Partially Recovered

48" x 74" Jacquard tapestry

Partially Recovered is the resurrection of an image that forms a constellation of narratives around its recovery and reproduction. The partial image, a concrete ghost ship that was later found to be a nameless ship from World War II off of the coast of Lanai, was retrieved from a found hard drive using forensic data recovery software. In an attempt at tracing the image’s conditions of production and the historical retracing of events that lead to its ultimate reification, the Jacquard loom and punch card system were used to weave the recovered image into a photorealist tapestry. The looms’ significance serves as a catalyst between Joseph Jacquard’s punch card loom and Charles Babbage’s eventual application of this programmable technology with the Analytical Engine that has become the basis for all computers and information technology. The implications of the invention and application of the loom have served as the basis for manufacturing, engineering efficiency, and the amplification of instrumentality that has allowed the speed of production and instantaneous flow of information to develop our technocratic culture. In short, the project addresses information in an entropic state, where the development of data weaving develops its own narrative formal attributes, and reassigns the imagination of science to an indexical relationship that oscillates between anthropological artifact and ritualistic history.

Like the photograph that tells us what is no longer there and leaves only traces of what once was, the partially recovered photograph can be considered through the obstruction of representation, the disruption of history, and the inability of what is represented to coincide with itself. This monumental obstruction is an experience of the impossibility of experience that disperses itself from the continuous present. The differentiation of time represented through the woven information contains references to the past, present, and future, but these traces remain indistinguishable from one another and ruin the distinctions they propose.  It is through these attempts to come to legibility, that the fragmentary traces only reveal what is always incessantly vanishing, and that all optical technologies never truly represent without their shadows and hidden features. Through this narrative rupture a crisis arises in history and time where the boundaries of the represented image remain permeable and open to the finitude of the contexts in which we might read them.