Post-apocalyptic Weaving

Residency project with Emma Wood
Latvia / 2017

In summer 2017 I had the pleasure to stay again at an artist residency at the Interdisciplinary art group SERDE in Aizpute, Latvia. This time my friend Emma, who is a professional weaver, and I studied the synthesis of electro-trash and weaving. We combined our forces to make loom prototypes out of the mechanical and electronic parts of discarded devices.

In addition to the fantastic Latvian weaving culture, an apocalyptic scenario served as our inspiration: a future world, where we are surrounded by only electro-trash. We wanted to combine this scenario with the age-old principles of weaving and rural resourcefulness, which can help to survive in harsh circumstances. Although looms have become hi-tech through industrialisation and accelerating mass production, the basic design of these useful machines that also inspired programming have remained largely the same. Our aim was to explore these principles in the context of electro-waste by building loom prototypes.

The locals at Aizpute donated us plenty of abandoned devices to work with: old fax machines, printers, computers, cassette players and a telephone, to mention a few. Some looked like they were from the recent decades while others were definitely older Soviet era gadgets with cool, gigantic circuit boards. After investigating and dismantling a pile of this electro-waste we decided to built two looms. I made a rotary-telephone inspired “Happy time” loom and Emma built an “Apocaloom” from the remains of various machines. The former, which is documented here, plays cheerful melodies as the weaver keeps on weaving by lifting the receiver of the telephone.

So far we’ve managed to use only a fraction of the little electro-wasteland that we created at SERDE, so if you are interested, there is plenty more waiting out there for post-apocalyptic tinkerers to explore!

Special thanks to the wonderful SERDE people Signe, Ugis, Ance, Trine and our co-residents. We’d also like to dearly thank our local weaving master Laima, who is always eager to tell about weaving and demonstrate the magnificent, over 100 years old punch card loom at the Aizpute weaving studio.

In summer 2017 I had the pleasure to stay again at an artist residency at the Interdisciplinary art group SERDE in Aizpute, Latvia. This time my friend Emma, who is a professional weaver, and I studied the synthesis of electro-trash and weaving. We combined our forces to make loom prototypes out of the mechanical and electronic parts of discarded devices.

In addition to the fantastic Latvian weaving culture, an apocalyptic scenario served as our inspiration: a future world, where we are surrounded by only electro-trash. We wanted to combine this scenario with the age-old principles of weaving and rural resourcefulness, which can help to survive in harsh circumstances. Although looms have become hi-tech through industrialisation and accelerating mass production, the basic design of these useful machines that also inspired programming have remained largely the same. Our aim was to explore these principles in the context of electro-waste by building loom prototypes.

The locals at Aizpute donated us plenty of abandoned devices to work with: old fax machines, printers, computers, cassette players and a telephone, to mention a few. Some looked like they were from the recent decades while others were definitely older Soviet era gadgets with cool, gigantic circuit boards. After investigating and dismantling a pile of this electro-waste we decided to built two looms. I made a rotary-telephone inspired “Happy time” loom and Emma built an “Apocaloom” from the remains of various machines. The former, which is documented here, plays cheerful melodies as the weaver keeps on weaving by lifting the receiver of the telephone.

So far we’ve managed to use only a fraction of the little electro-wasteland that we created at SERDE, so if you are interested, there is plenty more waiting out there for post-apocalyptic tinkerers to explore!

Special thanks to the wonderful SERDE people Signe, Ugis, Ance, Trine and our co-residents. We’d also like to dearly thank our local weaving master Laima, who is always eager to tell about weaving and demonstrate the magnificent, over 100 years old punch card loom at the Aizpute weaving studio.