Craft in Binary: Technologies of Community

  • Eric K. Mercer, Consumer Objects
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  • Eric K. Mercer, Consumer Objects
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Works from Eric Mercer, Katie Waugh, and the Viral Knitting Project are brought together to explore connections between social media, craft, and protest. Looking at crafting and computing as technologies of social organization, the show questions the nature of community, whether momentary, geographical, or trans-local, emphasizing the importance of social connection within activist culture.

Virtual communities utilize the language of binary coding; woven and knitted textiles also speak through a two-word vocabulary: knit/purl, warp/weft. The technology of the 18th century Jacquard loom gave rise to punch cards, from which early computers worked. Today, social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and WordPress are used to organize, document, and spread everything from the world’s best pancake recipe to large-scale shutdowns of international banking systems. Craftisvism, the practice of crafting as political activism, is an eloquent tool of the anti-globalization and peace movements. Pulling from familiar and nostalgic memories, craftivists speak accessibly within a traditionally loud and aggressive culture.

Simple structures underlay many complex relationships. Whether gathered in a room of quilters, tagging friends in last night’s photos, or adding to a hot thread, the making of together is a social movement.

Guest Curator Fynn Leitch has an MA in visual culture from Queens University, and is currently Director of Programming at Artspace in Peterborough.