The I_C project was initiated by Maria Jose Ríos and supported by ALMA (The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array), an observatory in Chile located in the Andes Mountains. It is a collaborative project including Maria Jose Ríos, Rigardo Vega from Chile, Shih Wei Chieh from Taiwan and Francesca Piñol from Barcelona. This project aims create a link for the contemporary and the ancient sky from the perspective of combining contemporary astronomy and cultural cosmology to represent the Incan dark constellation with contemporary data visualization in textile format. Further more, we hope this exhibition can be the beginning of the action “the patchwork of our sky”,as the first stop of the I_C project in Taiwan. However in this exhibition it will be mostly Shih Wei Chieh’s part are presented physically, the other works from remote partners will be presented on the project site.
The other branch of this exhibition is about Shih Wei Chieh’s action in another high ground, a greenhouse project in Tibet in 2018. This community aim to provide a sustainable vegetable for a local charity school. An installation is made with the symbiosis of solar technology and plants, as the document for the trip.
Maria Jose Ríos
Each and every one of us currently lives circulating with data and information of all kinds, these being a kind of element that relates and connects directly with the cultural and social environment, becoming part of a process and environment of iconographic reading of the reality, aspect of the data that will be worked on in this project from the textile in connection with the importance of Astronomy and its union with the art and culture that has been given to our territory from the pre-Columbian peoples: the Andean culture and in the Mapuches:
This is how the I_C project proposes in a fundamental way to artistically explore the relationship between astronomy and the textile technique from its cultural value in traditional cultures, together with an exploration and action from the new digital technologies for the visualization of astronomical data, which many are open in ALMA Data Archive, enabling from the fabric made with tools and techniques that will allow (explained and described later): visualize and connect with them from the textile, which also allows a new possibility and support for data visualization, which will be based on the importance for our history and cultural identity, that of the ancient technique of weaving to the loom, continues to this day, but with certain digital, analog and current mechanics.
The loom is a type of tool that enables the creation of information supports, social and daily functions, and is important for the history of computing (the Jacquard loom as the first binary system) and of today's machines. This project focuses on ancestral technologies, explores them creatively to better appreciate the cultures that created this tool with great symbolic and social meaning, an important element of the cultural identity of our territories.
The cosmos is that mega-environment that unites and surrounds us globally, generating a global and interconnected cultural layer, which has happened since the configuration of all the aboriginal peoples of the planet, and that is how this project of a global cooperative nature and local to work with astronomy and data from the textile, a cultural support for the transmission of ancient and global information. Interconnections work in Chile, Taipei (Shih Wei Chieh) and Barcelona weaving and making textiles as data display screens-surfaces. This project aims to generate continuity, projecting into the future with its collaborative and global way of working, which also consists of making known a constellation of interdisciplinary people working at the level of Anthropology, artists, activists, designers and engineering of both materialities and of electronics and hardware.
This project in its great first stage, will be presented online from the ALMA OBSERVATORY channel under the direction of María José Ríos in April 2022 with a date to be agreed, from where the entire work team and invited artists from Taiwan and Barcelona.
This project then, seeks to generate global or interplanetary connectivity about working with data, which in this case is astronomical data, with textiles and new technologies, and from these elements we believe as a project, giving importance to a network of connections global, to be able to visualize a technological technical work, from the techniques used for textiles in Asia and America historically. We know that cultures are different, but there is something that unites us: weaving and textiles as a cultural network and working with data as a cultural element (being Astronomical for this project).
Shih Wei Chieh is an artist known to us who has worked with ancestral tribes (in Asia), has a very complete relationship with artisanal and digital techniques, in addition to also working with data and was very interested in the proposal. Thus, there is also an ALMA regional office in Taiwan, and it is from there that Shih also found a connection and help. Shih Wei Chieh's work is very laborious or elaborate with the data. From Chile, the data was worked out in a more general and simpler way, not so analytically, being data on the chemical composition of the planets of our Solar System and the size of the planets of the same, 2 woven surfaces are being generated by means of machines of Norwegian digital mechanical loom; and this work of Weaving is being executed by Francesca Piñol from Barcelona, which when they are finished will be brought to Chile. So, the project generates this global network of execution and production of work, which shows an ability to connect and form collaborative constellations.
Another part that is carried out in Chile is a general documentation about the importance of textiles as a transmitter of astronomical information for the Andean cultures: Aymara, Incas, Paracas, among others; and also for the Mapuche cultures, all these cultures from South America. This written and video documentation will be online from the website www.triptico.vestibles.cl, section I_C project, and it is not a detailed investigation but was carried out by two artists who have anthropological and archaeological closeness to these cultures and apply them in his most creative work. It is a project that from the archaeological and anthropological point of view is undertaken by artists, not specialists in the area. On the other hand, a digital mechanical loom is being manufactured to play with images digitally and weave them: this part is an even more experimental experience, being this loom manufactured in a domestic way, which will be open source.
Shih Wei Chieh
I was inspired by the combination of smart materials and ethnic culture for the first time during one art residency in Mexico, Oaxaca in 2013. After this experience, I co-organized a science art gathering in Taiwan in 2017 and 2018 with an Atayal community and an e-textile community under the name “Tribe Against Machine”, to create the exchange between traditional crafts and smart materials. In 2020, I curated an online residency program "Having Friends in the Future" with National Taiwan Craftsmanship Research and Design Institute (NTCRI). Numerous artists submitted the open call from United States, France, Israel, South Korea, Chile, Taiwan, Switzerland, China, Italy, and Greece to make online exchange under the idea "crafts commons" with the speculative spirits, in the format of lectures, workshops, swatch exchange and the collective making of a swatch book as an substitute of physical art residency during the pandemic. In 2021, a conceptual platform "3rd Nature Material Library" was proposed as a performative installation and was built in NTCRI, speculated to establish a platform to provide mutual vocabulary to reduce conceptual conflicts and language barriers in trans-disciplinary collaboration. All of these experiences excites my participation in the I_C Project.
I have received the invitation from Maria Jose Rios from Chile, under the frame of data visualization, the task is to establish the connection between the Incan constellation culture and the contemporary astronomical datas. Some preliminary attempts can be seen in this exhibition in Taipei, such as the implementation of ADQL (Astronomy Data Query Language) was used as the modern “skymark” of the region of the Incan dark constellation in sky.
The Laser Dye Project aims to establish the connection between the alternative photography and coding art. Permanent images are develped on natural textiles by utilizing a programmable DIY laser projector and the oldest photography process, "cyanotype". This optical process offers the possibility to exposure large image on sewn garments or relatively fragile and slightly uneven surfaces by the omitting of the negative film in the conventional process. In this project, all generated laser dye graphical patterns are converted from celestials datas extracted from Gaia Archive.