To a loom, time is linear.
I usually deliver
miracles to this world.
I deliver death.
Primary motions of loom are the fundamental Mechanics: shedding, picking, beat up. Without these movements, it is impossible to produce a fabric.
The monumental 14th century Tapestries of the Apocalypse are a series of originally 90 woven panels – of which 70 now remain – covering 180 square meters in total.
The panels show scenes from Saint John the Divine’s Book of Revelations. John himself often appears in the frame, looking at the otherworldly scenes – sometimes from a gothic phone booth sized alcove or balcony.
TARDIS (Time And Relative Dimension In Space), ‘invented’ in 1963 for the British Dr. Who tv series, is a time machine, often disguised as a police box, similar to a phone booth.
Although the source material is apocalyptic, the images are remarkably lighthearted: even the most horrible of monsters, such as the seven-headed dragon and the beast from the sea, bear friendly expressions.
Blood rains from the cloudy web
on the broad loom of slaughter.
The web of man, grey as armour, is now being woven;
The Valkyries will cross it with a crimson weft.
The text at the castle of the French town of Angers, housing the Apocalypse tapestries, suggests the series may have been set up outside the castle grounds annually, mounted on frames and arranged in a route people would
To a tapestry, time can go either way. It can unravel, be repaired, and rearranged. It can bend, wrinkle, roll up, be flattened, stretched or shrunk, and cut into pieces.
Warp and weft.
…Hence the name Antwerpen, from Dutch hand werpen, akin to Old English hand and wearpan (to throw), which has evolved to today’s warp.
A warp drive is a theoretical superluminal spacecraft propulsion system in many science fiction works, most notably Star Trek and I, Robot by Isaac Asimov.
The modern power loom has two mechanical pickers – one on the left, one on the right of the machine – meet multiple times per second halfway the width of the loom, handing over the yarn in microsecond microtransactions.
The 11th century Bayeux tapestry is not a tapestry, but an embroidery of 50 cm high and 70 meters long – though it’s missing an estimated 3 meters. It is assumed it would have been on display in the Bayeux cathedral.
Secondary motions of loom are the unwinding and winding movements, determining the yarn’s tension.
Out of thin air.
A woven surface has no carrier. There’s no paper, canvas, fabric, stone, wood, or glass needed for it to be connected to. The image is the carrier. You can tell by turning it over: the image is still there, though reversed.
In Alternating-time Temporal Logic, logical formulas as
express that agents ❆ and ☼ have a strategy to ensure that the property ☁ holds in the future, whatever the other agents of the system are performing.
The warp is made of human entrail;
Human heads are used a weights;
The heddle-rods are blood-wet spears;
the shafts are iron-bound,
and arrows are the shuttles.
With swords we will weave this web of battle.
The peculiar size of the Bayeux tapestry is reminiscent of a scroll. Combined with a narrator explaining the events to the audience, it could’ve been used in a similar way as the Japanese emakimono (before the 10th century), the Indonesian Waja Beber (described in the 1500s), or the European moving panoramas of the 19th century.
The narrator would unwind the scroll with one hand while rolling it up with the other.
| ↝ |
The Bayeux embroidery is displayed behind glass in a dim lit museum space in Bayeux, and can be ‘read’ by
The distant past ⟷ The far future
I tie a knot to Deep History and stretch the yarn until I get to my my computer.
It becomes entangled in cable connections, wrapping around the wireless mouse.
Ref: Wikipedia: Timeline of the Far Future
To anyone who considers this article depressing or disturbing; please do not say so on the talk page. Wikipedia is not an internet discussion forum. As an antidote, you might try reading this short story.
Some historians believe the innumerable deaths brought on by the plague cooled the climate by freeing up land and triggering reforestation. This may have led to the Little Ice Age.
A tapestry is very much a thing, a physical presence, a mutual human/machine effort, and very much not an illusion or a simulation.
It’s pleasant to the touch, can’t be damaged by fingerprints, it can be washed, unwinded and reused. It can turn into pillow cases, a rug, a shelter, a blanket, or clothes, and used for darkening a room, an investment, a symbol of authority, or as a mobile theatre stage.
The first power loom was designed in 1784. The first panorama exhibition was held in London, in 1788.
Interlacing is used for an out-of-date method to build up a digital bitmap or video image for display: at lower bandwidths or processing speeds, an image would be sent through scanlines: line by alternated line, the top line first and proceeding to the bottom before repeating the process for the next image.
The automated Jacquard weaving machine was developed in 1804, based on Basile Bouchon’s 1725 invention of the punch card as a ‘program’ for the automatic weaving of complicated, often repetitive designs.
I’m en route, shuttling between Distant Past, Deep History and Far Future, talking about space, spaces, technology, simulated nature, science fiction, and visual culture using the very contemporary medium of the computer.
Two fragments from Jeroen Olyslaegers’ novel-in-progress, Wildevrouw, pulled me into the 16th century.
While commuting between Paleolithic and future times, I kept shooting past this era; the nearest stop would usually be early medieval, Carolingian times or the Viking age.
Europe’s 16th century
starts with the end
of the Middle ages:
the Antwerp golden age, and miniatures, trees of life, stories of unicorns and virtue;
the Flemish Primitives and the way they painted folds and wrinkles so all fabrics look like iron sheets – like metal armour.
Europe’s 16th century ends with Rubens’ unbearably arrogantesque baroque –
but oh! the expression of texture!
the shine of satin dresses, the softness of velvet curtains, the elasticity of cotton loincloths,
all blowing in 10 Beaufort!
– imported made in China kitsch void of meaning for the nouveau riche, emblem books, the destruction of Antwerp by the Spaniards and the subsequent start of the golden age of Holland including the offset of the machine age.
When a man had to hand over three wives and their unborn children to the earth, one after another, he considers his semen cursed.
Losing his faith in god,
his newborn son crying the background,
gently rocked back and forth
by a shaken midwife.
The machine’s noise is rhythmic, soothing, almost mediative. When a yarn breaks, it violently comes to a halt
This is the third motion of loom: brake.
The Three Motions of Loom
First print, November 2019
Edition of 10
The text contains quotes taken from Wikipedia, interpretations in translation of phrases from Wildevrouw by Jeroen Olyslaegers, fragments from the 13th century Darraðarljóð (13th century, Iceland, translation unknown), and original texts.
Written as part of the doctoral research The Appeal of the Unreal, and three tapestries + exhibition The Three Motions of Loom, Textielmuseum Tilburg (summer of 2019) and Antwerp Art Pavilion (December 15, 2019 – February 16, 2020).
deep histories fragile memories
Luca School of Arts, Brussels & Faculty of Arts, University of Leuven. Belgium.