Ingrid Bachmann's essay "Material and the Promise of the Immaterial" in Material matters: The Art and Culture of Contemporary Textiles (Toronto: YYZ Books, 1998) looks at the shaping force that weaving has had on new technology and the romance of the new frontier surrounding digital technology. Noting, "how our visions of the future are predicated on the structures of the past," Bachmann counters traditional notions of textile practice as a "gentle art" with the significant role the textile industry has played in the Industrial Revolution, and currently in the digital revolution. She cites the forerunner of the first computing machine, Charles Babbage's Analytical Engine, based on the early nineteenth century Jacquard loom invented by Joseph Marie Jacquard (in 1805), to initiate a discussion of weaving as "a process of information storage, a binary system of interlocking threads, mirroring the 0's and 1's of computer programming."
An apparatus with perforated cards was fitted to the loom to facilitate the weaving of figured fabrics with intricate variegated patterns. Bachmann notes that "Jacquard's system of pattern punch-cards to store and process information for his automated loom was translated onto the first computer punch-cards." She directs attention to the significant role the form of presentation plays in the mediation of information; in other words she declares that material matters.
To read more about the dynamic relation between the Jacquard loom and the first computers, read the essay mentioned above and others about the culture of weaving and technology in Material matters: The Art and Culture of Contemporary Textiles edited by Bachmann and Ruth Scheuing.