Stella Brennan

Tuesday, 3 July 2001, 10:38am

Tuesday, 3 July 2001, 10:38am by Stella Brennan

Artwork Detail

Stella Brennan's stitch-per-pixel embroidery of her iMac OS 8 desktop took over a year to do, and she needed help. A sewing circle of friends and family helped her complete it. By the time it was done, it was obsolete. Brennan had a new computer, running OS X. Translating the digital into the pre-industrial, the work yokes opposing values: the computer's currency and speed with craft's traditionalism and laboriousness. The woven computer screen can be read as daft, like an expressionist painting converted into paint-by-numbers. It becomes deft when it prompts us to consider more subtle historical connections, like the use of punch cards to control Jacquard weaving looms during the industrial revolution, and Ada Lovelace's proposal to use them to programme Charles Babbage's analytical engine, the 19th century proto-computer. While its title suggests an instant, the piece enfolds time: the time taken to make it, the time taken to view it, and the stretch of technological, economic and social history from the Bayeux Tapestry through the industrial revolution to the Macintosh. (Snake Oil, 2005)

Tuesday, 3 July 2001, 10:38am
Stella Brennan
Production date
needlepoint embroidery
865 x 1140 x 20 mm
Credit line
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2005
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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