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What am I embroidering?

March 13, 2019

The Embroidered Computer by Irene Posch and Ebru Kurbak doesn’t look like what you might expect when you think of a computer. Instead, the work looks like an elegantly embroidered textile, complete with glass and magnetic beads and a meandering pattern of copper wire. The materials have conductive properties which are arranged in specific patterns to create electronic functions. Gold pieces on top of the magnetic beads flip depending on the program, switching sides as different signals are channeled through the embroidered work.

“Traditionally purely decorative, [the work’s patterns] defines their function,” explained Posch on her website. “They lay bare core digital routines usually hidden in black boxes. Users are invited to interact with the piece in programming the textile to compute for them.”

The piece is a reference to the historic similarity between textile creation and computing, for example the Jacquard loom being an important influence on the evolution of computing hardware. Posch is a researcher and artist with a background in media and computer science who explores the how technological seeps into the fields of art and craft, and Kurbak is an artist and designer who investigates the hidden politics of everyday spaces and routines. You can learn more about their work and partnerships here or here.

from  Colossal

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