From 3 to 19 September 2021 the first drawer set up at The Palace’s Representative Office represents The Veranda of Floating Threads (which you can find on this website here). This space in The Palace of Typographic Masonry, central in the Department of Ornament, is dedicated to the famous textile strips called kente of the Akan from Ghana. Kente has important mythological and ceremonial significance and is woven in narrow strips by master weavers who use a complex technique called “floating weave” to achieve the unique designs. Kente patterns form a ‘coded language’, since the names of the designs represent historical anecdotes associated with the oral tradition of the Akan. Two original kente cloths that are part of the Palace’s collection are now on display in the drawer.
The Palace of Typographic Masonry asked Christel Vesters to write an essay on the many aspects of this textile art. Thereafter RNDR was invited to use the consistent visual vocabulary of the patterns, the rhythms and the variation in complexity in the interweaving of horizontal and vertical lines of kente as point of departure for an exploration in creative coding to find new possibilities of visual communication.
The ‘test strips’ used in the offset printed publication have been created by a specially devised software program that takes text as an input. The strips are a visual translation of the text in the essays inspired by the so-called Huffman encoding, a method of optimally and losslessly compressing data consisting of a row of symbols. This cod-ing is used, among other things, in data communication and for digital images. To create the visuals the program looks at the letters and words in the essay, its order, but also how many times a letter is used in the essay.
Using this method each text can become an input to create an endless series of weaving patterns that still connect to the coded language in the original kente weaving. Attached to the drawer you will find a video screen on which this process can be followed. The software to create the images is made in OPENRNDR, the open source framework for creative coding for which RNDR is the initiator and the main developer.
Supported by the Pictoright Fund / Graphic Matters
The Representative Office of THE PALACE OF TYPOGRAPHIC MASONRY
Eef Kamerbeekstraat 1020, 1095 MP Amsterdam
Open by appointment Thu-fri-sat 13-18 hrs