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Beryl Korot: Text and Commentary

Beryl Korot, Text and Commentary, 1976-1977. Courtesy bitforms gallery nyc. Photo: John Berens

Beryl Korot, Text and Commentary, 1976-1977.
Courtesy bitforms gallery nyc. Photo: John Berens

 

2 March – 9 June

Beryl Korot was an active player in New York’s emergent video art scene in the 1970s and considered a pioneer of multichannel installation in particular. Text and Commentary (1976-7) was inspired by the punch card system of the Jacquard loom and its impact on Charles Babbage, a mathematician who originated the idea of a programmable computer in the 19th century. It is a groundbreaking work comprised of weavings, videos and paperbased scores that, when first shown in 1977, moved the video medium beyond the television’s frame and into art installation.

‘The thing that attracted me to the loom was its sophistication as a programming tool – it programs patterns through the placement of threads, in a numerical order that determines pattern possibilities,’ said Korot in a 1977 New York Times article. ‘It’s like the first computer on earth.’

In Manchester, birthplace of the textile industry and the first computer – Baby, this powerful work becomes even more resonant.

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