c o m p u t e r 1.0
The first conception of a computer was developed in 1801 by master silk weaver, Joseph Marie Jacquard - it was a mechanical loom that could run what we now understand as a ‘program’ to create detailed and elaborate textiles without painstaking manual labor. This was the first machine capable of automated task production, and the first known use of binary code. Though Jacquard’s loom performed a task we take for granted in it’s simplicity today, the technology eventually led to the groundbreaking work of inventors Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, and Alan Turing.
The Jacquard loom then is not just a relic, but the first ancestor, the Adam and Eve, to our modern computers. Because this history is all but forgotten in our understanding of humanity's digital maturation,
C O M P U T E R 1 . 0 seeks to pay homage to the forbearers of computer history. Artist, Victoria Manganiello and designer Julian Goldman have collaborated in the creation of a striking representation of this digital ghost; a handwoven cloth, with a programmed kinetic surface that brings to mind data, code, and communication infrastructure.
Jacquard’s loom was an enormous driver to the Industrial Revolution, simultaneously fostered the environment for the Luddite revolt as the work of thousands of laborers became increasingly mechanized. C O M P U T E R 1.0 seeks to function as a historical lens that shows how our relationship to computing technology has always been fraught with juxtaposed promises of utopian and dystopian futures, while the reality consistently finds itself somewhere in between.
This installation reminds it’s onlookers that society has been grappling with a digital existentialism and the question of ‘are we better off?’ since the birth of programming itself. In this way, C O M P U T E R 1 . 0 is the physical display of the eternally uncertain potential of technology.