Oiko-nomic Threads

Lviv National Academy of Arts

“Oiko-nomic Threads”
interactive system, 2014

By rethinking and redefining the functionality of an outdated knitting machine and integrating it into a new system, this installation proposes a different way to approach seemingly obsolete production processes and means of labor, through the production of a knitted textile. The design of a generative textile is derived from data from the Greek national employment agency using selected patterns originally from Greek folk art. The produced textiles thus serve as materializations of archival information and as records of the current economic situation. Oiko-nomic Threads is a collaborative project by by Marinos Koutsomichalis, Afroditi Psarra and Maria Varela. It has been presented at the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens, at the Transmediale 2014
Afterglow in Berlin, at the exhibition No Country for Young Men at the Bozar Museum of Contemporary Art in Brussels, and at the 19th Contemporary Art Festival Sesc_Videobrasil in São Paulo. Samples of the knitted textile have also been presented at the Future Innovators Summit exhibition at Ars Electronica 2014 in Linz, Austria and the design exhibition at ISWC 2014 (International Symposium on Wearable Computers) in Seattle, US.


 Afroditi Psarra, PhD (Athens, 1982) is a multidisciplinary artist working with e-textiles, diy electronics and sound. Her artistic interest focuses on concepts such as the body as an interface, contemporary handicrafts and folk tradition, pop iconography, retrofuturistic aesthetics and the role of women in contemporary culture. Her artworks include a wide variety of media and techniques that extend from embroidery, soft circuits, hacking and creative coding, to interactive installations and sound performances.
She holds a PhD in Image, Technology and Design from the Complutense University of Madrid. Her academic research Cyberpunk and New Media Art focuses on the merge of science fiction ideas and concepts with performative and digital practices, and offers a philosophical, sociological and aesthetic analysis of the influence of new technologies in the contemporary artistic process.
Her work has been presented at numerous platforms such as Siggraph in Vancouver, Ars Electronica in Linz, Transmediale and CTM in Berlin, Amber in Istanbul, Piksel in Bergen, Electropixel in Nantes and MakerFaire in Rome between others. She has worked as an intern on Wireless Communications and Mobile Computing at Disney Research Zurich. She is currently appointed as
assistant professor in the Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS) at the University of Washington in Seattle, USA.

Maria Varela (Athens, 1984) works as a media artist and workshop organiser seeking to develop strategies of collective production. In 2010 she completed her MA studies in “Interactive Media” at Goldsmiths College, London. Her works reflect an interest in a range of issues, including folklore, tradition, identity, memory, non – linear narrative and the archeology of media. She has presented her work in numerous exhibitions in Greece and abroad.
She has organised and instruct creative educational programs in primary schools in London (2006-2009) and since 2010 in Athens in collaboration with Onassis Cultural Centre, EMST, Goethe Institute, Michael Cacoyannis Foundation and Neon Institute.
Between 2010 – 2014 she was co-founder and responsible for the artistic and educational program of Frown, a platform which deals with the production of artistic events of innovative character in the sectors of creative media and performance art, as well as with the organisation of workshops.
She lives and works in Athens, Greece.

Marinos Koutsomichalis is a media artist, scholar and creative technologist. He was born in Athens, GR (1981) and has since lived and worked in various cities around the world. His interests comprise materialism, post-humanism, distributed cognition, computational aesthetics and DIWO, while the most persistent themes in his artistic corpus are self-erasure and the post-self. He strives for contextual and geographical disparity so that the working tactics, materials and technologies his projects revolve around are ever-renovated. Accordingly, he has presented his work internationally in all sorts of milieux: from leading museums and acclaimed biennales, to industrial sites, churches and underground venues and he has pursued research/artistic projects, led workshops and lectured at various academias, institutions and project-spaces worldwide. He is responsible for numerous publications in academic journals and conferences, for a series of music albums and for a book. He is the founder of ‘Ubique Media’—a company offering ad-hoc software/hardware solutions for media artists—and has worked as a developer in various other projects. He has a PhD in Electronic Music and New Media (De Montfort University, GB) and a MA in Composition with Digital Media (University of York, GB).