Fiber Optic Tapestry - 50 Different Minds

We have made a new media art form called The Fiber Optic Tapestry. Fiber optic panels are woven on a handloom and attached to a custom made, computer controlled lighting system, which displays information from the internet onto the tapestry’s surface.

50 Different Minds by Ligorano/Reese

The tapestry parses information from Twitter and other data sources to display color, light and pattern onto woven fiber optic panels using RGB LEDs. The resulting real-time animation is an abstract, data visualization that continually updates as data changes.

“It’s like weaving information,” Ligorano says, adding, “We wanted to make a textile using contemporary communication materials and processes, to redefine the role of a tapestry in contemporary culture.”

Weaving epitomizes social interaction. Textiles have a shared history throughout the world’s cultures and are common throughout time. In European culture, medieval tapestries tell narratives, and in the 21st century, we find our stories threaded and networked throughout the web. The Fiber Optic Tapestry is an art form about networking, communication, and society.

The artists debuted the tapestry called 50 Different Minds at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles as part of the zer01 Festival in San Jose. The piece measures 50 by 50 inches. It displays patterns and colors that relate to Twitter Tweets of color words. It also uses air traffic data from the nine busiest airports in the U.S. Horizontal and vertical lines on the tapestry’s surface move in real- time, synchronized with the longitude and latitude of arriving and departing flights.

Visitors can also interact with the tapestry by tweeting additive and subtractive color names. The tapestry is programmed to display colors in response to tweets written using the expression #optictapestry and then color words.

For more information see: Fiber Optic Tapestry on:


This project was funded in part by the Jerome Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, and through residencies at Montalvo Arts Center and Eyebeam Center for Art and Technology.

Download press release.

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