What are the historical and theoretical points at which the practice of weaving and computer programming connect? What insights can be gained if we bring these activities together, through live-shared experience? How do digital technologies influence our ways of making?

We pursue these questions in the Weaving Codes- Coding Weaves project, by investigating patterns from the perspectives of weaving and music, and by developing a computer language and code for describing the construction of weaves. Ancient looms in this context are seen as early digital art machines that prefigured concepts of dyadic arithmetic and logic.

Our team will take a collaborative, interdisciplinary approach, grounding live coding research in craft and in new social and pedagogic contexts, and developing research into the mathematics of weaving with key impacts realised in public understanding of ancient technologies.

By connecting live coding with weaving we have the opportunity to explore how mathematical thinking can be exposed in activities which are generally thought of as solitary. Our explorations will include creating a programming language designed for describing the complex patterned structures of woven threads, and using it to drive computer-controlled looms.

We chose the word Kairotic for this website in sympathy with Emma Cocker’s article Live Notation – Reflections on a Kairotic Practice, which connects weaving and coding in time.

This project is funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Digital Transformations Amplification award, and will run for 18 months, from September 2014.

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