In the novel Thread Ripper by Amalie Smith, we follow the thoughts of a weaver working on a large tapestry. The left pages unveil the inner life of the weaver, unsure about love and having children. Simultaneously, the right pages introduce us to the history of the loom and its connection to early computer technology. Here, Smith cites the first computer programmer Ada Lovelace, who wrote the following on how the first computer borrowed its binary system from the industrialized Jacquard loom: "We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns just as the jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves."
Together, the narratives from the left and right pages give insight to Smith's thoughts when she devised a body of jacquard-woven works. One of them is Hypertextile III shown at ARoS Public depicting algorithmically generated flowers as an homage to Ada Lovelace. In fact, the motif originates from a series of photos of hands on digital devices. But one cannot recognize the hands in the work, since she has run the photos through a machine learning algorithm called DeepDream trained to only recognize a selection of endangered flowers and plants. Thereby, the algorithm melts together with the hands and the plants in the woven work. Just like monsters are crossing borders between the body, nature, and technology.
cand.mag in art history
Still image from artist talk about the work.
Installation at ARoS Public, ARoS Aarhus Art Museum (DK)
Installation photo: ©Mikkel Kalkal