Waag Open: Stitch your data

Waag Open: Stitch your data (sold out)

The digital world appears to be an immaterial universe, no more than a virtual reality. But to maintain this digital world, a huge material infrastructure is needed. Researcher Pamela Nelson has found a way to better understand the materiality of the Internet: through embroidery. Join Waag Open on Thursday 1 December and stitch your own dataset.

For users and designers alike, it is difficult to grasp the material impact a digital action can have. A seemingly simple click might require a lot: transatlantic copper-wired cables laid out by polluting diesel ships; microchips made of rare materials mined under sometimes horrific conditions; huge amounts of fossil fuels to provide sufficient energy. Streamlined platforms make online life a 'friction free' environment, but the real impact remains hidden. 

Pamela Nelson, researcher and educator, has found a counterpart to these online activities in the act of stitching. She shows us how embroidery can help us understand the materiality of the internet and its effects on the environment and on society. During the workshop you will work with a dataset – for example related to your own internet usage –  and visually represent it through stitch.

You might think, why stitching?

Embroidery has a long history of opening up socio-political discussion, teaching and overcoming barriers. By challenging or reshaping the digital design process with embroidery, we are also making a statement about the role of women in digital design and the tech world in general. 

19:15 – 19:30 hrs: doors open
19:30 – 19:40 hrs: introduction by Waag
19:40 – 20:10 hrs: presentation Pamela Nelson
20:15 – 21:45 hrs: workshop
21:45 – 22:00 hrs: closing

This event is in English.

About the artist

As a digital designer and an end user of digital products, Pamela Nelson seeks slowness, embodiment and reflection through embroidery to make the intangible tangible once again and remind herself of the real life impacts of the digital products that we design. 

Waag Open

Waag Open is the monthly public programme focused on today's themes. We organise various workshops and present collaborations between scientists, designers and artists. Once a month, Waag opens her doors for programmes that can be attended by anyone and everyone.

Because the Waag building is a protected monumental building, it unfortunately doesn't have an elevator. The event will take place in the Makersguild on the second floor of the Waag building.




5 euro (incl. drink)


Nieuwmarkt 4
1012CR Amsterdam

Due to her monumental state the Waag building does not have elevators. A gender neutral toilet is present on the first floor.