PENELOPE-Laboratory and Workshop in the Thinking Space Schedlberg
Right now, the PENELOPE team is working in the Thinker house Schedlberg, a Landmark in the Bavarian Forest close to Arnbruck. The architect Peter Haimerl managed to preserve 100% of the historic structure and substance of the former farmhouse from 1893. To fill the gaps in the fabric of the building and make it habitable again he used a block pixel system introduced to the fabric as modular bars of concrete. This house is now a place for thinkers.
The House in the Bavarian Forest presents a combination of old, arguably simple structure and material with new parts that are digitally constructed by using pixel modules. This astonishing combination perfectly reflects the elements of the PENELOPE project: bringing together the seemingly primitive ancient craft of weaving with the fundamental concepts of the digital age, namely bits, algorithms, code, and computing
In the last two years, work in the PENELOPE project suffered from COVID-19 restrictions. In addition, we missed out several exhibition and performance possibilities. We changed our Looms in Motion laboratory to a one-week online event, cancelled our workshops for Elefsina 2021 and its celebration as European culture capital, and missed out AlgoMech 2020 and 2021.
The pandemic also affected work in the PENELOPEan laboratory in the Museum for Plaster Casts. In order to compensate for this, we conduct a workshop/laboratory/retreat in the Thinker house Schedlberg where we meet, work, write, weave, perform, discuss and do video takes. With the forest residency we close the circle of inspiring meetings that began with a two-day retreat of the weaving codes – coding weaves project team (Ellen Harlizius-Klück, Alex McLean, David Griffiths) at Ecclesall Woods in the heart of Sheffield’s largest ancient woodland where we lay ground for the introduction of digital patterning tools into the investigation of traditional weaving techniques.
The PENELOPE project aims to integrate ancient weaving and its fundamental concepts into the history of digital technology, or better demonstrate that weaving has always been an integral part of that history. For finalizing this project, the Thinking house Schedlberg is a perfect match: as thinking space, as film location, as perfect backdrop for the ancient warp-weighted loom.
The house is rented out by the Hauspaten.Bayerwald KG according to the idea of Peter Haimerl. It is meant to be “made available for rent out like a temporary work of art, either for short-term residence or as long-term retreat. I also want to establish the Schedlberg academy there, a place where different disciplines can exchange ideas …” (Schedlberg, ed. by Sandra Hofmeister, Munich: DETAIL 2019). And this is what we want to do.
On the day of our arrival, Ellen and Annapurna met the Architect Peter Haimerl and in the evening welcomed Professor Wiebe Eco Bijker, STS scholar from the University of Maastricht and Tonny Á Campo, a weaver who tested some techniques for doing the Cyprus pattern on her shaft loom.
After having experienced the way that the light makes around the house, we set up the warp-weighted loom in the east-facing corner of the conference room. In addition, Tonny’s shaft loom with her Taquete tests is close by and we can exchange our technical knowledge directly in front of our tools.