The Cathedral and the Bazaar
Encounter with Charlotte Johannesson
This encounter gets under way with an artist-led guided tour around the exhibition Charlotte Johannesson. Take Me to Another World, ending in a conversation between Johannesson, Patricia Molins and Mabel Tapia.
Charlotte Johannesson (Malmö, Sweden, 1943) is a pioneer in fusing the loom and computer technology, outwardly unrelated mediums that come together in her work. On one side are the tapestries she became aware of through her studies at Hemslöjden — a school of applied and textile arts — and the influence of Swedish-born Norwegian artist Hannah Ryggen (1894–1970), and, on the other, the first PCs on the market. Johannesson thus deconstructs and reappropriates information technology and the artisan loom, transforming it into a tool of poetic unrest. Her digital tapestries encompass protest messages, operating as powerful standard bearers in contemporary society.
The encounter’s title alludes to a pivotal facet in Johannesson’s body of work: the union between counterculture and the digital world; namely, the conception of technology as a tool for social change. It takes its name from hacker Eric S. Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar (1997), a key open source manifesto which analyses the production models of well-differentiated codes: an open, horizontal and crowded environment, such as a bazaar, confronted with proprietary software as a hermetic, privileged and hierarchical model, like a cathedral. Johannesson participates in the change of paradigm described by Raymond with an open and horizontal working model.
Charlotte Johannesson is a textile and digital artist who was part of the 1960s and 1970s Swedish counterculture scene, developing her career outside conventional art circuits. More recently, she has exhibited her work at the 32nd São Paulo Biennial (2016) and the Nordic Pavilion at the 57th Venice Biennale (2017), and her work is also on view at museums such as Moderna Museet in Stockholm.
Patricia Molins is a temporary exhibitions coordinator at Museo Reina Sofía.
Mabel Tapia is the deputy artistic director of Museo Reina Sofía.