HOMO TEXTOR Conference

This conference will bring together philosophers, artists, technologists, classicists, textile experts, anthropologists, and historians of technology to discuss weaving as a technical mode of existence.

The two day conference will take place at the Kerschensteiner Kolleg of Deutsches Museum Munich on the 17th and 18th September (with a pre-conference workshop on the 16th at the Museum for Plaster Casts), organized by the ERC project PENELOPE at the Research Institute of the History of Technology and Science.

Penelope's loom

In a recent project, Bruno Latour offers a net of modes of existence as a new approach to cross-examine the connections of nature and culture. The anthropologist Tim Ingold talks about the textility of making as a mode of existence relevant for craft. Both refer to Gilbert Simondon and his book on the modes of existence of technical objects.

Although textile terms are everywhere in both approaches, the mode of existence of textile technology is never investigated. The PENELOPE project aims at doing this for the age of archaic Greece, assuming that the process of weaving as well as its result was similarly influential and ubiquitous as digital technology is today and shaped the way to think. This comparison might not be obvious: however, weaving, i.e. the crossing of threads that is determined by the horizontal one either going up or down, is binary by its very nature.

Understanding weaving as a mode of existence means to look at the logic and practice of patterns and weaving as a generic principle that is able to structure a whole community, its art and knowledge, and its way to think about nature and the cosmos.

HOMO TEXTOR will be a conference rethinking ancient weaving and pattern technologies as paradigms for order in ancient Greece and exploring ancient weaving as a technē at the junction of art, craft and technology. We want to address ways in which the distinctive logic of weaving and its patterns shapes modes of thinking about order in a range of domains. In order to show that the binary structure of patterns still provides ample possibilities beyond the mere textile domain, we will also have sessions and short performances of contemporary digital examples.

The conference page with programme and further information will be launched in May.


Ellen Harlizius-Klück

I am a researcher interested in the order and logic of making textiles and its impact on the history of technology and science.

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