Amandine David @amandine__david

Weaving code

handicraft, digital crafts
weaving, coding, 3D-printing

Weaving code is located at the crossroad of three craft techniques: handweaving, programming and 3D-printing.
    As 3D-printing technology spreads so rapidly and uniformly the world, it is perceived as a global tool both colonizing and excluding means of production from local communities, erasing identities. Could we shift the perception of this technology by linking it with craft techniques embedded for long into human culture such as weaving?
    Programming language made of 0s and 1s finds its origin in the automation of looms, where punch cards generating the patterns bore either a hole or flat surface. On a computer screen, the lines made of 0s and 1s are mathematical abstractions for those who don’t read this language. Their logics seem depraved from any poetry, humanity or relation to any context. This abstraction of coding can be a risk as it generates distance with a language that also carries social biases and human responsibility of decision making.
    I aim to research the historical and cultural origins of weaving patterns to instill new meanings into coding language and computer assisted fabrication techniques, such as 3D-printing. As we understand handcrafts as emerging from a context, its constraints and opportunities, can we use this understanding to change our perception of digital crafts?
    Weaving code aims to link the cultural meaning and mathematical aesthetics of computer assisted creation. By linking the stories embedded in weaving patterns with programmable content, it aims to offer alternative interpretations of technology at large.
Research developped
within FORMAT research program at Z33.

mentoring by

Taeyoon Choi
Artist, researcher and co-founder at SFPC

Jesse Howard
Designer, researcher

Emile de Visscher
Designer, PHD researcher

The purpose is to develop new relationships between the existing techniques of hand weaving and 3D-printing. By inventing tools and enriching languages at the crossroad of those techniques, I aim to generate new fabrication possibilities for practitioners and explore how 3D-printing and weaving be connected through the construction of meaningful language and aesthetics.
    The fabrication of textile relies on weaving patterns, which define how the warp and weft will be assembled. There are multitudes of weaving patterns, each of them holding its own geographical and historical origin. Their structure was originally shaped by the available material, the limitations of the looms and the purpose of the fabric that was produced.
    Those patterns are usually represented by a mathematical assembly of black or white squares (or 0s and 1s).
    When I weave, pushing the shafts to lift up the frames, I generate information, ups and downs, gestures that can be transmitted to a computer as it speaks the same language made of binary codes. As I know the original function of a woven code as satin, I can define which commands will be triggered through this specific combination of 0s and 1s, and decide what outcome should be 3D-printed.

By collecting datas from the weaving gestures, and communicating it to the computer and 3D modeling software, the action and decisions of the craftsmen are enhanced. Not only they will produce a unique piece of textile, they will also generate specific 3D-printed pieces meant to be connected to it.
    The craftsman is in charge of every steps of the production of the woven/3D-printed object, and can change their mind at every stage of the process. Eventually, the code linking the loom to the 3D-printer would be shaped by each practitioners, influenced by their goals, knowledges and habits and by the cultural and social environment their practice contributes to.
    Weaving code aims to make tangible the idea that bringing programming in production processes doesn’t mean erasing human control or craft masteries. It proposes to unite invention and fabrication in a single enhanced gesture.