I'm back in Umeå working at HUMlab and the BildMuseet to make all the arrangements for the OSE exhibition to travel to the Musuem of Craft and Folk Art in San Francisco. It's wonderful to situate the project in the tradition of folk culture, blurring distinctions between professional and amatuer, art and craft, participation and collaboration. In the world of folk and folksonomy we can talk about use-value from a different perspective.
Travis Meinolf is an Action Weaver and will be inviting people to make their own weaving during the exhibition. Here you can see his process of constructing a loom:
You might wonder what weaving has to do with Open Source Embroidery... Well, weaving as Travis demonstrates, can be learned and practised by anyone at any level. The process of making a loom can't be copyrighted or owned. There's also the connection between the Jaquard Loom and binary punch-card programming, as discussed earlier in this blog. Interestingly it was these punch cards which were kept under lock and key to prevent copying. On another note, Sadie Plant’s book ‘Zeros and Ones’ 1997, traces a lyrical story of technology and weaving the communications web that we now work within:
“Media has become interactive and hyperactive, the multiplicitous components of an immersive zone which does not begin with writing; it is directly related to the weaving of elaborate figured silks. The yarn is neither metaphorical nor literal, but quite simply material, a gathering of threads which twist and turn through the history of computing, technology, the sciences and the arts.”
Plant, Sadie (1997) p12.
I've just spent a luxurious weekend reading 'Ada, the Enchantress of Numbers: A Selection from the Letters of Lord Byron's Daughter and Her Description of the First Computer', Narrated and Edited by Betty Alexandra Toole. Ada describes the concept of 'poetical science' which is attributed to the influence of her father Lord combined with the mathematical teachings of her mother Lady Lovelace. Toole describes Ada's years looking after her children and teaching as developing "the ability to use and integrate a variety of skills such as digital skills such as objectivity, observation and experimentation, with analogue skills such as imagination, visualisation and the use of metaphor."(Toole, 1992, p93).
It is this integrated approach to learning and technology that the Open Source Embroidery project humbly hopes to explore.