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Entangled Traditions - Encoding Symbolism Through Traditional Crafts


Graduation Project

Creative Code, Knitting, Booklet, Video

Entangled Traditions explores the Icelandic wool sweater, known as the Lopapeysa. This sweater can be recognized by its yoke pattern flowing seamlessly around the chest and back decorated in two, three or four different colours of yarn. The sweater’s history is relatively young but is deeply rooted in Icelandic culture. It is not only an important garment for Icelanders’ national identity but is also exported to promote Icelandic wool, craft and culture. Its origins are blurry, but the garment most likely derives from a popular knitted ‘Greenland Sweater,’ which was inspired by Inuit pearl bead necklaces made for their national costume. The sweaters can be knitted with countless decorative patterns and colours, however they bare no significant symbolic meaning. In Entangled traditions Agnar Freyr Stefánsson incorporates code in the design process to interfere with the traditional process of making the sweater, by encoding symbolism in the sweaters with audio interviews made by the knitters of the sweaters. In doing so, Agnar incorporates a different understanding of the sweater’s history, perception and future, and raises broader questions on national identity, traditions and the future role of code in design.