Weaving is the proto-digital

My interests in digital technology and systems coupled with formative years spent in crafts and dance have lead me to research weaving as a contemporary art form and even, as a form of “textile painting”. My work also leans towards a feminist perspective of the world and thinks about women in the world with agency living their lives in our times on the cusp of analog and digital technology.

My research led me to this article in Vice Magazine from September 2018 about some contemporary female artists using weaving.

https://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/ev8j5z/weaving-art-womens-workhttps://i-d.vice.com/en_us/article/ev8j5z/weaving-art-womens-work

Weaving was the purpose behind the earliest form of a computer. The Jacquard Loom used punch cards to determine the pattern the machine was to weave. Punch cards, and the concept of punch cards, were then used by subsequent early computing devices such as the Babbage’s Difference and Analytic Engines. Then Hollerith’s Desk employed a punch card reader to count based on holes in the card. This machine lead him to establish a company that was the forerunner to IBM. The concept of punch cards lead to the realization that they could be used as a storage mechanism or read only technology (Babbage), conditional statements, subroutines (thanks to Lord Byon’s daughter Ada Byron), and read/write technology (Hollerith).  The binary way in which punch cards worked, a hole or not a hole in a certain order of location (presence or absence), is the foundation of binary and all computer code (comprised of 1’s and 0’s).

In my practice, I’m seeking to understand how I can use the form and concept of punch cards and binaries to further dialogue about the relationship of the digital to the analog.

I also continue to think about reverse engineering as a way to move between that binary as I make my work. Working backwards from the digital into the analog or working from the analog into the digital is relevant to our contemporary position with technology.

 

 

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