Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Vector at the V&A

On Saturday 10th September I'll be hosting an Embroidered Digital Commons workshop in the Power of Making exhibition at the V&A Museum in London.

The workshop will be held around the Tinkerspace table in the middle of the exhibition, the show and the workshop are both free, and all materials are provided. Drop-in anytime between 1 - 4pm to get stitching!

The text we will be embroidering is by the Raqs Media Collective, and reads:

"Vector: The direction in which an object moves, factored by the velocity of its movement. An idea spins and speeds at the same time. The intensity of its movement is an attribute of the propensity it has to connect and touch other ideas. This gives rise to its vector functions. The vector of a meme is always towards other memes, in other words, the tendency of vectors of data is to be as ubiquitous as possible. This means that an image, code or an idea must attract others to enter into relationships that ensure its portability and rapid transfer through different sites and zones. The vectors of different memes, when taken together, form a spinning web of code." 

The term 'Vector' seems appropriate for an exhibition where the vectors of objects and ideas connect and touch, porting through different sites and zones. The Power of Making exhibition brings together digital, analogue and physical material making and crafting as both process and object.

The V&A Magazine will feature an article about skill and making, based on a round-table discussion between a number of the writers in the catalogue and artists in the exhibition. The most interesting part of the discussion, for me, was the controversy of drawing analogies between computer coding and physical making, a hang-over from the utopian/dystopian technology division so clearly articulated by Ensensberger, and expanded upon by Alex Galloway and Eugene Thacker in their book 'The Exploit' (2007). There seems to be a correlation between the demise of teaching woodwork and computer coding in schools. Where education focuses on end user products rather than the skills to make and mend, invent and innovate. It seems we have a lot of tools, but no-one knows how to use them. At least the National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park recognizes this, and introduces kids (small and large) to the joys of programming.

If you're interested, I've also written a short text called 'Social Making' for the Power of Making Catalogue.

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