Hyperrhiz 21

Stitch n’ Glitch: Teetering on the “/”

Hong-An (Ann) Wu
University of Texas at Dallas

Wendy Sung
University of Texas at Dallas

Juan Llamas-Rodriguez
University of Texas at Dallas

Kim Brillante Knight
University of Texas at Dallas

Citation: Wu, Hong-An (Ann), et. al. “Stitch n’ Glitch: Teetering on the “/”.” Hyperrhiz: New Media Cultures, no. 21, 2019. doi:10.20415/hyp/021.m05

Abstract: This essay and exhibit document the Stitch n’ Glitch, a monstrous embroidery event produced by four different creative studios at UT Dallas in October 2018, in which participants stitched collaboratively on a 12-foot long collage of images of feminist media art.

Keywords: public humanities; craft; needlework; feminist media art; glitch; kitchen table; studio; community.


Detail of the canvas, showing a microcontroller and speaker sewn onto the tapestry. When the button is pushed, “the future is feminist” is played in morse code. Video by Kim Brillante Knight.

In Fall 2018, Fashioning Circuits, Feminist MakerSpace, Studio for Mediating Play, and Social Practice and Community Engagement (SPaCE) Media, all research or creative collectives in the School of Arts, Technology, and Emerging Communication (ATEC) at The University of Texas at Dallas, were asked to put together an installation or event to celebrate ATEC’s inaugural artist-in-residence, Lynn Hershman Leeson.

In the brainstorming phase, the production team (see below) was inspired by how Leeson’s work engages with questions of identity, embodiment, and community. We wanted to create an experience for Leeson’s visit that was inspired by the history and likely future of her work, but also celebrated feminist media art more widely, and that was situated within ATEC, drawing upon themes and practices that resonate in the teaching and research of the faculty who make up these four collectives. And if we’re being honest, the contours of the event were also shaped by our experiences of a national moment in which the sharp edges and potential traumas of digital interaction had many of us seeking offline communing and celebration more than ever. Leeson’s planned visit also coincided with Ada Lovelace Day.

We quickly decided that the event would be our 2018 Ada Lovelace Day programming, which is typically hosted by the Feminist MakerSpace. Despite the tangled politics of mainstream maker identity,[1] an explicit attention to, or naming of, “making” has recently become more prominent in Humanities research and teaching. Jentery Sayers’ edited collection Making Things and Drawing Boundaries explores a range of issues engendered by the Humanities’ maker turn, including a vibrant critique of the politics of more mainstream making practices.[2] Among the questions raised by Chachra and by Sayers’ collection is the relationship between the digital (ephemeral) / analog (material), or online / offline, in “making.” Just as Chachra’s decision not to identify as a maker is political, it is also political to decide what counts as making. And like most fervent taxonomies, the truth is never quite so clear. For instance, even the most analog or material of making practices is often bolstered by access to digital tutorials and online communities.

The Stitch n’ Glitch would teeter on the “/” of this binary. The event would rely upon material and digital making strategies to engage feminist media art. It would activate the ethos of a Stitch n’ Bitch, a cultural imaginary of fiber artists creating and socializing, which takes place via online communities like Ravelry or in-person meetings. It would invoke the concept of glitch as a way to signal the strangeness and malfunction of a cultural context that would relegate feminist media artists and feminized work to the margins, but also the glitch as tool when deployed against these same cultural systems. In other words, even though it was an event, held over two days in October 2018, it was undeniably shaped by Internet Vernacular, teetering on the “/”, remixing online and offline in celebration and contestation.

The central premise of the Stitch n’ Glitch, a celebration of feminist media artists enacted through communal creativity, is affectively quite different from the wry humor of much of meme culture. However, the ethos of the Stitch n’ Glitch, along with other works in this issue (Losh; SCRAM; Banner; Kocurek & Whipple, to name a few) suggests that “Internet Vernacular” is nowhere near monolithic. There is plenty of sarcastic and blithe humor on the Internet. But there are also many counterpublic spaces that focus on building community, care, and inclusion; networks that make time for supportive celebration and play; communities that hold space for underrepresented voices and imaginative alternatives. Some might say they glitch the system.

To see how the Stitch n’ Glitch came together, we invite you to visit our kitchen table and studio, as captured in the online exhibit that accompanies this introduction. 

View the Exhibit

Project Credits

Creative Director and Producer: Kim Brillante Knight

Pedagogical Director: Juan Llamas-Rodriguez

Research and Archive Director: Wendy Sung

Design Director: Hong-An Wu

Set Construction and Decoration: Philip Martin

Image Curation and General Support: Atanur Andic, Tuoc Nguyen, Mohammed Rashid, and David Worcester

Set Decoration: Rosalie McManis

Promotional Materials: Chad Phillips, Garret Chace

General Support: Christi Nielsen, Cameron Irby

Documentation: Rebecca Krusekopf

And credit is also due to the many who have hosted us at kitchen tables over the years...


Chachra, Debbie. “Why I am Not a Maker.” The Atlantic, 23 Jan 2015. Web. theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/

Sayers, Jentery, ed. Making Things and Drawing Boundaries: Experiments in the Digital Humanities. University of Minnesota Press, 2018. Debates in the Digital Humanities.


  1. See Chachra, “Why I am Not a Maker.”
  2. See in particular Rogers; Burek, Foster, Fox, and Rosner; Martin, Compton, and Hunt; Chachra; Boggs, Reed, and Lindblad; and Anderson and Campbell in Sayers’ volume.