Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Free Ada Lovelace!

Drop the Charges FREE Ada Lovelace and the South Kensington 3

In 1998 Richard Hamilton designed a series of posters for the Free for All campaign to keep free public entry to the South Kensington Museums. One of the posters depicts Ada Lovelace who worked on the precursor to the modern computer with Charles Babbage, and made analogies between the Jaquard loom and the Analytical engine. Hamilton's use of her image makes connections between issues of freedom and access in both computing and culture, which are central to the concept of the Open Source Embroidery exhibition.

This weekend I plan to visit the Science Museum (one of the South Kensington Museums) to see their Analytical Engine. It is Ada Lovelace's notes on the design for this engine which describe, for the first time, what 'computing' and 'software' might be. And this was in 1843! I'll have to wait until the summer to go to the British Museum to see the original notes.

Today is Ada Lovelace Day in celebration of a woman often mentioned on this blog, such as the Ada Lovelace html embroidery that I stitched, and my notes on the documentary film about her life To Dream Tomorrow. This post contributes to the Ada Lovelace Day Pledge to blog about inspirational women in technology.

As part of the celebration the invigorating Furtherfield.org are inviting all women who work in media arts and net art, who are not already subscribed, to join the NetBehaviour email list for a week between 23rd and 30th March. Women are invited to post about their work and that of other women who have inspired their practice.

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