Patrick Lichty

Artist
Educator
Writer
Activist

The Digital Tapestry Project continues my exploration of notions of materiality, craft, authorship, and the boundaries between the digital and physical. As of November, 2013, there are about 15 in the series, including sub-series like the 404 triptych, and the AR Tapestries.

 

These works tie into many other bodies of work, like 8 Bits or Less, the Globalist Realism Project, and my AR explorations as an associate member of the collective Manifest.AR. Each panel is a 60"x80" digital Jacquard woven tapestry made of dyed cotton thread.

 

I was originally inspired by the history of the tapestry as a monumental symbol, such as the Bayeux Tapestry's chronicle of the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and the Tapestry's subsequent creation and display in a cathedral as a function of power. As a matter of craft, I have been interested in the technology of digital Jacquard looms since I first saw one at Eastern Michigan University in 2005 and the history of Jacquard technology as the first industrial digital technology.

 

The adoption of the Jacquard loom in the early 1800's ignited some of the first controversies of labor, craftsmanship, and mechanization through the Luddites and the Saboteurs, and is relevant to the conversations of digital fabrication and elimination of labor through mechanization today. In addition, these tapestries call into question the ancient practice of the artist's atelier, and networked Free Market capitalism, as these pieces are outsourced through photo departments of many big-box retailers, such as Wal-Mart and Meier, who then subcontract to a loom in North Carolina run by Innovative Concepts, Inc.

 

Specifically, each tapestry has been an experiment in mediation/embedding (AR series), digital formalism/translation (Glitch Tapestries) online culture (404), global culture (My Day Your Night), and embodied materialism (La Cura).

 

Therefore, while the Digital Tapestry project shares a certain workflow and fabrication set, each questions the cultural context related to its form and history through each iteration.

 

All are 60"hx80"x unless otherwise specified.

 

This body of work has also been funded in part by the Illinois Arts Council, for which I am deeply Grateful.