Visual Culture Program - "Encoded Textiles"
In this interdisciplinary two-person panel, world-renowned artist Abdoulaye Konaté and innovative human-centered designer and scholar Daniela Rosner show the thought-provoking connections between engineering and traditional craftwork. Rosner's research tells the story of the "little old ladies" of NASA. Their expertise in craftwork enabled them to expertly weave NASA's core memory storage for the Apollo 8 mission's computer system. Konaté, whose work was featured in the 2017 Venice Biennale and is collected in major museums around the world, works with woven and dyed cloths native to his country Mali. He will share his work showing that textiles, like computer systems, are repositories of information. These thinkers and makers together will explore the important role cultural traditions take in obtaining scientific and social knowledge.
Rosner's research investigates the marginalized histories of technology development, from maintenance to needlecraft. She is an NSF CAREER award recipient and former design researcher at Microsoft Research, Adobe Systems, and Nokia Research. Her book Critical Fabulations investigates new relationships between design's past and the future of technology and social responsibility (MIT Press, 2018).
Konaté's beautiful textile-based installations consider war, the struggle for power, religion, globalization, ecological shifts and the AIDS epidemic. Employing woven and dyed cloths native to Mali, he uses textiles as a means of commemoration and communication. Konaté is currently participating in the 13th Havana Biennial.
About the Visual Culture Program
Caltech's visual culture program, which is funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and based in the Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS), features new undergraduate course offerings, guest lecturers, and other programming to foster conversations between humanists and scientists. Its activities are organized by HSS and other Caltech faculty in collaboration with scholars at The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.