Artist Highlight: Guillermo Bert
A quick glance at Los Angeles based artist, Guillermo Bert‘s work would certainly not provide the amazing depth they can offer the viewer. Chile born, Bert has found a way to work QR codes – the latest of barcodes that can hold up to 200x more information – into his weavings, which resemble the patterns and work of the Indigenous people of the America’s.
Taking advantage of the technology we are surrounded by, Guillermo Bert uses the QR codes to invite the viewer to participate with the pieces. Once you scan the code with your phone, you will download short documentary films of the Mapuche people. For example, the piece above, Redemption, is accompanied with this video when you scan the code.
“I begin by interviewing (and video-recording) members of the Mapuche community of Southern Chile and collecting their traditional stories, poems, and first-person narratives. Using software that translates words into barcode patters, I will encode these native stories as bar code patterns and have the patterns woven by indigenous weavers. The conversion of a poem or piece of spoken history into a high-tech bar code, and then its re-conversion back to a traditional weaving, represents the creation of an innovative cultural artifact that celebrates and revives traditional art forms.” (source)
“By combining high-tech soft-ware and industrial processes with indigenous arts and loom techniques, and by translating ancient narratives into modern tapestries, I hope to highlight the struggles of indigenous peoples attempting to restore their culture in a globalized world.” (source)
I find it simply incredible how technology works with visual art, and how artists are finding ways to expand how we perceive art and technology. Bert is able to connect modern weaving and textiles with that of the Mapuche people, and taking it a step further by introducing QR codes which add a narration to the pieces we may not have been able to experience before.
If you are in Southern California, definitely visit his exhibit Encoded Textiles at the Pasadena Museum of California Art which runs until February 24, 2013.
If you’re feeling adventurous or inspired by Bert’s work, check out any of our classes that could help you tap into your own storytelling – either with Weaving, Natural Dyeing, or even Block Printing.