Creaturely Life

Noah Pivnick

Creaturely Life explores the winding of yarn as a tactile, tangible interface for reading electronic text.


Creaturely Life takes it's name from a collection of poems by Michael Joyce, written in stream of consciousness from the perspective of a woman keeping vigil over her dying husband. The final poem in the series recounts having found solace in knitting beside her husband’s deathbed.

Turning the crank of a ball winder, the poems unfold at first in fragments on a screen as a length of yarn (the poem as object) passes through the user's fingers. The poem fragments run their course and the poem is revealed in it's entirety only once the ball of yarn runs out.

Winding yarn with a ball winder is an intrinsically satisfying interaction. The crank evokes the passage of time. The wobble of the spool, spinning off-axis, conjures visions of an orrery, the cycle of life, and what it means to be immaterial.

An interface emblematic of knitting is befitting a collection of poems about death and dying. The last of the yarn slips swiftly through the user's fingers as the original ball of yarn disappears, reconstituted in identical form on the winder’s spindle. Cycles within cycles, as in life.


Introduction to Computational Media, Introduction to Physical Computing