Knit-RGB-Disco – Thur 5th March @ Whitworth Gallery


This Thursday 5th March I’ll be showing a new work in progress – a knitting machine installation that generates RGB values and sound based on punchcard patterns. I’l be inviting visitors to punch a row and programme the lights and sounds whilst creating a unique textile record of the event.

Knit-RGB-Disco will be running from 6pm-8pm as part of Thursday Lates at the Whitworth


The work was originally developed as part of Octopus’s Digital Media Labs residency in Barrow in September 2014. I’ve refined the system a little since then, but the bones of it are essentially the same:

  • a punchcard knitting machine
  • video camera
  • isadora camera tracking patch
  • DMX usb pro and LED par cans



The Geek Bit

The pinciple is to read each 24 cell punchcard row as a set of binary values. Since 8 binary values can create a total of 255, it means each punchcard row can provide three sets of values ranging from 0-255 – essentially providing any RGB web colour. These values are tracked and sent to the projector and colour changing LED lights, creating a system in which the design impetus is not so much create a knit pattern as to programme the colour space of the room.

As well as using the binary values to control colour, for this iteration I am also experimenting with ways to cue sound samples, as well as record and remix sound generated by the knitting machine. This provides the ‘disco’ element. Again, all this is done using the Isadora visual programming environment.

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