Naoto Naoto Hieda



“NAILS | PIXELS | STIMMING” is a tapestry to represent the neurodiversity and personality of the artist. An MRI scan of the artist’s brain is analyzed by custom software made with Processing to generate weaving patterns consisting of 3520 loops and knots. The tapestry is entirely woven by hand; the repetitive weaving process relates to “stimming,” a repetition of movements often seen in a person with autism. This emphasizes the neurodiversity of the artist, who identifies himself to be on the autism spectrum. Loops and knots represent the non-binary nature of craft as opposed to plain weaving. This allows the piece to go beyond one-to-one mapping of the pixel space on the screen to material, proposing a new method to integrate traditional and digital fabrication. The pink color reflects the artist’s inner color related to the gender expression, and light blue is for the outer color, the nail polish usually used by the artist.

The work was shown at V&A Friday Late.

brain map A pattern of the artist’s brain. Only less than a quarter of the image was used due to the resolution of the tapestry.

Custom software is made by the artist with Processing to generate weaving patterns (image below) from the brain pattern (image above). The software is programmed to examine each pixel and to create Rya loops and Rya knots based on the intensity of the pixel itself and the neighboring pixels. Colors are algorithmically chosen from a palette based on the gradient of the brain pattern. The result is relatively abstract because of the limited resolution of the tapestry (24 warps and 160 wefts); nevertheless the loops and knots add three-dimensional and tactile texture to the piece.

The tapestry is entirely woven by hand, which took approximately 20 days while working part time on the piece. The length of each knot is measured by eye, only cut once while weaving and never trimmed afterwards. The imperfection and errors in human fabrication are left in the piece, which emphasizes that the practice is not merely a transformation of pixels to material as in jacquard weave or 3D printing.

screenshot of processing A screenshot of the weaving pattern. Only two wefts are highlighted.

progress Progress of the hand weaving.

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