The starting point for Spindle is the link between two seemingly disparate domains: digital technology and weaving. This link is found in the punched card, an invention that made industrial weaving in the 1800s more efficient and complex. The punched card later formed the inspiration for the first programmable computer — designed partly by the mathematician Ada Lovelace, being the first female computer programmer. So weaving can be considered the earliest binary technology. As a thread goes either up or down, it carries zero’s and one’s just as the digital language.
In Spindle the archetypal weaver — a Spider — converses with an Artificial Intelligence. They speak about the history and future of technology, about the importance of mystery versus information, about the lost traces of textile history — and with it of women’s work… And all the while the Spider weaves her web and the AI tries to imitate and to intimidate her.
All this is visualised in an intricate universe made up of a giant loom — or is it a primitive computer? — threads, knots, spools and other contraptions reminiscent of the textile field.
As in earlier work Oona Libens uses several kinds of projection techniques, shadows and light effects to create an ephemeral yet tactile, audiovisual experience – as fleeting as the data that flows around us.