Exhibition After Tomorrow #2: Stitching and Weaving in the Digital Age

Updated: Sep 11, 2019

October 11, 2018 - February 28, 2018

The exhibition "Stitching and Weaving in the Digital Age", curated by Christine Duval from Duval Contemporary, launched at the Résidence de France on October 11, 2018, in presence of Member of French Parliament Cédric Villani. The exhibition will be open to the public on Thursday, November 15 from 2pm to 4pm. Mark your calendars!

© Laura Splan

Stitching and Weaving in the Digital Age looks at the many unexplored relationships between craft and technology and shows, 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

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.

Today Ideology (August 22, 2018), dye sublimation on metal.

Laura Splan

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.

Recursive Expression (Squint #1) 2016/2017 (ongoing), archival pigment print on hot press cotton rag.

Ligorano Reese Certainty of Ambiguity is a miniature portrait of patterns and colors derived from personal identification numbers such as phone number, social security number, date of birth and so on.  These numbers configure illuminated geometries on woven fiber optic panels as themes and variations through custom software. Certainty of Ambiguity is the third in a series of woven fiber optic tapestries that visualizes different datasets as illuminated patterns and colors.  The animations are cyclical patterns expanding and contracting in time. They are not random. Like fingerprints, Certainty of Ambiguity is an emblem and a sign of identity.  

The pair Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese have collaborated as the artistic duo LigoranoReese for over forty years. Their works are included in the permanent collections of numerous institutions, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the New York Public Library, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Getty Institute. LigoranoReese live and work in Brooklyn, New York.

Certainty of Ambiguity, fiber optic and custom software (2017).

Windy  Chien
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.

Circuit Board in Black, cotton rope (2018).

James Lanahan
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 "Distortion" series, digital print (2018).

Lia Cook
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 and is currently exhibited in Japan. Cook works and lives in Berkeley.

Connect to Me 2, woven cotton & rayon (2015).

Guillermo Bert

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.

La Bestia, cotton encoded barcode and custom software (2016).

Clive McCarthy

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.

French Couture, custom software, video screen and computer (2018).

Kira Dominguez Hultgren

Dominguez Hultgren combines her interests in postcolonial theory, oral storytelling, and weaving, as she seeks to decolonialize the family stories of racial identity she grew up hearing and repeating. Kira Dominguez Hultgren’s weavings are motivated by her ancestral and ongoing negotiations of approximate assimilation, synthetic identities, and the excesses that stride beyond categorizations. Kira Dominguez Hultgren is a California, Utah, and Minnesota based writer and textile artist. She studied French postcolonial theory and literature at Princeton University (B.A. Comparative Literature, 2003), and performance and fine arts in Río Negro, Argentina. She lives and works in San Francisco.

Le Petit-Fils d’Hazard, Un Coup de Dés (2017). Jacquard woven images of Pace Dominguez Hultgren at age eleven in cotton, and novelty yarn. Inkjet printed on organza fabric: computer codes and weaves structures.

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