Freddie Robins: Conrad
I’ve just watched a presentation by Freddie Robins, subversive master knitter from the UK. She teaches at the Royal College of Art in London, and does wonderfully “wrong” things with knitting. One of her pieces uses an aleatory system for deciding what to knit. She has promised that she will send a description of her system so that I can blog it.
Knitting is very obviously a generative art. Keep in mind that Jaquard’s card-controlled Loom was an inspiration to Babbage’s work on computing machines. Even though ruled by patterns, repetition and large machines, the world of knitting is traditionally female-dominated. While potentially high-tech (through the use of computer-controlled knitting machines), knitting is often a comfortingly lo-fi activity, with great potential for human expression and humor (as Freddie’s work shows…)
And if you think the comparison to programming is phony, have a look at Freddie’s pattern for the Conrad glove: Knit a Work of Art from a Free Pattern. It looks a lot harder than programming cellular automata…
Another project dealing with knitting as a source of subversion and mischief is Cat Mazza’s MicroRevolt, which has the great KnitPro application for translating digital images into knit, needlepoint, x-stitch and crochet patterns.