How often do you catch yourself going down an internet rabbit hole?
About the Exhibition
DOOMSCROLLING unravels our addiction to digital culture through analog processes of making. Kayla Mattes’s (b. 1989, United States) hand-made weavings explore the ephemeral concepts that keep us stuck to the web: memes, gifs, TikToks, apps, and the quest for information to our most burning, often personal, questions. Through a playful and humorous yet critical lens, the exhibition presents different musings on our relationship to digital culture.
Though we might think of them as opposites, the underlying logic of computers and technology traces its roots to analog processes of making—like weaving. This relationship is formative to Mattes’s work, and why she explores the digital sphere through weaving. The early-nineteenth century Jacquard loom influenced the development of early computers. Both share a binary logic: as where weavings are made from the intersections and overlaps between the warp and weft, or the vertical and horizontal elements on a loom, computers operate based on a binary logic of zeroes and ones. Through algorithmic-like processes, these machines generate their final products. Weaving, however, has historically been considered “women’s work,” as where technology and data are male-dominated fields, even though the first algorithm was written by a woman: Ada Lovelace. Now, technology is an omnipresent force in our lives, but we often forget how this came to be.
Through Mattes’s work, weaving invites us to slow down and look closely, actions that feel counterintuitive to the hurried pace of the internet and our lives. Moments of humor are embedded in her tapestries, which help us respond to pressing existential questions about technology and the current state of the world. By rendering icons of contemporary culture, the artist asks us to stop doomscrolling, look closely, and rethink the way the digital sphere shapes our daily life.
Kayla Mattes: DOOMSCROLLING is organized by the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum at Michigan State University as part of the Artist Project Series and curated by Rachel Winter, Assistant Curator, with support from Laine Lord, Museum Practicum Student and Curatorial Intern. Support for this series is provided by the MSU Federal Credit Union.