Webs of Resistance: Knitting, the Body, and the Net
on the Revolutionary Knitting Circle out of Calgary, Alberta, this
paper examines how knitting, an activity traditionally thought of as domestic,
feminine, and lacking use value, has been appropriated by the global justice
movement as a sophisticated technological metaphor for networks of connection
outside of and against the globalization of capital. Through a series
of websites, virtual (and real) knitting circles, and links to numerous
"anti-globalization" affinity groups, Revolutionary Knitting
metaphors of linkage and knitting, through the careful (inter)weaving
projects, connections throughout the world to other craft-workers and
anti-sweatshop activists, and the metaphors of both the global justice
movement and the internet as "webs" of interwoven ideas.
Using the relation between the embodied experience of the actual protester,
and the virtual/viral spread of the issues of protest across a variety
of networks, this paper hones in on "The Viral Knitting Project,"
an (as yet unfinished) collaborative project that combines the networking
potential of the internet with the tactile and embodied act of knitting.
Taking the binary code of the Code Red computer virus, and transforming
it into the "code" of knitting (0=P;1=K), this project knitted
the code of the virus into a series of colour-coded "scarves,"
each in proportion to the number of days since September 11th that the
United States has been on red, orange, yellow, green terrorism alert.
Theb idea was that, on the one hand there would be the actual knitted
garment - comforting, yet ultimately dangerous as it can be "read"
as the code red virus; on the other that through a series of interventions
in the virtual space of the internet, the knitting code would spread virally,
allowing the project to spread through and across a variety of networks.
Though the goal of the "Viral Knitting Project" was to make
a statement of protest, it was also to explore the juncture of new and
old technologies, and to establish the efficacy of internet networks as
spaces of potential for protest movements. The poster at REFRESH! will
consist of a description of the project alongside a performance
of the Viral Knitting Project.