The ancient art of weaving goes digital at London Transport Museum from 22 November. Visitors to the Museum will be able to see weavers in action, as they interpret the work of artists and designers into digital woven textile prototypes on a state-of-the-art digital jacquard loom.
Between November 2016 and February 2017, London Transport Museum will be highlighting the importance and potential of woven textiles to the London Transport system, through a programme called Weaving Futures, curated by design industry experts Philippa Brock and Samuel Plant Dempsey
Resident artists and designers have been invited to respond to a brief; exploring the role of textiles in modern transport now and in the future. They will focus on ‘untapped’ sources of data generated by, or helpful to, the transport system. Their responses will then be interpreted into woven textiles, live for museum visitors.
Creative responses will span from future speculations on data capture and its textile use, to new methods of digitising human interactions, to creative interpretations and visualisations of existing TfL data sets. Artistic approaches will include drawing, photography, film, sound, mark-making and model making. Designology Studio residents include:
- Wallace Sewell; designers of contemporary Moquette seating fabric for Transport for London – 22 and 26 November
- Assemble; Turner Prize winning collective of artists, architects and designers – 06 and 08 December
- Camira; producers of London’s best known urban fabrics, including a million meters of Moquette a year – 09 and 10 December
- Gainsborough Weaving; a company with 100 years of successive weaving experience – 13 and 14 December
- Research collaboration with Brock, Dempsey and Veja; combined experts in woven jacquard and haptics, industrial product design and woven e-textiles, wearable technology and smart textiles – 25, 26 and 30 January
- BeatWoven; avant-garde designers who use song and sound to create their textile designs – 9 and 10 February
Other designers include – Eleanor Pritchard, Ismini Samanidou, Linda Florence, Josephine Ortega, Rare Threads, Studio Houndstooth, Takram and Textile design degree students from Central Saint Martins, University of The Arts London.
The Weaving Futures Data and Transport brief given to artists explores the significance of Jacquard loom weaving beyond textiles, looking at how the Jacquard loom punch card system led to the development of computers and digital data, and how these have affected transport systems as a whole.
The season will also bring to the fore London’s most loved urban fabric – moquette. Many people who have travelled on the London transport network will be familiar with the patterned seating fabric on Tube trains, buses, DLR, the London Overground and Croydon Tramlink, but they may not know of its rich history as integral to the design of the capitial’s public transport since the 1920s. Derived from the French word for carpet, moquette is a type of woven pile fabric, in which cut or uncut threads form a short dense cut or loop pile. As well as giving it a distinctive velvet-like feel, the pile construction is particularly durable, and ideally suited to applications such as public transport.
Digital Weaving Norway has sponsored the installation of a TC2 Digital jacquard loom for the duration of the exhibition. The programme is also supported by Camira and The Worshipful Company of Weavers and Pointcarre.
Weaving Futures events will take place every week in the Museum’s pop-up Designology Studio from 22 November until 18 February. All day-time events are drop-in and free to attend with the annual London Transport Museum admission ticket. There is also a Late Debate on the evening of 26 January 2017.
The Designology studio and Late Debate series of events, including Weaving Futures, are part of London Transport Museum and Transport for London’s Transported by Design season which is supported by Exterion Media. The 18 month programme of events and exhibitions explores good design on the transport network and its role in the lives of the millions of customers who use it each day.
Venue: London Transport Museum, Covent Garden Piazza, WC2E 7BB.
For more information on the season and its events, visit London Transport Museum.