Common Works

Credits In conjunction with Knyttan (now Unmade)
Exhibited 20 – 21st September 2014, V&A Museum
July - December 2015, SONIC PATTERN - Kaunas Biennial
Overview Recounted is a collaborative artwork generating installation using Knyttan’s groundbreaking on - demand knitting technology. Speaking, singing or chanting is captured in the space and automatically converted into traditional Scottish-inspired knitting patterns. These patterns are then manufactured on demand and hung as part of the exhibition.

Recounted Is a collaborative art installation built using Unmade’s groundbreaking on-demand knitting technology.

Originally commissioned by the V&A as part of London Design Festival, this interactive installation invites visitors to leave a recorded message which is converted into a graphic inspired by traditional Scottish knitting patterns. Each graphic is appended to a larger composition to produce a series of tapestries, serving as an account of the experiences of visitors to the exhibition. Each tapestry was manufactured on-demand using Unmade’s knitting technology and hung in the space as the exhibition progressed.

The finished tapestries

Close up of a tapestry

Before the Industrial Revolution, most knitwear was produced by small groups of women who – as they knitted – sang songs together to keep count of the number of stitches. This installation reimagines the folk heritage of knitting, drawing inspiration from the communal approach to production and its aural traditions.

We were fortunate enough to be invited to look through the V&A’s archives and peruse their huge collection of textiles and tapestries. This formed part of our research and helped us to define an aesthetic for the generative patterns. From this research we found a similarity between some of the traditional patterns used in textiles and the patterns created by Chladni plates — a visualisation of the effects of vibrations on mechanical surfaces. These patterns — Known as Chladni Figures — can be produced from audio frequencies, which is how we are able to generate patterns from sound.

A visitor leaves a message and listens to previous recordings

Visitors interacting with the installation

The pattern was generated in real time and displayed on a screen

The installation before the tapestries were hung

Audio recorded during the exhibition could be played back on touch screens

Short audio messages left by visitors are analysed and automatically converted into a fairisle inspired knitting pattern in real time. Each recording can be heard by interacting with integrated touchscreens. By utilising multitouch gestures, the listener can layer the playback of the recordings by touching on the patterns, allowing them to choose whether to hear messages in isolation or to create a composition.

Graphics were converted into knit compatible versions

An account of our exploration of the V&A archive

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