IAMI, an interactive fibre-optic tapestry project by artist duo LigoranoReese, is on display at the Catharine Clark Gallery, San Francisco until 3 January 2015.
In this particular incarnation, IAMI takes the form of two self-portraits. Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese, pioneers of digital art, are known for using untraditional material to create their works. With these new pieces, the pair challenges the conventions of tapestry and portraiture, rebooting the concepts for the information age. To create IAMI, fibre-optic panels have been woven together on a hand-loom, and merged with a computer controlled lighting system. Information from the internet is then relayed through the fibre-optic threads. In the case of the self-portraits, data from the artists’ Fitbits (devices that track physical activity) is visualised through algorithms creating changing patterns of colour and light.
IAMI is intended to be realisable with other ‘sitters’. By sending questions and receiving answers via text messages or email, the participant alters the colour fields of the panels. His/her activity and feelings are amalgamated with the Thai/Khmer astrological colours of the day and input from Robert Plutchik’s Wheel of Emotions, making sure that the work is never static. Inspiration has been drawn from eclectic sources, including Renaissance portraiture, Josef Albers’ work on colour theory, Anni Albers’ development of weaving as well as the woven silk portrait of Joseph-Marie Jacquard created in 1839 on a programmable Jacquard loom by Didier, Petit et Cie in France.