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The Pasadena Museum of California Art (PMCA) is proud to present Guillermo Bert: Encoded Textiles, an exhibition that explores the latest generation of bar codes (QR codes), their capacity to hold 200 times more information than traditional bar codes, and the graphic similarities between the bar codes and the textiles of the indigenous peoples of the Americas.
The exhibition examines technology, language, cultural heritage, and capitalism seeking to open a dialogue about the effects of globalization on the world’s indigenous population. Bert’s innovative use of an advanced technology is to record the history of a marginalized culture, so that these stories do not fade away. The tapestries from these communities are traditionally filled with symbols and images with meaning, but have not included full stories such as the ones preserved and archived as part of Encoded Textiles. Inspired by the bar code’s universality, Bert translates political, religious, social, and artistic entities into patterns of elongated vertical bands woven into tapestries. The tapestries are created with natural wool and dyes that are either made, bought or traded locally, using different sized threads, stitching techniques and distinctive colors. Guillermo Bert was born in Chile in 1959, studied art at the Catholic University of Santiago and then relocated to reside in Los Angeles. For the past two decades his art has been widely exhibited and collected by numerous museums in the United States and South America. Bert was Art Director for the Los Angeles Times for five years and taught mixed media art at Art Center School of Design in Pasadena, California (2000-2005).