Mind in the Machine: Psyche in the Age of Mechanical Production
Imbued with traditions centuries old, to knit is to embody the work of our ancestors. Unlike machines, we humans have unique quirks and tendencies, and this extends to our knitting. With the proliferation of automation in factories, mass produced knits have standardized stitches that remove the mark of the maker.
Automation has many functions, and plays a critical role in our technological advancement, but is it possible to imbue automation with something as intimate as the mark of a brushstroke? This project tries to reinsert the emotional mark of the maker back into the machine.
Taking the cognitive quirks of a human via their EEG signals, I translated these brain activities back into the knitting process. Depending on the EEG signal- the tensility of the weaving with vary reflecting the mark of the “cognitive” hand. Depending on the cognitive stress levels over a day of work, the tensility varies and the fabric ripples in empathy.
This project stitches a portrait of the factory worker, through their fluctuating moods throughout the day- capturing moments of frustration, focus, and meditative work flow. The resulting fabrics tell a story, and each one is unique to the worker and particular moment in time.
There are many ways humans express themselves- what does this expression look like in the age of mechanical production? Is there a way to insert the mark of being human into the process? This project offers a moment of reflection, for both the consumer and the worker to reflect on the labor- both mechanical and human involved in our economy.