot every day for a year. Her work ranges in size from a knot that can fit in the palm of a child's hand to majestic, room-sized installations. Following long careers at Apple/iTunes and in the music industry, she launched her studio in 2015. Her work has been covered by Wired, The New York Times, and more. Chien lives and works in San Francisco, CA.
Circuit Board in Black, 2018
60"x30", cotton rope
Circuit Board in Black, 2018
60"x30", cotton rope
Media artist and technologist James Lanahan's work investigates the limitation of accepted modes of artistic expression and communication, such as sculpture, painting, and illustration, to convey the "truth" of their subject matter.
As part of the process of the artwork, Lanahan has leveraged a flaw he uncovered within Apple's iOS camera software that enables a single image to be manipulated over the time of capture. Moving the camera across a target subject delivers time-based imperfections that harken back to the famous "Nude Descending a Staircase" painting by pioneering French artist, Marcel Duchamp. However, inverting Duchamp's painting, Lanahan uses leading edge technology almost as a digital sketchpad to reframe classical artwork as it moves through time. By considering the artists' process and resulting work, the viewer is asked to question the inherent limitations of both the traditional arts and modern image capture technologies to present the "truth". Lanahan has been involved in the development of a number of pioneering digital media software and imaging architectures since the late 1980s. He lives and works in the Bay area.
From the "Known Unknown " Series, digital print, ed. 10, 2018, 17"x22"
Phillip David Stearns
Based in Brooklyn, Phillip Stearns objects to the belief that technology is neutral. A mixed media artist whose works experiment with creative coding, physical computing, interactive design, circuit bending and computational weaving, Stearns’ primary interests lie not on the particulars of what a given technology can do, but on understanding the socio-political atmosphere from which new things arise. Deconstruction, reconfiguration, and extension are key methodologies and techniques employed in the production of works that range from audiovisual performances, electronic sculptures, light and sound installation, digital textiles, and other oddities both digital and material. His work has been exhibited internationally at electronics arts festivals, museums, and galleries including: Turku Biennial 2013, WRO Biennale 2013, Transmediale 2013, Denver Art Museum (2013), The Photographer’s Gallery London (2012), The Camera Club of New York (2012), Eyebeam (2012, 2007), Harvestworks (2010, 2012)
Fragmented Memory is a triptych of large woven tapestries completed in May 2013 in Tilburg, NL at the Audax Textielmuseum’s Textiellab. The project uses digital practices and processes to blur the lines between photography, data visualization, textile design, and computer science. The results are works of visual art that serve not only to render visible the invisible processes mediating everyday experience, but also to operate as distinctly tactile and lo-fi digital storage media—the process becomes a means to capture, record, and transmit data.
Spanish artist Daniel Canogar´s life and career have bridged between Spain and the U.S. Since the early 90's, Canogar has been fascinated with the technological history of optical devices and soon after created a multi-projection system with fiber optic cables. The resulting artworks were mobile-like hanging sculptures that projected images onto surrounding walls.
With the advent of digital technology, the artist continued re-conceptualizing visual media as sculpture. By projecting video animations onto salvaged obsolete electronics, he was able to metaphorically reveal the collective dreames trapped within DVDs, old calculators, video-game consoles or found computer hard drives. Also notable are Canogar´s public artworks using flexible LED screens. Like with his earlier fiber optic cable installations, he once again reinvents an existing technology to suit his artistic explorations; by using flexible LED tiles, he is able to create twisting ribbon-like screens for atriums and public spaces. Canogar lives and works in Barcelona, Spain
Ripple evokes the daily news cycle. What we see is a projection with video content from the El Pais’ webpage. An algorithm randomly combines more than 500 videos that are part of recent visual history. Each video leaves a trail that covers the trail of previous videos that have slid down the screen. The effect is of an abstraction that simulates the textures of a fabric. Ripple explores how the constant flow of the Information Society can alter our ability to remember, assimilate, and archive our reality.
Cook works in a variety of media combining weaving with painting, photography, video and digital technology. Her current practice explores the sensuality of the woven image and the emotional connections to memories of touch and cloth. Working in collaboration with neuroscientists, she investigates the nature of the emotional response to woven faces by mapping these responses in the brain. She draws on the laboratory experience both with process and tools to stimulate new work in reaction to these investigations. Cook is interested in both the scientific study as well as my artistic response to these unexpected sources, exploring the territory between in several different ways. Her work has been shown internationally since the seventies and is a pioneer in fiber art. Her work is currently exhibited in Japan.
Cook works and lives in Berkeley, CA.
Intense and Questioning, 2018, 68"x50"
cotton, rayon woven
Connect To Me 2, 2015, 67"x51"
cotton, rayon woven
Maggie Ohr is an artist, writer, and technologist who creates electronic textiles and interactive art at her studio, in Seattle WA. Maggie's artworks include textiles that change-color under computer control, interactive textile sensor and light artworks, and robotic public art.
Maggie developed her interactive art and design works in the context of her company, International Fashion Machines, Inc. (IFM), where she focused on developing the creative, technical, and commercial aspects of electronic textiles. At IFM, Maggie wrote patents, conducted research, and developed her own technology and design products, including the PomPom Dimmer.
Maggie holds a PhD in Media Arts and Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Media Lab.
Maggie Orth’s work has been featured in numerous books and publications including Time Magazine; Wired; ID Magazine; Craft; The Seattle Time; Boston Globe; Art and Science Now by Steven Wilson. Ohr lives and works in Seattle, WA.
100 Electronic Art Years, 2009, 62" x 54" x 8"
Media: Hand-woven cotton, rayon, conductive yarns, silver ink,
thermochromic ink, drive electronics and software.
The title of 100 Electronic Art Years refers to the ambiguous lifetime of color-change textiles, and all electronic art. All art fails. All electronic art fails. The question is how, and with what result?
In all color-change textiles, the bright colors will eventually become permanently burned into the surface of the piece, creating a permanent record of software and physical artifact. When asked how long each piece will continue to perform, I can only answer in "electronic art years".
Encoded Textiles: Los Angeles is a new media project by artist Guillermo Bert looking at the harsh conditions of the migration experience of Maya and Zapotec Indigenous populations in Los Angeles, told through ten textiles and videos and twenty audio stories, drawn from interviews with Indigenous immigrants predominantly in Los Angeles, but also Mexico and Guatemala. Each textile, woven in the country of origin, incorporates a QR code alongside traditional iconography. Each QR leads to a webpage that plays a video or audio segment. Each page will change content regularly, to create portals to stories about the Indigenous immigrant experience. Bert lives and works in Los Angeles, CA
Engineer turned artist, Clive McCarthy writes its own code to recreate painterly version of his own photographs. Juggling three mediums in the process, McCarthy's final abstract renderings are mind-bending. McCarthy spends most of his time researching master painters’ techniques in order to reproduce a specific brush stroke as an example. Coding is McCarthy's brush and his “paint” is entirely synthetic. A digital version of a painting of a photograph is happening in slow motion however never to materialize as the program works in random sequence indefinitely.
McCarthy spent years as chief engineer at the semiconductor maker Altera before taking up art in 1997. He received his MFA in New Genres from the San Francisco Art Institue. His work has been shown at ICA, San Jose and in Canada. McCarthy lives and works in San Francisco, CA
Media artist Clive McCarthy and
cellist Hannah Addario-Berry
present "Scordatura Painting"
"French Couture", 2018
Video screen, custom software and computer
Masako Miyazaki is an interdisciplinary artist whose work ranges from sculpture and printmaking to film and animation. Living both in the U.S. and Kyoto, Japan, Miyazaki is similarly influenced by Japanese aesthetics and the Super Bowl culture. Her primary subjects are of open systems such as fire and traffic jams. Much of Miyazaki's recent work examines the language of movement harkening the works of Norman McLaren, Oskar Fischinger, and Man Ray. After receiving her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design her film work has shown nationwide and at the Anthology Film Archives in NY, internationally at SMART Project Space in Amsterdam, and won awards including the Black Maria First Prize Juror’s Award. Miyazaki's public collections include the New York Public Library and the Pacific Film Archive. Awarded the Murphy Cadogan Award in 2015, she most recently has finished her MFA degree from Stanford University. She is now a selected charter tenant of the Studio Program at the Minnesota Street Project in San Francisco, California.
Cascading vertical lines are projected onto a paper screen from the far right, allowing the viewer to walk up to the projection without obstructing the image. The animation is skewed to compensate for the severe angle of the projector's position.
Laces, installation diagram, 2013, animated digital projection on paper 72" x 192"
Electronic musician and sound artist Stephen Vitiello transforms incidental atmospheric noises into mesmerizing soundscapes that alter our perception of the surrounding environment. He has composed music for independent films, experimental video projects and art installations, collaborating with such artists as Nam June Paik, Tony Oursler and Dara Birnbaum. In 1999 he was awarded a studio for six months on the 91st floor of the World Trade Center’s Tower One, where he recorded the cracking noises of the building swaying under the stress of the winds after Hurricane Floyd. As an installation artist, he is particularly interested in the physical aspect of sound and its potential to define the form and atmosphere of a spatial environment.”
In his animation-based practice, Chris Doyle explores aspiration and progress, questioning the foundation of a culture consumed by striving. His narratives feature a world of increasing speed and complexity in which environmental disaster and social inequities continue to generate anxiety of a looming apocalypse.
He has exhibited widely at venues in the U.S. and internationally, including at the Brooklyn Museum of Art, Queens Museum of Art, P.S.1 Museum of Contemporary Art, MassMoCA, The San Jose Museum of Art, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, The Tang Teaching Museum, The Wellin Museum of Art, The University of Michigan Museum of Art, Sculpture Center, The Brooklyn Academy of Music, and as part of the New York Video Festival at Lincoln Center and the Melbourne International Arts Festival.
Circular Lament, 2016, Single channel digital animation, 5:44 minutes
Shor’s works begin with a conceptual idea that is first expressed as a set of rules governing an abstract animation of patterns, colors, surfaces, and movements. The rules are then implemented as code in a software program that runs on a personal computer in real-time to generate ever-changing moving images. Each of Shor’s images flow into the next, in sequences that are never repeated. Once programmed, these animations become projections onto walls or other preexisting architectural surfaces, or are incorporated into freestanding or wall-mounted sculptural elements.
M.F.A, Conceptual Information Art, San Francisco State University, CA. Post B.A, Visual culture: criticism, and theory studies, Camera Obscure, school of the art, Tel-Aviv, Israel. B.A, Art History and Philosophy, Tel-Aviv University
This is how space begins, with words; signs traced on the blank page. Text is code is space is process.
On Other Spaces, Xsandu
40" x 50", pigmented print on Hahnemühle
This is how space begins, with words; signs traced on the blank page. Text is code is space is process.
The Book O Life is a little machine that writes urban architecture in space. It writes a temporary story in real time and it erasesit the same time, leaving no track. This labyrinthic writing has neither beginning not end…
The Book O Life is generated in real-time by computer software, and is based on a set of simple rules that create complex structures, and operate in an overlapping network.
On Other Spaces, Shangrila
40" x 50", pigmented print on Hahnemühle
Gabriel Dunne’s work represents his continuous investigations of visual, audible, and physical frequencies of natural and technological perceptual and imperceptible realities. His process is based on sound, space, still and moving visual image, architecture, installation, sculpture, and utilizes custom software and hardware systems and performance tools. He has show and performed at galleries and museums across the world, including NYMoMA, SIGGRAPH, Barcelona Festival Sonar, Interferenze Italia, and numerous publications. Dunne Lives and Works in San Francisco.
“NAAG, XY” is an organic sculpture form made of foam and plastic along with projected generative algorithm animations mapped onto the surface that creates a mesmerizing rhythm. Inspired by Mehndi designs, popularly known as henna tattoos, mandala like renderings come alive, breathing and pulsing while gently gliding onto the surface. With various parts moving differently, the work is sensual and hairy at the same time.
The Jacquard loom is not just a relic, but the first ancestor, the Adam and Eve, to our modern computers. Because this history is all but forgotten in our understanding of humanity's digital maturation, C O M P U T E R 1 . 0 seeks to pay homage to the forbearers of computer history. Artist, Victoria Manganiello and designer Julian Goldman have collaborated in the creation of a striking representation of this digital ghost; a handwoven cloth, with a programmed kinetic surface that brings to mind data, code, and communication infrastructure. This installation reminds its onlookers that society has been grappling with a digital existentialism and the question of ‘are we better off?’ since the birth of programming itself. In this way, C O M P U T E R 1 . 0 is the physical display of the eternally uncertain potential of technology. Manganiello lives and works in New York, NY