Robin Kang’s vivid fiber art examines our relationship with technology, both traditional and new. Active Circuit, commissioned by Arts Brookfield, presents nine weavings whose colorful patterns are inspired by vintage computer circuitry from the 1970’s and 80’s. Kang describes these weavings as chips or components of information hardware. Each chip is activated by the energy of viewers passing through the exhibition. Activation in this instance, however, becomes spiritual rather than physical. Each individual chip is matched to one of these virtues: courage, wisdom, faith, compassion, ethics, patience, diligence, justice, love. Just as circuits require electric current to operate, electric current is inherent to the functions of our bodies. Kang deepens our relationship to the rapidly advancing technologies that surround us, drawing us closer to these parallels.
She writes that the installation will create “electromagnetic energy that will refresh, restore, reprogram, or simply recharge anyone who activates the current.” By allowing ourselves to pass through and become part of a circuit pattern imbued with virtue, we will receive an energetic affirmation, a signal. In this way, Kang explores technology as a potentially positive extension of ourselves. Active Circuit presents a unique space to pause and contemplate how we as creators and users of technology can channel positive energy. Walking through this labyrinth of weavings we are challenged to think of the ways our intentions can change the shape of our world.
– Tom Kotik, Curator
ABOUT ROBIN KANG
Inspired by her southwestern upbringing, Robin Kang reinterprets the tradition of weaving within a contemporary context. Utilizing a digitally operated Jacquard handloom, the contemporary version of the first binary operated machine and argued precursor to the invention of the computer, she hand weaves tapestries that combine ancient symbolism, computer-related imagery, and digital mark making. The juxtaposition of textiles with electronics opens an interesting conversation of reconciling the old with the new, traditions with new possibilities, as well as the relationship between textiles, symbols, language, and memory. Kang has exhibited throughout the US, Canada, Spain, Belgium, France, Austria, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia. Recent institutional shows include the Queens Museum, the Essl Museum, John Michael Kohler Arts Center, U.S Embassy in Saudi Arabia and Brooklyn Academy of Music, among others. She has participated in artist residencies in Texas, Michigan, Massachusetts, and Beijing. Kang is the founder and director of Penelope, an artist-run project space in Ridgewood, Queens, and also an Adjunct Professor in the Fiber and Material Studies Department at Tyler School of Art, teaching courses in digital weaving and fabric dyeing.