What does a 19th century loom have to do with computer programming? In the eyes – and in practice – of artist Beryl Korot, the answer is: a lot. In fact, the pioneering video artist made the Jacquard loom, invented in 1804, the first computer because of its ability to program patterns using punched cards. An exhibition currently on view at Bitforms Gallery in Manhattan, titled “Rethinking Threads”, traces the artist’s artistic journey by drawing connections between art and technology.
The exhibition also references Korot’s earlier works, including his 2007 piece Babel: The seven-minute scroll. In an exclusive interview with Art21 filmed in 2010, the artist discussed the work, which references ancient text using contemporary technology.
“I guess I’ve always had an attitude towards technology that the more intimate you are with the tools you get, the more you can tell your story,” Korot explained. “And so I decided to do a scroll, in a sense, on the computer based on the story of the Tower of Babel.” Using letters of the alphabet, pictograms and her own visual language, the artist creates her own narrative while probing the history of communication.
“For me as an artist, I’m interested, in a way, in moving beyond my self-expression into things that appeal to me personally, that also tell my story,” the artist told Art21. “What is my connection to other moments in time. Past. Gift. Old tools. New tools.
Watch the video, which originally appeared as part of Art21’s series extended play, below. “Beryl Korot: Rethinking Threads” is on view at Bitforms Gallery until November 26, 2022.
This is an episode of “Art on Video”, a collaboration between Artnet News and Art21 that brings you clips from artists who are making the news. A new season of the flagship series of the Art21 association Art in the 21st century is now available on PBS. Watch all episodes of other series, like New York close up and Extended gameand discover the organization’s educational programs on Art21.org.
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