Interweaving Poetic Code

Handmade Computers: 8bit RAM

Distributed Web of Care, Garden.local
Distributed Web of Care

CHAT(Centre for Heritage, Arts and Textile)
May 1- July 18. 2021

Artistic Director: Taeyoon Choi
Curator: Takahashi Mizuki
Aarati Akkapeddi
Andreas Angelidakis
Laura Devendorf
Christine Sun Kim
Amor Munoz
Rebirth Garments

Interweaving Poetic Code explores textile, poetry and computer code. Warp and weft, knit and purl, Zero and One; the history of textile and code are closely related. 

Coding is an intentional practice of building worlds and exploring possibilities. It describes the logic of nature and our societies. It is a secret language we use to communicate with, listen to, love and understand others. Computer code was initially developed for military and scientific research, and is sometimes used as a tool of oppression and surveillance. Today, code is underneath all technology, in software and hardware, used as an industrial tool for automation. When interwoven across the world, it becomes the Internet. 

‘The Jacquard loom, programmable by punched cards when it appeared in the early 19th century, weaves together the histories of textiles and computation. Entangled in those two histories are a number of shared concerns, including the tension between craft and automation, formula and experimentation, technique and expression; the influence of new tools and industry demands; and the knotting together of manual and intellectual labour.’ (Shannon Mattern, Woven Circuits: An Interview with Taeyoon Choi4

What is poetry’s relationship with code and textile? The words ‘text’ and ‘texture’ share a common lineage, stemming from the Latin texere, meaning to weave. The creation of textile, poetry and code are based on instruction, abstraction and repetition. They share a powerful transformative quality: turning information into an object, experience or interaction. In textiles, poetry and code, individual and static elements are configured into patterns for ‘emergent’ structures, a term inspired by Adrienne Maree Brown’s Emergent Strategies1. Their transformative quality reminds us that we are able to shape change and care. What are the ways you would like to shape change today?  

There’s a pleasure that is felt through the process of writing and reading poetry. The word poetry comes from the Greek word poiesis, which means to create or give form. Sym-poiesis, a term inspired by Donna Haraway’s Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene2, is to give the experience of co-creating in symbiotic, interdependent ways. In this exhibition, we co-create our language with collaborators and community. Interweaving Poetic Code exhibition and programmes explore the seamful connections between the textual, textural, communal, environmental and celestial, through weaving (Laura Devendorf and Amor Munoz), drawing (Christine Sun Kim), Artificial Intelligence (Aarati Akkapeddi), simulation (Andreas Angelidakis), circuit-bending, stitching and knitting (KOBAKANT) and tailoring (Rebirth Garments), focusing on connecting the CHAT community with a global network of artists.

Interweaving Poetic Code is a woven net of artistic and technological exploration, self-initiated research, documentation of socially engaged practices and an invitation for visitors to experience the poetry of code and textile. Conceived in the fall of 2018, the exhibition and programmes were developed over a two-year period by Taeyoon Choi and his collaborators─featuring artists’ original artworks, community-driven projects and new site-specific commissions by CHAT. The project involves Hong Kong community members in its design and production process. We collaborated with disabled communities, including the students of the Ebenezer School and Home for the Visually Impaired in Hong Kong, with care.  

Care, in contrast to Control or Cure (which is modelled by the medical industrial complex), is an ecosystem of support created through communication, contemplation, understanding, engagement, action and accountability. Care is extending one’s mindfulness while respecting the inherent power and determination of a living or non-living being. This aspect of care has been primarily shaped by Deaf, disabled, queer, trans, femme, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), low-income, undocumented and intergenerational communities who cannot rely on the state for support, and who experience a disproportionate amount of demand for the labour of care. This is modelled by Disability Justice activists, who recognise the intersections of disability, race, sexuality, class, gender, age and other identity markers. Disability is the most human condition that we all may experience, as Mia Mingus wrote in Changing the Framework: Disability Justice5. Inspired by Radical Love Consciousness, a revolutionary collective that believes in ‘love as technology –  a purposeful, solution-oriented application of care’6, we recognise ‘care as technology’. Their tenacity and creativity inspire everyone to learn to ‘care for’ one another.  

We can learn from the patience of weavers─the present is an ever-expansive continuation of the past. We can learn from storytellers─the past can be re-configured to change the present. To borrow Saidiya Hartman’s concept of telling alternate histories to imagine more equitable futures, we can ‘critically fabulate3’ technology that is not based on exploitation, but instead towards care and the preservation of the earth for future generations. 

The exhibition and programmes ask the following questions: How do we shape positive change? How do we care for our worlds, guided by our affects, our bodies, in alignment with our community, the earth, the universe, for emergent processes? Considering the rapid changes in our worlds due to social transformation and the pandemic,and the essential role of code in our worlds, Interweaving Poetic Code invites the Hong Kong audience and international participants to interweave their past, present and future. 


  1. Brown, Adrienne Maree, 2017, Emergent Strategies, Akpress,viewed 29 March 2021, < >.
  2. Donna Haraway, 2016, Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene, Dukeupress, viewed 29 March 2021, < >.
  3. Hartman, Saidiya, 2008, Venus in Two Acts, Muse, viewed 29 March 2021,< >.
  4. Mattern, Shannon, 2019, Woven Circuits: An Interview with Taeyoon Choi, Wordsinspace, viewed 29 March 2021, < >.
  5. Mingus, Mia, 2011, Changing the Framework: Disability Justice,Leavingevidence, viewed 29 March 2021, < >.
  6. Radical Love Consciousness Mission Statement, Patreon, viewed 29 March 2021, < >.

Taeyoon Choi Studio

Project manager: Jaemin Shin 申才珉 

Producer: Suhyun Choi 崔秀炫

Textile Specialist: Ye Seom Ahn 安YeSeom

Graphic Designer: Yena Yoo 兪藝那


New York/ Sub 9(Jingwen Zhu 朱静文, Yingjie Bei 贝英杰), Cezar Mocan

Seoul/ Donghoon Yi 李東訓

Seoul Video Production: Sonongji 小農地 (Jongchul Lee 李宗哲, Yeonkeun Choi 崔連根, Joseph Lee 李Joseph)

2018년 가을부터 홍콩 CHAT의 수석 큐레이터 다카하시 미즈키(Takahashi Mizuki)와 함께 기획해온 전시 《Interweaving Poetic Code》가 마침내 지난 5월 1일, 홍콩 CHAT에서 문을 열었습니다. 저는 전시의 예술감독이자 8명의 초청작가 중 한 명으로 참여하고 있으며, 《Interweaving Poetic Code》는 컴퓨터 코드와 텍스타일 간의 시적인 연결성이 돌봄(care)로 확장되는 교차성을 탐구하고, 참여예술가들의 사회참여적 실천을 경험할 수 있도록 기획되었습니다. 

전시의 초기 기획은 날실과 씨실, 겉뜨기와 안뜨기로 이루어진 텍스타일과 0과 1의 이진법으로 구성된 컴퓨터 프로그래밍의 구조적 및 역사적 유사성에서 시작했습니다. 군사적 용도 및 과학 연구를 위해 개발되었던 초창기 컴퓨터 코드는 오늘날 자본주의 사회에서 산업 자동화의 도구로 사용되며, 이는 복잡한 패브릭 패턴을 만드는 과정의 자동화를 가능하게 했던 혁신의 상징인 자카드 기기와 그 역사적 맥락에서 연관성을 찾을 수 있습니다. 본 전시에 초청된 예술가들은 컴퓨터 코딩 시스템을 텍스타일에 접목한 작업들을 통해, 전쟁⋅지배⋅자본주의의 목적이 아닌, 포용적인 돌봄으로서 기술을 바라보는 ‘탈학습(Unlearning)’의 관점에서 코드⋅텍스타일⋅돌봄 간의 교차성을 이야기합니다.

저는 그동안 다르게 배우는 탈학습의 실천 하에, 시적 컴퓨팅(Poetic Computation)을 연구하고 온화하고 포용적인 방향으로 기술을 사용할 수 있는 방향을 이야기해왔습니다. 이번 전시를 통해서, 코드⋅텍스타일⋅돌봄의 교차성에서 확장해, 기술의 더 다양하고 포용적인 미래를 위한 길을 열어줄 이들로 여성, 퀴어, 장애인, BIPOC 커뮤니티를 조명하고 있습니다. 이러한 생각은 장애⋅인종⋅섹슈얼리티⋅연령 등 다양한 정체성을 고려하는 장애 정의Disability Justice 활동가들로부터 출발하며, 이와 같은 흐름 안에서 저는 모든 사람들이 서로를 ‘돌보기 위해’ 사용할 수 있는 요소로서 기술을 이야기하고자 합니다. 

《Interweaving Poetic Code》에는 저, 최태윤의 드로잉, 페인팅, 설치, 영상, 벽화 등 100여점이 넘는 작품이 전시되고 있습니다. 또한 저 이외에도 Aarati Akkapeddi, Andreas Angelidakis, Laura Devendorft, Christine Sun Kim, KOBAKANT, Amor Munoz, Rebirth Garments가 초청 작가로 참여했습니다. 뿐만 아니라 전시 연계 프로그램으로, 홍콩 시각장애인학교 Ebenezer School & Home for the Visually Impaired와 함께 한 ‘크리에이티브 코딩’ 워크숍, 한국 정지혜 안무가와 홍콩 로컬 퍼포머들과 함께 한 ‘Distributed Web of Care: Semaphore Poetry between Seoul and Hong Kong’ 퍼포먼스 등을 진행했습니다.

무엇보다도 긴 시간 동안 저를 믿고 훌륭한 협업을 해준 다카하시 미즈키를 비롯한 CHAT 팀, 그리고 서울의 최태윤 스튜디오 멤버들에게 진심으로 감사드립니다. 코로나 상황으로 인해 더 많은 분들께서 홍콩에 직접 방문해 전시를 관람할 수 없어 아쉬움이 남지만, 온라인을 통해서나마 전시를 경험하고 이야기하고자 하는 바를 공유할 수 있으면 좋겠습니다.


《Interweaving Poetic Code》 함께한 사람들

■ 작가: 최태윤

■ 프로젝트 매니저: 신재민

■ 프로듀서: 최수현

■ 텍스타일 스페셜리스트: 안예섬

■ 그래픽 디자이너: 유예나

■ 엔지니어: 이동훈, Sub 9(Jingwen Zhu, Yingjie Bei), Cezar Mocan

■ 영상감독: 소농지

■ 퍼포먼스 안무가: 정지혜