Generative art, or art created with coding as a central characteristic, emerges as the focus of the McCarl Coverlet Gallery’s spring exhibit which focuses on computing technology in the early textile industry. The coverlets emerge as early examples of generative art uses an autonomous system, or the use of an external system to which the artist gives partial or total control.
An important highlight in the history of generative art is the invention of the Jacquard loom in 1801. The handloom itself featured a weaving attachment that used introduced the concept of a stored “computer-like” program in the form of punched-cards. These automated cards allowed weavers to produce and replicate complex patterns in textiles quickly and efficiently. Jacquard’s invention revolutionized the weaving industry and punch-card technology paved the way for the invention of both the computer and later forms of generative and algorithmic art.