Kunsthall Trondheim
Past exhibition

Unweaving the binary code – Hannah Ryggen Triennale

Tabitha Nikolai, Ineffable Glossolalia (2017). Virtual environment made in Unity game engine. Courtesy the artist

This year’s Hannah Ryggen Triennale takes the theme Anti-Monument as a point of departure to explore the famed textile artist’s legacy through the lens of thirty contemporary artists. For the first time since its initiation in 2016, Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum collaborates with other key Trondheim art institutions on the Triennale: Kunsthall Trondheim, Trondheim kunstmuseum, K-U-K, as well as Ørland/Bjugn Kunstforening.

Kunsthall Trondheim’s contribution to the Hannah Ryggen Triennale 2022 is the international group exhibition Unweaving the binary code. Through the works of eleven contemporary artists, the exhibition explores the legacies of the political, feminist artist Hannah Ryggen (1894–1970) and the Victorian mathematician Ada Lovelace (1815–1852), who is considered the pioneer of today’s computer programs. Lovelace recognized the potential of the punch cards used in Jacquard looms, which work through simple commands of hole or no-hole, and transferred them into code consisting of zeroes and ones that we still use in computers today.

The exhibition looks at the binary system of weaving and coding, present in the warp and weft components of tapestries, the punch hole cards of the Jacquard loom, and the zeros and ones of machine code. Weaving is traditionally considered a feminized activity and has as such been valued and remunerated less than other forms of labor, whereas computers are, still to this date, largely masculinized. Throughout Western art history, weaving has been belittled as a craft and diminished in comparison to art. Ryggen was one of the most inspiring voices questioning this divide between art and craft.

The exhibiting artists, each in their own way, both cite and search for ways to transcend those and other binaries: male and female genders in Western cultures, nature and culture, organic and technological, us and them. From today’s perspective, the exhibition Unweaving the binary code asks what imaginaries we can conjure that undo dyad divides for more complex, more interwoven, more equitable relations.

Artists in the exhibition:

Mercedes Azpilicueta (Amsterdam, Netherlands/Buenos Aires, Argentina)
Charlotte Johannesson (Skanör, Sweden)
Ann Lislegaard (Tønsberg, Norway/Copenhagen, Denmark)
Tabitha Nikolai (Portland, Oregon, USA)
Allison Parrish (New York, USA)
Thania Petersen (Cape Town, South Africa)
Pearla Pigao (Oslo, Norway)
Hannah Ryggen (Ørland, Norway)
Marilou Schultz (Mesa, Arizona, USA)
Danielle Brathwaite-Shirley (London, UK/Berlin, Germany)
Himali Singh Soin (London, UK/Delhi, India)
Vaimaila Urale (Avondale, Tāmaki Makaurau, New Zealand)

Informal advisory group:

Letizia Jaccheri, Professor Department of Computer Science, NTNU and Torbjørn Karl Svendsen, Director NTNU Digital and Professor, Department of Electronic Systems, NTNU

Thanks to:

Monica Reitan; Tone Hansen; Caroline Heron (Forma Arts and Media); Jenny Stretton (Durban Art Gallery); Lucille de Vos, Leigh Bassingthwaighte, Jean Butler (SMAC Gallery), Joel Furness, Sabel Gavaldon (Gasworks); Nella Franco, Alex Bennett (Hollybush Gardens); Steffen Wesselvold Holden, Håvard Stamnes (Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum); Martins Inramningar och Prints; Cosmin Costinas; Angeliki Tzortzakaki; Ida Vie (TYVEN Trondheim); Johanna Zanon, Lise Stang Lund (The Norwegian Association fort Arts and Crafts); Tone Rasch (The Norwegian museum of Science and Technlogy)

A special thanks to Posten Moderne.

A program of public events will accompany the exhibitions throughout the spring/summer, including a panel conversation in partnership with Posten Moderne on the future of art institutions in Trondheim and the importance of collaboration.

An exhibition catalogue co-published with Archive Books will be launched in the summer, including newly commissioned texts and documentation of the exhibitions of the Hannah Ryggen Triennale.

Three solo project exhibitions running parallel to the main show with artists based in or connected to Trondheim will be launched throughout the summer, with support of Posten Moderne:
25 March – 30 April 
Karin Aurora Lindell (Klæbu)
12 May – 12 June 
Grete Neseblod (Oslo, from Trondheim)
23 June – 7 August 
Matilde Westavik Gaustad (Trondheim)

Unweaving the binary code – Hannah Ryggen Triennale is made possible through generous support from The Bergesen Foundation, Sparebankstiftelsen SMN and SpareBank 1 SMN Samfunnsutbytte.

The three solo project exhibitions are supported by Posten Moderne.

The Bergesen Foundation

Sparebankstiftelsen SMN

SpareBank 1 SMN Samfunnsutbytte