Reinterpreting the heritage of NW textile industry, whilst documenting the current experience of the freelance creative, Punchcard Economy is a machine-knitted banner based on the ‘8 hours labour, 8 hours recreation, 8 hours rest’ slogan coined by Robert Owen of the Eight Hour Day movement.
The design incorporates data collected from a range of ‘workers’ in the digital, creative and cultural industries, auditing contemporary working patterns within the digital economy, and revealing the shift from Owens’ ‘888’ ideal. The final work is produced on a domestic knitting machine using a combination of digital imaging tools and traditional punchcard systems.
You can see the development of the Punchcard Economy project at www.punchcardeconomy.co.uk
The banner will be on display at FACT as part of the TIME & MOTION show until March.
Some facts about the banner:
- It measures 5m x 3m
- It was intended to measure 4.6m x 2.7 m. Clearly the standard tension sq for a 10cmx10cm sample has margin for error at that scale.
- It is constructed of 9 columns, each with 1270 knitted rows, plus hems
- The end columns measure 117 stitches per row, and the middle columns 168 stitches per row
- Thats 1,790,700 stitches altogether
- The design contains 221 weeks worth of data from 116 participants
- Thats 5304 hours / stitches to make the basic info-graphic pattern repeat
A huge thankyou to everyone who contributed to the design by logging their hours.
Many thanks also to Iris for showing me how to knit, Tim for documenting the process (film will be in the exhibition), Hannah for finishing the final hems, and to Castlefield Gallery for providing me with space to knit
Thanks also to Mark and Andy for installing it today, to Mike, Ana, Emily and Lesley at FACT for supporting the idea so enthusiastically, and to Rob at Interconnect IT for sorting out this cracking website.
Special thanks to Davi Post and his IMG2Track software & tutorial that made it possible to develop the design digitally and send it to the 950i
Thankyou also to Arts Council and National Lottery England for supporting this work and the broader Knitting Digital research project.