In their project "Arbeitsmuster" (Work Patterns) Andrea Sodomka and Martin Breindl focus on the history of a Krems location which today hosts several cultural institutions such as the Factory or the Artothek. A manufactory for coarse cloth and window blinds since 1868, the facility was in 1905 purchased by the Austrian entrepreneur Karl Eybl and subsequently converted for machine assisted operation. The textile factory was active until 1982. What is now the Factory’s exhibition space had been home to the actual weaving mill up until the 1970s.
In video interviews with former workers, the circumstances and working conditions of these women were at the center of attention. The mechanical loom, and wall projections of extreme close-ups of current textile production machines, formed a counterpart to these personal narratives and memories. In analogy to the famous image of Joseph-Marie Jacquard, portraits of the woman workers were generated from still images taken from the video interviews, neutralizing the anonymity of today’s automated production processes and the individual’s receding into the background behind the machine.
The technology of the Jacquard loom provided a further field of interest. The historical power loom was controlled automatically via punched cards and is seen as history’s first programmable machine. The development of this principle led to Charles Babbage’s difference engine, on to Hermann Hollerith’s mechanical tabulator, and ultimately to today’s computer technology. The soundscape, which was generated from electronically processed sound recordings of looms, merges the noises of analog weaving mills with the sounds of digital technologies. It creates the impression of a turbulent working hall, turning the history of the place into something that may be experienced sensually and tangibly.” (Nina Schedlmayer, 2003)
The historical cotton loom was switched on once again, this time for a performance: a weaver used it to manufacture a piece of weaving, while the loom itself—rigged with pickup microphones and a camera—served as a sound and image source for artistic live electronic manipulations. As the mechanically manufactured textile materialized under the weaver’s competent handling of the loom, alien productions wove a tapestry of sound—marked by the machine’s rhythm which emanates through the room. For a radio broadcast, alien productions wove the weavers’ narratives into this tapestry of sound.