Thursday, March 08, 2018

Journal at NEoN: 10-11 March 2018

I can hardly believe it's three years since I posted here. I've been focusing on the Nuclear Culture project, so the Embroidered Digital Commons has been on the back burner for awhile. But during this time I've been working with Darren Banks who has created a beautiful website for the Embroidered Digital Commons including stitches by several hundred people embroidering over 4,000 words!

You will see that there are several unfinished patches for each term, so do get in touch and let me know if you would like to help complete a term. Only two of the terms have yet to be started 'Bandwidth' and 'Journal'.

This weekend NEoN (North East of North) are hosting the embroidery of the term 'Journal' and you can find out more on the NEoN website, the Facebook event page , and below.

NEoN invites you along to a special embroidery workshop to be part of an exciting global project - Embroidered Digital Commons. This project has already brought together embroideries by over 1,000 people stitching over 4,500 words... and now you can be part of it too!

Ele Carpenter will introduce the Embroidered Digital Commons project each day at 12pm and invite a collective reading and stitching of the term ‘journal’. At the workshops you can choose a section of text to embroider, stitch with others, have a cuppa and chat to Ele about the project. Your level of experience doesn’t matter, we welcome everyone! Also, as Sunday 11th is Mother’s Day it would be great to see some cross-generational groups come and take part.

Workshops run Saturday and Sunday from 12 - 4pm, you can attend either or both. Find us in the Wellgate Shopping Centre, 1st floor, to the right when you come off the escalator.

Materials will be provided but feel free to bring along your own if you want to add a personal touch to your piece! The best fabric to stitch on is plain cotton fabric of any colour using embroidery thread that contrasts with the fabric.

A little more information about the project…

The Embroidered Digital Commons is a collective close-reading and close-stitching of a text written by Raqs Media Collective called 'A Concise Lexicon of / for the Digital Commons' (2003). The full lexicon is an A-Z of the relationship between social, digital and material space. The lexicon weaves together an evolving metaphorical language of common ownership, use and access across digital platforms. The commons has become synonymous with digital media through the discourse of free and open source software, shared production of knowledge, open access, and creative commons. The digital commons is a response to the inherent 'copy n paste' reproducibility of digital codes, scripts, and files and the cultural forms they support.

The project began in 2008 as part of the Open Source Embroidery project facilitated by Ele Carpenter.

Check out the website to see examples of past stitched texts and get some inspiration for your embroidery:


Here is the text we will be stitching:

‘Journal: A record of the everyday. Annals of matters varied and quotidian. Data from day to day to day. On reams or scraps of any material that can carry the emboss of time. The material may vary from newsprint to video to sound to binary code, or a combination of the same, and the journal may transmogrify from being a witness, to a participant in that which is being recorded. The extent and scale of 'participation' depends on the frequency of entries into the journal, and the number of correspondents it can muster. The higher the frequency of entries or number of correspondents, the greater is the intensity of the inscription of a time on a journal. A densely, thickly inscribed journal is one that is usually open access in terms of writing, reading and publishing. Why else would strangers want to write in? An open journal expects to be published anywhere at all. An open journal actively practices xenophilly. When a journal becomes more than a gazetteer of a moment it turns into a history. It then begins to make sense of itself as much as it does about a time that it spans. Conversely, every history begins life as a journal.'

With thanks to Creative Scotland, Abertay University, University of Dundee and Wellgate Shopping Centre.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Textile Networks at Radical New Cross

The Embroidered Digital Commons continues! This autumn we're excited to be working with Rose Sinclair to consider how textiles shape communities before and after the internet at the Textile Networks as part of the 'Radical New Cross' festival taking place at Goldsmiths College, London.

We are inviting people to come and stitch the term 'Data' as part of the Embroidered Digital Commons, and take part in a public discussion about textile networks. Designer Rose Sinclair will lead a discussion on Dorcas societies of the 1950–60s, which brought together Caribbean women through textiles and acted as networks for social and economic change. The untold oral stories of Dorcas society members will be told through an accompanying installation. Ele Carpenter will introduce the Embroidered Digital Commons project and invite a collective reading and stitching of the term data.

Saturday 14th November,
1.15 - 4pm in St James Church at the end of St James's road in New Cross:
St James Hatcham Building, New Cross, St James’s, SE14 6NW

All crafters, makers, coders, hackers, artists, programmers, and stitchers are welcome! 
The event is free, but you need to book here:

Here's the text we will be embroidering:

"Data: Information. Can mean anything from numbers to images, from white noise to noise to sound. A weather report, a portrait, a shadow in surveillance footage, a salary statement, birth and death statistics, a headcount in a gathering of friends, private e-mail, ultra high frequency signals, sale and purchase transactions and the patterns made by pedestrians as they walk in a city - all of this can be and is data. Data, like coal, uranium and other minerals vital to the running of the world economy is mined, processed, refined and sold at a high price. Battlefields, early twenty first century inter-personal relationships and stock exchanges have been known to be hypersensitive to data traffic. Data mining is a major emerging industry in Delhi. The miners lead very quiet days, and spend long nights coding in low temperature zones called "Data Outsourcing Centres".

Contrarily, the word 'Data' (dãtã) in Hindi/Sanskrit is taken to mean "giver", which suggests that one must always be generous with information, and make gifts of our code, images and ideas. To be stingy with data is to violate an instance of the secret and sacred compacts of homophonic words from different cultural/spatial orbits ('dãtã' in Hindi and 'data' in English) as they meet in the liminal zone between languages, in the thicket of the sound of quotidian slips of the tongue. Errors in transmission and understanding too carry gifts and data."
Raqs Media Collective (2003). ‘A Concise Lexicon Of/For the Digital Commons’, Sarai Reader 03: Shaping Technologies, ed. Monica Narula, Shuddhabrata Sengupta, Jeebesh Bagchi, Ravi Vasudevan, Ravi Sundaram + Geert Lovink. Sarai-CSDS Delhi / WAAG Amsterdam, 2003.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Eye of the Needle: Art, Stitch, Partnerships and Protest

Ele Carpenter will be taking part in a panel discussion 'Eye of the Needle: Art, Stitch, Partnerships and Protest' on Monday 13th July at the British Library along with Cornelia Parker discussing her  Embroidered Magna Carta Wikipedia page, and Curator Sue Pritchard, Curator of Textiles at the V&A.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

EDC 2015

The Embroidered Digital Commons is in the last years of production!  A surge of enthusiasm from stitchers and makers around the world is helping to complete the whole lexicon. Here's a link to Mike Cummins patch as part of the term 'Liminal' co-ordinated by the wonderful Brenda Burrell.

"Interstitial, vestibular and peripheral. Far from the centre, close to the border. A zone both between and without larger structures. Liminal spaces and moments are those into which large stable structures leak animated data about themselves and the world. Things happen in liminal zones. A city carries within it the contradiction of liminal zones located in its centre, because inner cities are the city's farthest borderlands. Liminal fringes are often the most conducive environments for the culture of memes. This is because exiled images, ideas and meanings from several stable structures mingle in the corridors between them. Here, bereft of identities and other certainties, they are free to be promiscuous and reproduce. They infect each other with recombinant strands of thought and image. At the same time, the perspective of liminality brings intimacy to bear on an exclusion. Being liminal is to be close to, and yet stand outside the site of the border of any stable system of signs, where meaning is frayed from being nibbled at on the edges. Nothing can know the centre better than the sideways glance of peripheral vision. Liminality may be acquired from prolonged exposure to the still air of airport departure lounges, thick and over-boiled tea at the Inter State Bus Terminus on the ring road in Delhi, or the sub-liminal flicker of a cursor in an e-mail message."  (Raqs Media Collective)