No. 26 — Anni Albers 🧵 Weaving 🧶 LOL memory
My name is Linda. I write a bi-weekly newsletter about computer science, childhood and culture - and there are 9661 of you listening. If you enjoy this issue, please share it with anyone you think may find it useful.
It’s been a fall of old connections. I first learned about the work of Anni Albers through the Woven Circuits interview between Taeyoon Choi and Shannon Mattern back in 2019. Now City of Paris Modern Museum of Art had an exhibition dedicated to both Anni and Joseph Albers.
Anni Albers worked in the medium of textiles, often bound by an engineers grid, but with creativity, rhythm and almost linguistic character. I love Anni’s quiet, steadfast work, that asks the materials to dictate and artist to listen.
“All art starts with a material, and therefore we have first to investigate what it can do… Respect the material—use it in a way that makes sense — preserve its inherent characteristics” says Anni.
I find this true in of all of my work, too.
In computer science, a linked list is a linear collection of data elements whose order is not given by their physical placement in memory. But here it is a selection of things I’ve been reading lately.
Anni and Joseph had strong identities as educators. They took up the pedagogical principles of Bauhaus and turned them into something that still resonates today. Together with artists, sociologist, dancers, mathematicians and architects they formed Black Mountain College. I became a supporting member during the pandemic (had wanted to visit!) and the museum offers a lot of interesting virtual programming.
The worlds of craft and computers share a common ancestor, the Jacquard loom. “The Analytical Engine weaves algebraic patterns, just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves” stated Ada Lovelace famously. However I had not known of core rope memory and it being referred to as LOL memory, referencing the “Little Old Ladies” who assembled the computers. In more recent times, for Elisabetta Matsumoto, knot theory is knit theory. (Anni Albers, too, worked on knots!)
Material objects engage multiple senses.
Material objects promote shared attention.
Material objects elicit gesture.
Material objects generate interactivity.
I’m reading through Juhani Pallasmaa’s The Thinking hand and this essay on (remote) teaching and role of material objects grasps something profound.
I’m hoping to surface and share stories from all of you and I’d love to see your creations! Here are a few educators and parents using Ruby in creative, fun and inspiring ways.
More computers! I love the labelling with string and pieces of paper.
If you’re curious to try out this activity, go here.
Everyone deserves a celebratory brooch!
Public events, workshops and presentations.