Artists Christy Matson and Sabrina Gschwandtner weave together traditional textile work with electronic components in a new exhibition at the Hyde Park Art Center called Bionic Threads. As the two mediums merge together in both artists’ work, a new light is shed on the influence of traditional materials on modern new media art making. Inversely, Bionic Threads transports the natural and organic texture of textiles into a digital and mechanical environment where the symmetrical patterns found in fabric making are accentuated beyond their conventional norms.
Matson uses a traditional Jacquard handloom, weaving together cotton threads and copper wire that are then connected to electrical circuits, effectively creating the weaving into working antennae. Connected to mounted speakers, the embedded antennae respond to the viewer’s approach and touch by playing a musical score generated by the weaving’s patterns.
Gschwandtner’s implements a slide projector to enlarge and animate a series of slides that are stitched and sewn with string. The projector’s fan and lens act as mechanical manipulators of the image, blowing the threads unpredictably while the lens struggles to focus the slide. The result of both artists’ work presents an innovative approach to the limitations of fabric and textile work, especially how those limitations can be broken, tangled, and torn to shreds.
About Christy Matson
Christy Matson’s work is the result of her 2006 artist-in-residency at the Experimental Sound Studio in Chicago. She received her MFA from the California College of the Arts in 2005 and is currently an Assistant Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
About Sabrina Gschwandtner
Sabrina Gschwandtner is an artist, curator, and writer working in New York City. She has recently exhibited at The Museum of Arts and Design in New York (2007) and The Images Festival in Toronto, Canada (2007).