Magritte Apple (from the Digital Theatre series), 1981-1985
Trained as a weaver, Charlotte Johannesson began to make tapestries as art in the 1970s. Her works satirised mainstream politics and often consisted of feminist and engaged commentaries on global events. In Chile Echoes in My Skull (1973/2016), for instance, she appears as a tormented witness who weaves an image of blood flowing from the open veins of Latin America on the occasion of General Augusto Pinochet’s 1973 military coup. In 1978, Johannesson traded her loom for an Apple II Plus, the first generation of personal computers. Teaching herself to program she used the same dimensions on the computer as she had on the weave (239 pixels on the horizontal side and 191 pixels on the vertical). Funded by The National Swedish Board for Technology and Development, she started the Digital Theatre with her partner, Sture Johannesson, in Malmö, Sweden. Existing between 1981 and 1985, the Digital Theatre was a technoutopia in miniature and Scandinavia’s first digital arts laboratory. Here Charlotte Johannesson set out to create ‘micro-performances’ with artistic as well as commercial purposes: digital graphics on screen and in print, and computer experiments in real time.