Data Excess: Weaving Digital Refuse is a research-creation project led by Sophia Borowska, at the Textiles and Materiality Cluster in Milieux Institute for Arts, Culture and Technology at Concordia University.

Revolving around the use of digitally-assisted looms, the project interprets, visualizes, and materializes digital waste as an expressive outcome of online culture. The essay seeks conceptual links between weaving and digital culture online, given that industrialized punch-card weaving technology led to the development of binary code and computer memory. Commonalities between weaving and Internet cultures begin to occur around the theme of excesses.  

Weaving is seen as in excess of the Modernist conception of art and its hegemony of the visual, being a tactile, physical, and sometimes decorative medium. The Internet, too, can be seen as having excesses: porn, spam, viruses, etc. These are locations where the physical body, its wants, needs, and habits, are implicated into the online experience, which is often regarded as a disembodied one. 

Weaving can work through the concepts of digital refuse, and defend materiality, because it engages with excesses. Data Excess examines the concepts of the Poor Image – as described by Hito Steyerl – and of Litspam emails, in the form of two series of weavings. Weaving is well suited to the interpretation of the uneasy products of the digital age due to its own uneasy place within the art historical canon, as well as its particularly tactile, haptic nature. 

The project was presented as part of the 12th edition of Studio XX’s HTMlles Festival, at articule artist-run centre (262 Fairmount O. Montreal) from 5 November to 4 December, 2016. 


Sophia Borowska is a Montreal-based artist and researcher working in fibres, sculpture, and installation. She received a Diploma in Textile Arts from Capilano University in 2013, and a BFA in Fibres and Material Practices from Concordia University in 2016. She has exhibited in Canadian artist-run centres, galleries, and DIY spaces, and is published and has presented research in Canada and the U.S.


Contact: studio@sophiaborowska.com

Artworks and texts copyright © 2016 Sophia Borowska, sophiaborowska.com