Curated by Tom Kotik
Artist Robin Kang explores the connections between contemporary technology and the history of textile fabrication and manufacturing. Incorporating graphics drawn from both circuit boards and patterns reminiscent of ancient weaving traditions, Kang’s work points to the influence that weaving technologies have had on the development of modern computing. From the influence that French weaver and merchant Joseph Marie Jacquard’s punch card system—developed for his loom—had on the creation of early computers, to the hand-woven copper wires found on early memory storage hardware, Kang visualizes how our current technological landscape is closely linked to the history of weaving. In addition to her artistic practice, Kang has researched the connections between ancient textiles and sacred traditions, leading her to apprentice with Mayan, Quechua, and Amazonian textile artisans and wisdom keepers.
Motherboard Meditation, a new work commissioned by Arts Brookfield for the TATA Innovation Center on Roosevelt Island, is inspired by the ways knowledge can be recorded in patterns, both in weaving itself and embedded in the ritual process of creating textiles. Kang utilizes shapes found on contemporary audio equipment circuits that have striking similarities to ancient textile motifs. In these motifs she seeks to create her own mythic motherboard tapestry design, one that envisions a fusion of new technologies with a deep understanding of sacred practices and their harmonious existence with nature. This understanding can guide us as we navigate the environmental challenges of our ever-changing digital world.
ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Robin Kang has studied ancient textile techniques with Mayan, Quechua, and Scandinavian weavers and has been initiated into the Amazonian Shipibo tradition to learn their mystical textile techniques. Kang holds a MFA from SAIC and is a recipient of the 2017 NYFA Fellowship in Craft/Sculpture. She has exhibited throughout the US, Canada, Spain, Belgium, Berlin, London, 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’s work has been highlighted in ARTnews, ARTINFO, Collect Magazine, The Chicago Tribune, Hyperallergic, and Brooklyn Magazine, among others.