Augsburg Textile Museum Light Exhibit Jacquard Punch Card

Chances are you have never made it to Augsburg, Germany (I certainly haven’t). But if you had, you more than likely would have visited the Augsburg Textile And Industry Museum (TIM). The museum, located in a former worst spinning mill, is actually an anchor point on the European Route Of Industrial Heritage, which highlights the most important industrial heritage sites in Europe. TIM recently launched a video installation consisting of two acts designed to highlight the juxtaposition of the beauty of fashion and the brutality within the textile industry.

Both acts take something old and make it new again – a statement about the industry’s new push towards sustainability. For the first act, the lighting is controlled in real time by a punch card used to create a towel in an old Jacquard loom. All the visuals are  

black and white and the audio is the hard noises of a loom. For the second act, the visuals are cloth patterns created between 1806 and 1988. It is accompanied by melodic synthesizer pop music and is designed to be “enjoyable.” The projections utilized for the exhibition are 3d mapped to the structures inside an abandoned textile mill.

While very avant garde, the exhibit is designed to highlight the brutality that exists within a very glamorous industry. Working conditions have been atrocious in the textile and garment industries for centuries and textiles is one of the top polluting industries. With the advent of fast fashion and inexpensive overseas labor, consumers are also beginning to view clothing as disposable. When they purchase and discard clothes, not enough thought is going towards what it took to create them. Exhibits such as TIM’s are trying to put the spotlight on the problem, which can only be a good thing!