Text and Commentary, 1976-1977
5-channel black and white video installation, 5 weavings, 5 drawings, and 6 pictographic video notations
30 min, stereo sound
Installation dimensions variable
In the installation, each video faces the tapestry being woven line by line by Korot; the sound of the beater against the loom’s wooden frame and ambient room noise comprise the work’s audio. The viewer sits between the weaves and the video. One wall displays the five weaver’s notations, another the pictographic video score. Having read an article about the Jacquard loom’s impact on Charles Babbage’s punch cards, Korot took away the understanding that the loom was ostensibly the first computer. In the New York Times (Grace Glueck, March 18, 1977), Korot notes, “The thing that attracted me to the loom was its sophistication as a programming tool—it programs patterns through the placement of threads in a numerical order that determines pattern possibilities. It’s like the first computer on earth.” Discussing the work with Harry Philbrick in a Dartmouth catalogue of Korot’s work (2011), she writes, “Text (textus) and weave (texto) share the same Latin root. Text is a tissue or fabric woven of many threads. It is a web, texture, structure, a thought, something that can be built, raveled, unraveled.” Each media in this work encodes its information in lines, from the slowly built lines on the hand loom to create pattern, to the lines that construct the video image itself many frames per second, to the weaver’s notations and pictographic score.
Beryl Korot, Selected Video Works, at biforms gallery, New York, 2012. Installation views.
Co-founder and co-editor of Radical Software (1970-1974), Korot began working with video in the early ’70s and has exhibited her work internationally since that time. An Art21 interview with Korot about Text and Commentary can be viewed here.
Beryl Korot, Text and Commentary, at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York, 1977. Installation view.