Bar codes with a message: Guillermo Bert fuses ancient traditions with modern technology

The Pasadena Museum of California Art kindly requests you bring your cell phone to its new exhibit, Encoded Textiles. If you snap a photo of one of Guillermo Bert’s textiles in the gallery with a bar code reader, you’ll decode a story that transports you to the people and stories of Bert’s native Chile.

I visited Bert at his studio in the Brewery last week in advance of the show to learn how he decided to fuse the new technology of the ironically-named Aztec codes with the weaving of the Mapuche people. He feels the codes and the handwoven-textiles not only resemble one another graphically, but that the blend of the two makes a statement about the encroachment of capitalism on the traditional way of life of indigenous people everywhere.

Listen to what he had to say in the Soundcloud below. You can also hear Bert give a talk at the Museum this coming Sunday at 3pm— and decode the encoded textiles for yourself. (They work, even woven in wool.)