Take Me to Another World
Charlotte Johannesson (Malmö, 1943), is a textile artist and digital graphic art pioneer, showing the conceptual synchrony between traditional handlooms and early computer systems.
For Johannessons retrospective Take Me to Another World at Reina Sofía we collaborated on creating a series of ‘woven digital graphics’: a series of weavings that loop back to the transition performed by Charlotte when she in the late 1970s swapped her loom for an Apple II Plus, one of the first PCs launched on the market.
When I was introduced to Charlotte’s work by the curators of the exhibition Lars Bang Larsen an Mats Stjernstedt I was immediately fascinated by figures and motifs that recurred in her work across time and different media: loom, floppy disc, lace, printing, painting, and so on. It gave me the idea to a circular type of production with no beginning and end, and I speculated if this loop or spiral could be extended by weaving Charlotte’s digital works.
I applied for a joint residency for Charlotte and myself at Statens Værksteder, a studio program in Copenhagen where they have a TC1 – a digital loom controlled by a single thread. In the course of two months we weaved 20 new works that took their point of departure in some of the first digital graphics that Charlotte created at the end of the 1970s.There were figures that we knew from the start had to be included: the Human avatar, Mickey Mouse, the camel, the spliff… Some of the new woven digital graphics – as Charlotte ended up calling them – are direct translations of original digital files, others are composed by combining different digital graphics and adding new text, for instance ‘the Brain is wider than the sky’ or ‘REFLEX’. Charlotte chose the colors of the yarn and went for lighter hues than the original files that were in magenta, blue, green, orange, black and white. The format of the woven digital graphics is also a direct translation of the number of pixels that compose the original digital files.