Stitch of Software

Embroidery consists stitching in small segments, obsessively building piece by piece into a work that blossoms into a cohesive, even elegant, hunk of software. Flip a piece over and you see the guts, the mysterious frayed bits, perhaps a little bloatware or some abandoned design, all of which is irrelevant to the end user but is essential to the craftsman. Whoa, why are we using computer terms to discuss embroidery? Because we can: The exhibit “Open Source Embroidery” has given us the FAQ. Especially on the open-source angle, which highlights open production and distribution, best captured by HTML Patchwork, a quilt made of 216 individually made patches stitched with their RGB color codes by artists around the world. Yeah, RGB color codes — this art passes the geek test. Created by artist Ele Carpenter in 2005, the exhibition has toured the U.K. and Sweden before arriving here, next to the cradle of technology. Other pieces play on “sampling” in both the tech and the knitting worlds and the similarities of yarn and cables (both carry stories); there’s also a garment knitted like a blog (new knitters added to previous additions), stitched text messages (our lives are intertwined with tech), embroidered barcodes (tech is intertwined with our lives), and much more, including art with enough acronyms to leave your sysadmin baffled.
Oct. 8-Jan. 24, 2009

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