A blank(et) canvas for the Native People of the Americas

OCTOBER 28th, 2012 - FEBRUARY 24th, 2013 @ PMCA 

Encoded Textiles creates hand-woven, large-scale tapestries that combine contemporary bar codes, indigenous design methods, the stories of native peoples. I begin by interviewing (and video-recording) members of the Mapuche community of Southern Chile and collecting their traditional stories, poems, and first-person narratives.  Using software that translates words into barcode patters, I will encode these native stories as bar code patterns and have the patterns woven by indigenous weavers. The conversion of a poem or piece of spoken history into a high-tech bar code, and then its re-conversion back to a traditional weaving, represents the creation of an innovative cultural artifact that celebrates and revives traditional art forms. Alongside each tapestry will be a flat screen displaying a 10-minute documentary about the individual whose words are encoded in the textile itself.  Encoded Textiles will open at the Pasadena Museum of Art in October 2012.  By combining high-tech soft-ware and industrial processes with indigenous arts and loom techniques, and by translating ancient narratives into modern tapestries, I hope to highlight the struggles of indigenous peoples attempting to restore their culture in a globalized world.


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