Jovencio connects computers and weaving in his textiles!

Jovencio connects computers and weaving in his textiles!

As a part of Digital Weaving Norway’s ongoing “What’s on your Loom” series, we present the creations of US-based Artist Jovencio de la Paz! His current work examines the joint history of computers and weaving. Interested in the relationships between the digital, language, code, the embodied, and the phenomenon of emergence, the artist’s work takes the form of textiles produced with the aid of digital design software and the TC2, pushing the extremes of functionality.

The picture above is the Installation View of the 2019 series titled, “These Numbers are the Body of the Fog” (Jacquard handwoven cotton). These textiles were handwoven on a digital loom by corrupting image files, manipulating the loom software to generate designs and patterns based on errant data. The resulting cloth represents a collaboration between the initial design and the computer’s algorithmic response. Jovencio de la Paz is interested in the sometimes conflicted meeting place between human intention, emerging technology, and the ghosts that arise in machines. He further explains that at the breaking points of the software, the so-called “ghosts in the machine” cause unexpected specters of data to emerge, revealing an organic world of liminality, set in contrast to the rigid binaries of 1’s and 0’s. Here’s a glimpse of his recent works as well as simulations of the forthcoming textiles…

These Numbers are the Body of the Fog 1.3 (2019)

84” x 29”, Jacquard Handwoven Cotton

In this particular iteration from the series, These Numbers are the Body of the Fog (2019), a recursive algorithm within the digital loom software was employed to generate detailed weaving patterns, or structures, in conflict with areas of the design the artist left intentionally void of information. Taking advantage of the loom’s capability to self-correct, this cloth is woven both forwards and backwards, reflecting the pattern on top of itself in intervals to complete the cloth.

No Future Homeworlds (2020)

84” x 24”, Jacquard Handwoven Cotton

This textile, its structures, and the landscape it depicts, was created by adapting an artificial intelligence called gauGAN, developed by nVidia in 2019. The AI, which translates simple line drawings into photorealistic landscapes, was adjusted to out weaving structures compatible with digital jacquard. This work is inspired by Baroque tapestries, such as the Baberini Tapestries of 17th Century Italy, whose history rests largely in the retelling of empire and colonization. In contrast, my artificial landscapes tell of the digital non-places through which we seem to wander.

Redactions 1.1 & 1.2 (2018): Installation View

The texts that were used as the base for these “redactions” include selections from The Oregon Exclusionary Clause, written by Peter Hardeman Burnett, which forbade African Americans and people of color from owning property in the state of Oregon until 1925. Though repealed in 1925, the clause was not removed from municipal documents until the 1990’s due to the clerical expense of redacting the clause from documents such as property deeds and insurance documents.

Jacquard handwoven natural and synthetic fibers

Didderen (2018)

Jacquard Handwoven Cotton

 “Dithering, “ which comes from the Middle English, “Didderen,” is a process by which data noise is intentionally added in order to randomize quantization error. Used commonly in digital image processing to convert color or spectral gradients into binary operation, these textiles capture a programming error in Photoshop software. The given diffusion dither function in Photoshop’s last several generations fails to seamlessly convert 50% photographic gray into the anticipated ½ white and ½ black pixel field. Instead, a ghost in the machine is  revealed. That  lapse in the software’s capacity to generate a smooth space is output directly into woven cloth.

Bionumeric Organisms (2020) Digital File

Bionumeric Organisms (2019 – ongoing), for example, employs one of the earliest pieces of complex software designed for a modern computer, written by Nils Aall Baricelli for use on the infamous “Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer” (ENIAC). ENIAC was famously designed to model atomic blast yields for the Manhattan Project in the early 1940s. Baricelli’s program, however, was used immediately following the end of the Second World War to model the way in which single celled organisms evolve and survive disaster.  Jovencio de la Paz is particularly interested in the contrast between these models, Genesis and Apocalypse, that one could utilize the ENIAC computer to first develop a weapon of mass destruction, then use it to understand the origins of life.

The images above represents the output and software environment of a program he is developing with programmer Michael Mack. The software uses the original code from Nils Aall Baricelli’s “Bionumeric Organisms,” which modeled the evolution of single celled organisms on the early computer ENIAC. Baricelli’s original code has been adapted to output “weave drafts,” or instructions to the digital loom, which can then be woven into physical cloth. Rather than using colors to represent single celled organisms as the fundamental unit, the artist has used shaded-satin structures as the primary unit of information, which grow, evolve, decay and die, each generation represented as one weft pick in the textile.

These images show both the color simulation of a forthcoming textile, as well as the draft file for the TC2. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the University of Oregon’s campus is closed and Jovencio de la Paz does not have access to the TC2! For now these textiles exist only in theory.


Jovencio de la Paz is an artist, educator, and Zen monk living and working in Eugene, Oregon, USA.  He received a Master of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Arts, Department of Fibers, in 2012, and has been the Head of Fibers at the University of Oregon, School of Art & Design, since 2016.


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