The Making Core Memory project is a design inquiry into the invisible work that went into assembling core memory, an early form of computer information storage initially woven by hand. Drawing on feminist traditions of situated knowing, we designed an electronic quilt and a series of participatory workshops that materialize the work of the core memory weavers. With this case we not only broaden dominant stories of design, but we also reflect on the entanglement of predominantly male, high status labor with the ostensibly low-status work of women’s hands. By integrating design and archival research as a means of cultural analysis, we further expand conversations on participatory inquiry, using design to reveal legacies of practice elided by contemporary technology cultures. In doing so, this project reminds scholars that worlds of handwork and computing, or weaving and space travel, are not as separate as we might imagine them to be.
See recent writing on this project.
This project is supported under NSF grant