‘Coded Threads: Textiles and Technology’ begins Sept. 27 in the Western Gallery

Western Today Staff

Contact: Hafthor Yngvason, director of the Western Gallery, Hafthor.Yngvason@wwu.edu


Western Gallery, on the campus of Western Washington University, will host “Coded Threads: Textile and Technology,” which brings together 14 well-known artists integrating textiles with technology, from Sept. 27 to Dec. 8, 2017.

The exhibition features the work of Lia Cook, Linda Hutchins, Robin Kang, Sheila Klein, Barbara Layne and Lauren Osmond, Maggie Orth, Devorah Sperber, Reiko Sudo, Laura Thapthimkuna, Suzi Webster, Carol D. Westfall, Anne Wilson, and Margo Wolowiec.

“Coded Threads is an exhibition of art works exploring a variety of approaches involving the intersections between art and technology,” said Associate Professor of Art Seiko Purdue, curator of the exhibition. “Artists are producing wearable art, gallery installations, and public art by collaborating with scientists and engineers.”

An opening reception will be Thursday, Sept. 28, from 5 to 7 p.m. Symposium schedules, including speakers and other events will be listed on the website: https://westerngallery.wwu.edu/coded-threads-textile-and-technology

Textiles are among the oldest products of human art and skill. The earliest textile techniques in our civilization (basket weaving, indigo dyeing, etc.) are still practiced, even as technology has been changing our lives radically. While maintaining a connection to our past, textile fields are using digital technology to expand possibilities for innovative materials, products, arts, and environments. Artists and designers are working with scientists and engineers to create new materials and new arts.

New Textiles comprise a range of materials: spider silk, nanotechnology, biocouture, smart textiles (conductive threads, fiber optics), incorporation of Arduino microprocessors, etc. Collaborations between scientists and artists are producing new materials and projects that span both domains. New materials such as carbon fibers have been used not only as clothing but also in sports, medicine, astronautics, architecture, the military, in hospitals, etc.

In this exhibition, artists are using LED light ornaments, sensors, thermochromic ink, images from social media, scanned portraits, microscopic viruses, and data from laboratory experiments. New tools and techniques such as laser cutting, 3D printing, digital jacquard looms, sublimation, and programming are explored.

The theme of the exhibition, “Text/Textile: Web/Website: Net/Networks” is investigated in various ways; the accumulation of words and stitches creates our human relationship. We are connected in both digital and analog ways based on these concepts.

Thursday, August 17, 2017 - 11:56am

Maggie Orth “Last Moment in the Pursuit of Happiness,” 2017 28.5 x 48 inches Hand-woven cotton, rayon, conductive yarns, silver ink, hand printed water based thermochromic ink, custom drive electronics, and expressive software. Photographer David Klugston