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Tight Knit Protest

By Rhizome

An exhibition entitled 'Radical Lace and Subversive Knitting' may sound like a far cry from a new media exhibition, but this show at New York's Museum of Arts & Design offers plenty to consider for those interested in digital culture. Twenty-seven artists are included in the show, which comes at a time when performative, situational, protest-oriented work is calling upon the art world to rethink its very conception of 'media.' Historically, both lace and knitting have a direct relationship to computation and programming, and they continue to inform each other not only in the development of hobbyists' patterns, but also in the practice of artists like Niels van Eijk, Sabrina Gschwandtner, Yoshiki Hishinuma, Cat Mazza, and Freddie Robins. Their work is often created with the assistance of new technologies, while simultaneously commenting on the status of individuals (namely, workers and other political subjects) in an increasingly technological society. This is directly fleshed-out in Mazza's Knitoscope, 'computer software that translates video images into knitted images to educate about sweatshop labor;' and is also implicit in Gschwandtner's use of the 'participatory' knitting circle as a context for the discussion of war and the military's own use of machinery. The show is up through June 17 and features a full catalogue and extensive online documentation. - Marisa Olson

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