Jennifer Robertson’s lengths of exquisitely fine double-cloth, are produced using a computerised Jacquard loom. Whilst the process for weaving is largely computer driven, her works appear transparent and organic through the choice of colour, texture and motif for the repeat patterns.
Paul Brown produces prints on paper using a computer program that allows the works to self-create. At first glance, the resultant patterns appear symmetrical, but on closer examination are fluid and unpredictable as they grow and explore the printed page. This concept of a conscious construction of ‘randomness’ within the fixed and rational system of the computer is also explored by Gombrich (1984), who writes of the ability of the computer “… not only to follow any complex rule of organisation but also to introduce an exactly calculated dose of randomness” (p.94). It is within this ‘calculated randomness’ that balance is borne out of what is perceived as symmetry, but is in fact an illusion.
Gwendolyn Zierdt, both systems programmer and weaver, created a hand woven tapestry of binary code titled, Game 6: Caro-Kann Defence, representative of the great ‘battle’ between Russian chess genius, Garry Kasparov and IBM’s Deep Blue computer – a reflection on the confrontation between machine and consciousness. (Murray, 2000)
David Sag also works within the confines of a rational, grid system in the virtual realm creating a program that weaves words on the computer screen. Just as warp and weft intersect on the loom, random letters collide to occasionally form familiar words, allowing for the search of meaning where perhaps there is none.
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN CONTEMPORARIES AND THE DIGITAL RUG AND TEXTILE SAMPLE SERIES
Just as the work in Loom looks at ways in which technological advances can be interpreted into the story of weaving, so too ‘The Digital Rug and Textile Sample series sit at the juncture of technology and textile practice. Through the deliberate choice to use the computer as a design and developmental tool, it is hoped that the work engages in current discourse regarding contemporary textile trends, which now blur the boundaries between craft and design. The computer provides a vehicle for bringing the past into the present for further examination and contemplation. It becomes a window through which cultural and aesthetic influences can be depicted, viewed, manipulated and renewed, whilst offering a space in which to ‘cut’ and ‘paste’ current issues for debate. More specifically than this, the computer as a design tool provides a voice for the author’s perspective on the traditional craft of weaving as it pertains to contemporary textiles.
Figures 17, 18
Interestingly, some aspects of the Digital Rug and Textile Sample series embrace similar methodologies, ideologies and visual accents to the works in Loom. The Textile Sample series relates to the ‘double-cloth’ of Robertson through the visual appearance of weave structure, pattern, and the evocative use of colour to effect emotional response. Whilst the physicality of the works is diametrically opposed, the structural approach to building the work is based on similar principles.
Some of the similarities shared with Brown relate to computer usability in the production of pattern. Both the Digital Rug and Textile Sample series have evolved out of experimentation with several computer applications and explore contemporary views on pattern and motif through devices of symmetry and asymmetry in the search for balance within the composition. The Digital Rug and Textile Sample series however, invest more heavily in active decision-making and interactive construction of the work. Brown’s role for the most part is passive, stepping in at the last moment to deem the work complete.