Qianwen has a background in architecture and painting studies spanning several years. Following rigorous exam-oriented studies in architectural design and painting, Qianwen developed an interest in art that defies the established rules of her training while maintaining its influence. In 2018, upon arriving in Chicago she began experimenting with different materials and methods of animation. Her interest in textiles started while she was attempting to combine woven fabrics with her animation. After falling in love with the work of 20-century Bauhaus weaving artists, weaving became a core part of her work.
Woven Symphony explores the musicality of traditional weaving through a combination of historical research as well as contemporary technology. It explores the woven fabric as a map, and as a score. It traces the influence of the Jacquard loom on the invention of the earliest piano rolls in history. It delves into the shared principles and professional concepts underlying the structures and surface patterns in both artistic fields. The project seeks to decompose and reconstruct the common understanding of weaving and music history while using modern technology to interpret and illustrate the relationship between the two.
The music is created entirely from the weaving draft. To create different patterns of fabric, a weaver must set up the warp for the loom, design the threading draft and tie-up box, and hit the treadles with their feet in the right order. The fabric diagram created from the weaving draft can be written in numbers, translated into a musical score, and then ‘weaved’ into a piece of music. In Woven Symphony, seven different weaving drafts played by seven different musical instruments were arranged into a symphony. The number 1-8 represent 8 harnesses in the weaving loom and translate to the doe re mi fa so la ti and doe of a western major scale.
The link for the essay “Woven Symphony: Exploring the Parallels Between Weaving and Music” can be found here. Special thanks to Bryan Away for help with the music arrangement and Evan Korte for editing the essay.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Qianwen Yu (b. Guilin, China) is an interdisciplinary artist and independent animator based in Chicago, she graduated with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Film, Video, New media, and Animation at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2020. Her artwork and animation have exhibited and screened at Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago, Woman Made Gallery in Chicago, Anifilm Festival in Czech Republic, Anibar International Film Festival in Kosovo, Supertoon International Festival in Croatia, and CICA museum in South Korea. Her work has been featured in Art China, Chicago Chinese News, LA Post, China Southern Airline Magazine, Booooooom tv, Fiverr, Voicer.
© Qianwen Yu