Punchcard Economy

Working from Home

Apr 26 2020 · by Sam Meech

Contribute your current working patterns to create a new knitted data visualisation of labour under lockdown.

Video – Transmediale ’15 Talk

Mar 30 2015 · by Sam Meech

A presentation I made as part of the Time & Motion panel at Transmediale 2015 – ‘CAPTURE ALL’, heled at the HKW, Berlin. I talk about the precarious nature of artistic labour, and how I got into knitting.

Photos – Data As Culture exhibition @ Lighthouse Arts

Jun 29 2014 · by Sam Meech

Images from the Data As Culture exhibition, curated by Shiri Shalmy, at Lighthouse Arts, Brighton. I produced a second version of the ‘8 Hours Labour’ banner for the show.  The exhibition also featured works by YoHa, James Bridle, Thickear, Paolo Cirio and James Brooks. Graham Harwood of Yoha also demonstrated the data-visualisation compressed air  ‘contraptions’  […]

Pictures – 8 Hours Labour workshop @Lighthouse

Jun 29 2014 · by Sam Meech

Images from yesterday’s machine knitting workshop at Lighthouse Arts as part of the Data As Culture exhibition. Participants included a digital arts producer, a graphic design freelancer, a textile artist who worked part time in an office job, and Lighthouse co-ordinator Natalie. Each person had to translate a log of their working week into a […]

Knitting Workshop at Lighthouse – 28th June

Jun 13 2014 · by Sam Meech

Saturday 28th June Machine Knitting workshop with Sam Meech 8 places / 4 sessions 1 hour 15 mins Join me to create a punchcard based on your own working patterns, and knit a sample pattern repeat to take home. Each session is for two participants, and lasts just over an hour. During the session you […]

Data As Culture @ Lighthouse Brighton

Jun 13 2014 · by Sam Meech

The Punchcard Economy project will be touring with the Data As Culture exhibition to Lighthouse in Brighton. http://www.lighthouse.org.uk/programme/data-as-culture The show opens on 21st June and runs till 2oth July. As with the ODI show, the venue is again too small to showacse the full banner, however, an ‘8 Hours Labour‘ sample banner containing the same […]

Future Everything workshop – pictures

Apr 06 2014 · by Sam Meech

Last weekend I spent my day of rest running a knitting workshop at Future Everything. It was a really enjoyable day, with knitters (both novice and expert) translating their working weeks into punchcards and then knitting them out as samples and scarves. I ran four ‘shifts’, though some people worked through their lunch in order […]

Precarious Workers and FACT

Apr 06 2014 · by Sam Meech

Last week saw some interesting discussion about paid roles and volunteering within arts institutions, as the Precarious Workers Brigade sent an open letter to FACT Liverpool, regarding their restructuring of jobs within the organisation, in particular the gallery supervisors. It was something that I touched on in my post about the Time and Motion symposium, and […]

Data As Culture – press

Mar 23 2014 · by Sam Meech

Some links to the Data As Culture shows at Open Data Institute and Future Everything. Daily Telegraph – exhibition in pictures Motherboard blog -How to Fight the Man

Rates for the Job – reflections on the Time and Motion symposium at RCA

Mar 09 2014 · by Sam Meech

On Wednesday I spoke about the Punchcard Economy project as part of the Time and Motion Symposium at the Royal College of Art. The event presented a variety of perspectives on work and time, and featured artists, researchers and curators involved in the show, as well as keynote presentations and summative reflections from other invited […]

8 Hours Labour @ DATA AS CULTURE – from 24th March

Mar 09 2014 · by Sam Meech

From 24th March, the Open Data Institute in London will be showing a knitted artwork developed from the Punchcard Economy project as part of their new exhibition. DATA AS CULTURE has been put together by curator Shiri Shalmy, and features works by James Bridle, ThickEar, YoHa and James Brooks. My contribution – ‘8 Hours Labour‘ […]

Punchcard Economy at Future Everything 29 & 30th March

Mar 09 2014 · by Sam Meech

The Punchcard Economy machine knitted banner will be at of the Future Everything festival in Manchester. The work is showing as part of the Data As Culture programme that is occupying venues across the city, curated by Shiri Shalmy, and featuring work by James Bridle, YoHa and Matthew Fuller, and Thickear. 10:00 – 18:00, Sat […]

Workshop at Future Everything – 30th March

Mar 09 2014 · by Sam Meech

As part of the Data As Culture exhibition at Future Everything, I will be running a short knitting machine workshop on Sunday 30th March. The workshop lasts 90 mins, and I have 4 slots for up to 4 participants: 10:00 – 11:30 11:30 – 13:00 14:00 – 15:30 15:30 – 17:00 book a slot here […]

The Banner

Dec 18 2013 · by Sam Meech

Some pictures of the final banner installed at FACT Liverpool as part of the Time & Motion exhibition.

8 Hours Rest

Dec 18 2013 · by Sam Meech

Now that the banner is finished and installed, and the Christmas holidays are nearly upon us, I find myself becoming far more inclined to relax, or perhaps unable to force work into each hour. I feel like an uncoiled spring. It’s a bit of a post-deadline blues, but I’m also enjoying my brain’s reduced capacity […]

FILM – making of

Dec 15 2013 · by Sam Meech

A short video document by Tim Brunsden about the making of the Punchcard Economy banner.


Dec 09 2013 · by Sam Meech

The banner is finally finished. At 6am this morning I drove to Liverpool to install it at FACT. by 9 am it was up, rigged in the atrium, hanging from dowel threaded through those carefully constructed hems. I’m very pleased, and have much more documentation to share, but in the meantime… Some facts about the […]

Time & Motion: Redefining Working Life

Dec 01 2013 · by Sam Meech

Thursday 12 December – Sunday 9 March – FACT, LIVERPOOL

Time & Motion will be the first showing of the (hopefully) completed knitted 888 banner.

Final Banner Design

Nov 26 2013 · by Sam Meech

The data has been collated, and ordered and the final size of the banner worked out, to create the final design layout.


Nov 24 2013 · by Sam Meech

Before the final push next week, I wanted to really try and nail the hem thing, so i’ve spent this weekend in the project space at Federation House in Manchester

Testing data, joining panels and knitting hems

Nov 22 2013 · by Sam Meech

I’m into the engineering phase of the knitting design now. This week I’ve been looking at how to attach the various panels to make up the final banner, and also to create a mechanism for suspending it. As the knitting machine can only knit a maximum 200 stitches, then I am limited to producing strips […]

Testing Yarns

Nov 17 2013 · by Sam Meech

Testing the yarns that while make up the final banner

P.E. at Crystallize / KBEE2013

Nov 08 2013 · by Sam Meech

This week, Punchcard Economy – Worker In Progress has been exhibited as part of the Crystallize show at the Korean Brand and Entertain Expo, London.

Surrendering Recreation?

Nov 07 2013 · by Sam Meech

Claire McAndrew is a Research Associate and Chartered Psychologist at The Bartlett School of Graduate Studies, University College London, interested in the concepts of health and wellbeing; security and resilience; and the future workplace as they extend beyond buildings into the fabric of the city.

Working Hours – Get a Life

Nov 05 2013 · by Sam Meech

Great article on the Economist website, as spotted by John O’Shea – it looks statistically at working hours and productivity across the EU. Working Hours – Get a Life  

Project update – 6 weeks till T&M

Oct 27 2013 · by Sam Meech

As there are only 6 weeks before the Time & Motion exhibition opens at FACT, it’s a good point to take stock of the project so far, and outline the next steps for the banner.

8 Hours a Day – “Whoa Bobby Whoa!”

Oct 27 2013 · by Sam Meech

An excerpt from the Durham Miners Gala 2013 documentary by Richard Searle. This clip features a banner that relates to the fight for fairer hours and better working conditions for miners. Using the example of a horse / pit pony who is asked to work 8 hours a day compared to another who works 10 […]


Oct 20 2013 · by Sam Meech

An event like Oggcamp feels very relevant to the project, as most of the delegates work with digital tools, and involved in the rethinking and restructuring of ‘work’ – setting up new business within the digital economy.

Natural Working Rhythms

Oct 20 2013 · by Sam Meech

Vanessa Bartlett is an art writer, academic and producer specialising in performance art, digital cultures and art and mental health. Here she talks briefly about the careful balance of work and wellbeing.

snapshot #1 – working hours / out of contract

Oct 15 2013 · by Sam Meech

A quick screen grab of the data being produced via the website so far, as laid out in a spreadsheet with conditional formatting. In the first image we can see the total hours in which ‘labour’ is undertaken, and in the second image the ‘out of contract’ hours.

‘flexible’ working and the guilt of undone tasks

Oct 15 2013 · by Sam Meech

Ben Dalton (http://bendalton.noii.net) is a computational design and new technology researcher based in the Faculty of Arts, Environment & Technology at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. Here. alongside his knitted ‘out of contract’ hours, he describes his relationship to ‘flexible’ working, and provides some very interesting insights into the role of email.

Banner Test 01

Oct 06 2013 · by Sam Meech

Some pictures of test banner knits created at the week-long Worker In Progress residency in the FACT Connects space. The aim was to see how text would look at scale, and also how it would be changed by mapping on the data collected so far. The final design with have to make more careful consideration […]

Basic design – mapping difference

Oct 01 2013 · by Sam Meech

The process I’m initially exploring for creating the design is through using the working hours data as a difference layer. When combined with a base design, any information in the difference layer will invert the value of the base layer. Thus, any hours worked as ‘overtime’ will show up as an inverted stitch. Applying this […]

Worker In Progress – 18-22 Sept, FACT Liverpool

Sep 03 2013 · by Sam Meech

Wed 18th – Sun 22nd September, FACT Liverpool (10am – 6pm) I will be working 8 hours a day for 5 days in the FACT Connects space, developing machine-knitting tests for the Punchcard Economy banner, and also signing people up to a 40 hour ‘contract’ to log their working data. Feel free to drop in […]

Welcome to the Punchcard Economy

Sep 03 2013 · by Sam Meech

Welcome to the Punchcard Economy blog. This site will develop over the next 3 months, collecting data about contemporary working patterns, and documenting the development of the artwork – a machine-knitted translation of the Eight Hour Day movement banner.