This is a story about women’s work – where it is valued and where it is not, where it is seen and where it is hidden.
This piece is part of a research project exploring the development and histories of gendered labour and knowledge through the framing of women’s work within the domestic realm, its ties to computing, and tensions between art and craft.
Loose threads invites you to lie on the bed beneath a canopy made by my Nonna, touch the blue stitching on the quilt to listen to my mother tell stories of women in our family, and watch a projection from Tasmania, Australia of a near identical quilt made by my mother in the process of teaching me how to make the one in the space.
The quilt is patched with printed images of women contributing to the history of computing – collected from the feminist server AnarachaServer – and of women from in my family. The design is based on an Anni Albers’ wall hanging and includes an IBM punch card pattern encoded with a quote from the first computer programmer, Ada Lovelace:
“We may say most aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns just as the Jacquard loom weaves flowers and leaves.”
The work includes a performance. I am wearing my Nonna’s clothes – which she made before she migrated to Australia – and crocheting an orange for each visitor.