Grey Room

In-formation: Weaving as Code in Beryl Korot’s Text and Commentary (1976–77)

Cadence Kinsey

Anni Albers, Ancient Writing, 1936. Rayon, linen, cotton, and jute, 591⁄4 x 44 in. (150.5 x 111.8 cm). © The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London 2024. Photo Credit: Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC/Art Resource, NY.


As a form of communication, woven textile makes meaning not just by what is depicted but, crucially, how. The textile becomes legible through the specific organization of the threads into a system, ordered into pattern; that is, becoming an “in-formation image.” Here pattern does not merely suggest a mode of viewing aligned with a flat, detached opticality but is informed by the sense of touch. This can be seen vividly in Ancient Writing, which uses brocading, a technique that creates embossed forms that sit on top of the textile surface. Such techniques, according to Albers, emphasize the inherent “tactile sensibility” of textile, creating experiments in “tactile-textile illusion.” This essay develops this aspect of thinking about weaving as a kind of communications technology, premised on the commensurability of pattern and code and grounded in the body, in order to argue that textiles can enable us to imagine an altogether different relationship to information technology.