Pa++ern, esoteric language for embroidery


Pa++ern is an installation piece bringing about new interactions in social media by utilizing user-generated code strings via Twitter. It converts this data into a textile end-product using embroidering machinery. Media artists Daito Manabe and Motoi Ishibashi’s mutual interest in esoteric coding led the two media artists to develop a relatively simple and short code string of less than 140 characters (a full Twitter post) which they call “pa++ern.” The essential workings of the data channelling begin with instructed users twitting their code string to a set username, in this case ****, which results in two forms of reply from the Twitter-bot. If the coded string is compliant, **** will reply with a link displaying the result, whereas any error detection sends a parse error and advises re-submission from the “_pt” bot. Once the code or signal is received it is converted into a format which the loom can read and then fed via floppy disc. The large, seemingly possessed sewing machine begins its work stitching out the design on both sides of the T-shirt; the front side bears the design while the back displays the code language. For all the scripted automation, users can still exert some control over color selection by inserting an asterisk into the code which the loom takes as an instruction to change spools. Through their own ‘esoteric language for embroidery,’ Manabe and Ishibashi have created a simple programming environment enabling users to make complicated patterns with short and simple code, “since Twitter has a limit of characters, we thought it was a suitable environment for this project.” A project which has converted the latest social media feat into a new kind of interface with a tangible and practical end result.

Vicente Gutierrez