PRINT January 2020


Hana Miletić, Materials, 2019, handwoven raw wool and metal yarn, 9 × 7 1⁄2”. From the series “Materials,” 2015–.

IN 1804, French weaver Joseph Marie Jacquard unveiled an invention that would revolutionize the textile industry: an apparatus that automatically controlled which threads were pulled on a loom, based on information stored on a looping series of punch cards. Intricate fabric patterns previously requiring hours of tedious manual labor could now be produced quickly, efficiently, and at scales capable of meeting the demands of the burgeoning global market. But the Jacquard loom would affect more than just brocade. Famously, the invention also inspired the Analytical Engine, a nineteenth-century prototype of a rudimentary computer developed by Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. (Noting the similarity of the punch cards used to relay instructions to both machines, Lovelace mused, “We may say aptly that the Analytical Engine weaves algebraical patterns, just as the Jacquard-loom weaves

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