Open Source Embroidery Artists Arrive

The Open Source Embroidery exhibition opens at BildMuseet on Saturday at 13.30 and we are busy installing the exhibition this week. It’s been brewing since 2005, and has taken the truly interdisciplinary vision of both HUMlab and BildMuseet to realise this major exhibit.

I’ve just got back from a welcome Pizza with Jen Southern from the UK and her collaborative partners Jen Hamilton and Chris St Amand from Canada, and their two beautiful children. They are here to host their Running Stitch project inviting people in Umea to make a GPS hand stitched map of the town. It’s great to have them town for the next 12 days, and they hope to visit HUMlab and find out more about Sami use of GPS to track reindeer. They’ll be at BildMuseet on June 6th and 7th, so do come by and say hello and find out about their work. Artists from Sampler – Culture Clash and SketchPatch will also be arriving this week.

Hamilton, Southern & St Amand have a social and tactile approach to the use of technology. They work with groups of people to explore a location and are currently interested in how technologies, such as satellite navigation, can be used to explore a kinaesthetic sense of place through movement. Their work is made through residencies that engage with local people, producing installations, performances and websites. Hamilton & Southern have also worked closely with a games company to produce ‘Landlines’, a collaborative mapping tool for mobile phones.

Jen Southern is a practicing artist and PhD student in Sociology at Lancaster University, England.  Her art practice is collaborative, process based and participatory, working with audiences to explore movement and sense of place through mobile technologies. In 2004 she was awarded an ITEM commission from FACT gallery Liverpool, NESTA and Arts Council England to collaborate with industry partners on the development of new tools for collaborative mapping, which resulted in the exhibition ‘Running Stitch’ at Fabrica Gallery, Brighton, UK (2006). Jen was an invited expert at the Sagasnet European Creative Lab Concepting Mobile Multi-User Applications in Oulu, Finland, (2004) and Stuttgart, Germany (2005) and a participant in the BBC Innovations Lab, UK (2007).

HUMlab Syjunta opens next week

24 – 30 January 2009
12.00 – 17.00 daily

Vernissage: Friday 23rd January 4-6pm

Syjunta (GYRMBC): Tuesday 27th January 2-4pm
Syjunta (Yarn): Thursday 29th January 2-4pm

HUMlab Syjunta is an intervention of patterned code and encoded craft into the HUMlab interdisciplinary digital humanities research lab at Umeå University, initiated as part of my research fellowship. The exhibition will present some exisitng OSE artworks (Iain Clark, Paul Grimmer, Clare Roddock, Lisa Wallbank, and James Wallbank) alongside new works in progress created in HUMlab. These will include the collaborative HUMlab GYRMBC Tent, and the collectively stitched Yarn text quilt. Individual works include Suzanne Martin’s Knitted Pattern flat screen cover, Stephanie Wuschitz’s Wireless Women, and Haishu Zhang’s meticulously embroidered HUMlab logo.

HUMlab Syjunta sewing circles will bring together HUMlab html users to stitch the RGB and CMYK hexadecimal colour codes onto the GYRMC tent, and invite the Yarn stitchers to sew their embroidered texts into a single patchwork quilt.

The one-person GYRMBC (Get Your Rabbits Mated Before Christmas) Tent has been created by HUMlab workers to illustrate the combination of RGB and CMYK colour sequences, and to recognise the need for individual creative space alongside the opportunity to collaborate with others.

During November 2008 the Open Source Embroidery Fika workshops at the Fine Art School and HUMlab inspired the stitching of the Raqs Media Collective’s definition of ‘Yarn’ (2003), which describes the metaphorical and material quality of threads, yarn and cables, and how they carry stories through weaving, stitching and bandwidth.

During the HUMlab Syjunta exhibition, I will be embroidering the script for the Patchwiki interface onto the back of the patchwork, so do pop by to say hello.

It’s also a great sneak preview of some of the works in progress which will form part of the major Open Source Embroidery exhibition presented at BildMuseet, June 7th – September 6th 2009.

Open Source Embroidery Fika

Tuesdays at HUMlab, below the University Library.
Thursdays at the Fine Art School (Konsthögskolan)

Artists, designers, programmers and craftspeople are invited to come along to the Open Source Embroidery workshops run by Ele Carpenter. The workshops will provide the opportunity to find out more about the project, share your skills and learn new ones. We’ll be discussing the ethics of creative practice, the relationship between craft and code, and making new art works. Bring your ideas, computers, threads, cables, needles and yarns…

For details on weekly workshop guests see
For background info see:

Workshops: 14.00 –  17.00

Tues Nov 4th – HUMlab
Thurs Nov 6th – Fine Art School

Tues Nov 11th – HUMlab
Thurs Nov 13th – Fine Art School

Tues Nov 18th – HUMlab
Thurs Nov 20th – Fine Art School

Hope to see you there,
Best wishes,

Html Lapptäcke


I’m Ele Carpenter, and I’m one of the new Research Fellows at HUMlab. I’m here for a year to develop the Open Source Embroidery project in partnership with HUMlab and the Art School at Umea University. The project developed from my PhD research with CRUMB at the University of Sunderland, where I compared the language and practice of socially engaged art and new media art.  Open Source Embroidery is a broad term to describe a range of creative practices investigating the shared characteristics of craft and code; from formal concerns of translating text into form, to the ethics of collaborative production and distribution. With its roots in the culture of open source, creative commons, and the material nature of code and computing, the project welcomes artists, programmers, knitters and crafts people to share their skills and ideas.

I’ll be facilitating workshops and exhibitions starting in November – so watch this space and my blog Ele Weekend for more info.