From May 2021, CHAT (the Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile) welcomes all to its spring programme Interweaving Poetic Code. Curated by Takahashi Mizuki, Executive Director and Chief Curator of CHAT, Interweaving Poetic Code explores the common thread of code, textile, and care through interactive installations, workshops and performances by exhibition Artistic Director Taeyoon Choi and his collaborators, including Aarati Akkapeddi, Andreas Angelidakis, Laura Devendorf, Christine Sun Kim, KOBAKANT, Amor Munoz and Rebirth Garments.
Historically, the Jacquard loom has enabled the weaving of complex patterns through its programmable punchcards of binary codes since the early 19th century. Since considered as the foundation of computer programming, the relationship between textile and computer technology is undeniably intertwined.
It is with this purpose in mind that CHAT, as an art centre set in the unique location of a revitalised cotton-spinning mill, explores and expands on the conversations surrounding textile and computation. Together with artistic direction from Taeyoon Choi, the spring programme extricates textiles’ and computation’s common propensity for care of not only individuals, but also communities. Through its exhibition and its varied workshops, talks, and performances, CHAT revisits textiles’ ability to clothe us, dress our wounds, and protect us from the elements, and at the same time, CHAT also questions the connectivity of computer code, now applied in all facets of modern life, and how it can be utilised to shape our society for care and inclusivity.
To emphasise the importance of “unlearning” as a way to question and examine the modes of learning and sources of knowledge, CHAT transformed one of its galleries into an Unlearning Space. Scattered within the space are individual stations on topics of weaving, coding, computing, knitting and drawing with respective hands-on activities suited for visitors of all abilities and backgrounds.
The various dynamic components of the spring programme, with its aim to demystify the often feared or misunderstood coded language of computer technology and with its focus on inclusivity and care, invite visitors who encounter the works of textile and code to playfully communicate with these new expressions, iterations and presentation in new and exciting ways.