Photographic Knitting Club

Aug 02 2020
Aug 22 2020
Aug 24 2020
Sep 25 2020

 ︎ Tutorial 

My work often took place through in-person collaborative workshops or classes on accessible digitizing techniques. As we drew upon virtual networks to mitigate the effect of increasingly restricted borders, many people reached out for ways to create digital objects, or to build virtual sites for mourning and reflection. I thought about how my research and participatory processes could help capture a snippet of this social and technological change.

The project “Photographic Knitting Club” is a response to this emerging reality. Photogrammetry, a 3D reconstruction technique that creates models by stitching 2D images together, serves as a bridge between photography and sculpture, producing worlds that exist half-way between the digital and the physical. Breaking down photogrammetry to small steps, we look at the mechanics of photogrammetry that mimics the strange social structures emerging from how the pandemic interacts with technology and forms new social relationships. The process of stitching multiple perspectives resembles the function of an artist––a knot maker and connector of ideas who produces new knowledge.

The name “Photographic Knitting Club” connotes pleasure in the company of others, communal support, and making something by hand from start to finish. Knitting circles are also a predominantly feminine social space where non-commercial production takes place. In this way, the “Photographic Knitting Club” rejects impersonal use and the regime of proprietary technology that often exploits its users for profit. Knitting itself as a metaphor might also be extended to the necessity of how these activities rearrange new borders and boundaries of gender, class, and identity, nationality. Through a feminist perspective, this tutorial offers a tactile / material / philosophical reflection of the mechanics of 3D scanning.

The output will be distributed as an e-zine.


Meeting no.1

Conducted virtually, joined by artists from NY and SF where social distancing is enforced.

The artists included Francesca Rodriguez Sawaya, Renata Gaui (both Tangible Code instructors), Pamela Liou (an open source loom creator), Rena Anakwe (an artist who works with sound, visuals, and scent), and Windy Chien (an artist who works with knots).
Image Capture

During the workshop, we played with different ways of looking at our familiar spaces and used our cameras to pay close attention to these findings. These hundreds of photographs were stitched and reconstructed into three-dimensional digital scans.

Photo Knitting

After comparing similar points in photographs, the photogrammetry software is also able to calculate the original capture position, angles, and sequence of shots in space.
Data Portrait I

The black box in this diagram is the location of the laptop, the triangle indicates the first photograph taken, and the outer rectangle is the shape of this room.

These experiments use digitizing technologies as a way to generate data portraits, and offer the possibility to surface local knowledge that forms the background of our inner experience.
Data Portrait II

The places where people decide to take the most photographs are also the places with the most detail in the final scan, creating a visual emphasis that corresponds to each artist’s unique set of concerns and emotions at that time. Each artist’s unique set of concerns, physical constraints, time of day, and habits produces images of wildly varying focus and emotional valence.

For example, Pamela Liou observed that she “spen(t) a lot of time over here at this nightmare corner where things tend to accumulate for weeks... I have these, like, psychological vacuum spaces, and I just psychologically block them off."
Layered Portraits

Individual portraits connected using screens as an anchor.