Warp and weft, knit and purl, zero and one: the history of textile and code are closely related. Interweaving Poetic Code, held at Art Sonje Center from October 14th to December 12th, builds on an initial exhibition of the same name held at CHAT (Center for Heritage, Arts and Textile) in Hong Kong earlier this year, from May through August. Where the original exhibition focused on the interrelationship between textile, code, and poetry, the Seoul exhibition expands its scope to include further considerations of technology, community, and the environment, using works by Taeyoon Choi, collaborations with other artists, and material from various community-driven projects to create a space that centers the concept and practice of care.
In the exhibition, Taeyoon Choi’s Handmade Computer series uses the fundamentals of electronic circuits and binary systems to shift our conception of the computer from a mass produced industrial product to a tool for proactive, creative, individual expression. FUTURE PROOF, made in collaboration with Berlin-based sound artist Christine Sun Kim, presents future technologies and ethical guidelines desired by the Deaf community. An ongoing international collaboration that explores the idea of a local P2P (Peer to Peer) Web, Distributed Web of Care conceptualizes the internet as a garden of imaginary lichen-like lifeforms, approaching the relationships between people, living things, and non-living things from that perspective. Meanwhile, paintings, drawings, and writings by Choi interwoven throughout serve as a kind of connective tissue of care.
In this exhibition, Choi refracts the interplay between coding, textiles, and poetry through the lens of care, bringing everything into the sphere of social practice. “Care,” here, stands in contrast to “cure,” as modeled by the medical industrial complex. It is an ecosystem of mutual support created through communication, contemplation, understanding, engagement, action, and accountability, one that has primarily been shaped by disabled, queer, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color), low-income, and undocumented communities who cannot rely on the state for support. These discussions, in turn, lead to questions like: How might technologies designed to control and regulate be transformed into positive technologies of care? How can we critically pursue the technologies needed to preserve the earth for future generations without building on further exploitation? And in this time of rapid change, how might we harness the essential role of coding in contemporary life to best weave together past, present, and future? Interweaving Poetic Code invites visitors into a poetic experience of these and other questions, an opportunity to think and feel through a simultaneity of code and textile and care.