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ISEA2015: The 21st International Symposium on Electronic Art
Friday, August 14 • 9:30am - 5:30pm
T00 Hacking the Knitting Machine

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Textiles are the original digital medium. After all, the Luddites were named for artisans that protested against the mechanization of textile production in 17th century England. Unlike their predecessors, today’s Luddites are associated with a distaste for the virtuality of modern devices. However, with the arrival of the Internet of Things, ushered in by affordable 3D printing, it’s becoming clear that the technologist need not choose between digital and actual. Machine knitting is a great example of this overlap.

Taylor Hokanson and Dieter Kirkwood will demonstrate a useful modification, originally exploited by Davi Post and Becky Stern, to the Brother KH-930e knitting machine. These devices were originally released in the 1980s, so they are available relatively inexpensively on sites like eBay. The KH-930e features an early digital input capability, meaning that users could purchase patterns to communicate to the device via floppy disk. Hokanson and Kirkwood will demonstrate how to spoof this connection, upload custom patterns, and “print” them into actual knit shapes.

avatar for Taylor Hokanson

Taylor Hokanson

Assistant Professor, Columbia College Chicago
Talk to me about Art/Design, Computer-Aided Manufacturing and Fabrication, Open Source Software/Hardware, Distributed Authorship, Making/Hacking, New Media, and post-Bauhaus arts education... and knitting.
avatar for Dieter Kirkwood

Dieter Kirkwood

Assistant Professor, Columbia College Chicago
Fashion, Design, Patternmaking, Collaboration, and The Intersection of Craft and Technology

Friday August 14, 2015 9:30am - 5:30pm PDT
Room 4945 Simon Fraser University (Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, 149 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 1H4, Canada)

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