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Drifting Drafts

An interactive installation where weaving drafts and patterns are generated and explored with body movements and cellular automata

built by: Jakob Jennerholm Hammar


This project draws on what is often referred to as 'weaving drafts', 'notation' or 'constructs'. A set of graphical instructions and visualizations for how to set up and operate a weaving loom to achieve a specific pattern and structure. Using cellular automata and computer vision, the installation explores an embodied way of creating emergent patterns. Patterns in time and duration as a collaboration between the participant and the computer, beyond the immediate control of one or the other. It is a study of the flow of time and matter, of co-creation and the surprise and anticipation of what lies within the next update or pick of the weave.

Weaving Drafts

The drafts are modelled after a four-shaft loom, where the top left part or the 'threading' represents the warp going through the different harnesses. The top right, the 'tie-up', show how the shafts are connected to the treadles (mechanisms controlling which shafts and warp threads that are lifted). The operation of these mechanisms is shown in the 'treadling' to the bottom left. The large field in the bottom right, the 'drawdown' visualizes the full pattern and structure of the proposed weave.

Over time, a weave is built up from several picks or passing of weft over and under the warp threads, beaten into a single piece of fabric. Likewise, the drawdown of a draft creates patterns trough the accumulations and integration of rows of one-dimensional arrays.


The video above is recorded at home in a time where access to spaces, tools and participants are limited. The intention is that the work would be presented in a much different context. The idea is to present the drafts not with a large screen or even a TV like this, but within a smaller, much more frame-like monitor hanging on the wall. Also, as there is several different setups and ways of both generating and presenting, that is either as weaving drafts or rendered only as patterns, perhaps 3 or 4 drafts would be shown side by side. For this the solution would be using a series of Raspberry Pi.

The use of only two sets of colours are chosen because of how weaving drafts are most often portrayed, especially in older sources. The ones that sparked my interest and fascination with these objects. 

Side wise motions steers the treadling in the x-axis as well as accelerating the update rate, moving the drawing of the patterns forward. Upwards motion in the y-axis, as in raising ones armes freezes the cellular automata and allows for explorations of the current threading or setup of the shafts. The same motions functions as a toggle, reanabling the update of the cellular automata as well as randomizing the rules. 


Hardware used:

  •  Asus Rog GL504GS running Manjaro Linux
  •  PS3 Eye Camera
  •  Monitor


Software used:

  •  C++ / openFrameworks
  •  openCV
  •  kylemcdonald / ofxCv - openCV wrapper for OF
  •  bakercp / ofxPS3EyeGrabber - extending ofBaseVideoGrabber with PS3 Eye