Vernelle Noel: The Algorithm of Wire-Bending

Craft practices, knowledges, and communities are disappearing. These practices carry with them histories and cultures of people, knowledges, and social ties to communities. One of these practices is wire-bending in the Trinidad Carnival, which began in the 1930s. Some reasons for its disappearance include dying practitioners, lacking pedagogy, changing practices, and techno-centric developments. How might we employ algorithms, patterns, and mathematics in the restoration, remediation, and reconfiguration of this practice, knowledge, and community? In this talk, I share The Bailey-Derek Grammar, a mathematical description of this dying craft which has aided in documentation and transmission of this knowledge.

This event took place at the end of May 2022. You can watch the recording above.


Vernelle A. A. Noel, Ph.D. is a design scholar, architect, artist, and Director of the Situated Computation + Design Lab. Currently an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech., she investigates traditional practices, digital practices, interdisciplinary creativity, and their intersections with society. She builds new frameworks, methodologies, expressions, and tools to explore social, cultural, and political aspects of computation and emerging technologies for new reconfigurations of practice, pedagogy, and publics. Her work has been supported by the Graham Foundation, the Mozilla Foundation, ideas2innovation, and others. She is a recipient of the DigitalFUTURES Young Award for exceptional research and scholarship in the field of critical computational design. Dr. Noel has worked at the University of Stuttgart, the University of Florida, Penn State University, MIT, the Singapore University of Technology & Design, and has practiced as an architect in the US, India, and Trinidad & Tobago.