Jean Shin create TEXTile in collaboration with The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia – 22,528 recycled computer keycaps and 192 custom keycaps, fabric, customized active keyboard and interactive software, video projection and painted aluminum armature.
In this interactive sculpture, thousands of recycled keyboard keys are embedded into a continuous textile. The keys spell out a line-by-line transcript of the email correspondence between the artist and fabricators regarding the creation of the artwork. As a result, the sculpture documents its own making. Viewers can also type their own messages on the active keys amid the first three rows of emails. These new messages are then projected onto the opposite end of the fabric, thereby continuing the virtual dialogue. The project speaks to the pervasiveness of email in our lives while commenting on the fact that, despite the modern technology of virtual communication, our written language is linked to the tactile sensation of moving our fingers over an outmoded typewriter system.