The Knotted Line / 2012

by Evan Bissell, Design and Programming by Erik Loyer

The Knotted Line is an interactive, tactile laboratory for exploring the historical relationship between freedom and confinement in the geographic area of the United States. The project features artist and project director Evan Bissell’s miniature paintings of over 50 historical moments from 1945 to 2025, set within a fluid interface that entices users to “tear open” the fabric of history to reveal its interconnecting threads.

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The Knotted Line 1

The project opens, and a wavy line connecting enigmatic silhouettes appears.


The Knotted Line 2

As the user moves the cursor over the line, it undulates in response before splitting open to reveal Evan Bissell’s painting, adding another layer of meaning to the silhouette while also introducing the historical moment being depicted.


Video Introduction





The Knotted Line 3

Across the 25,000 pixel wide timeline, a spectrum of visuals and historical events are available to be explored.


The Knotted Line 4

Users can add their own comments in response to questions posed by the interface.


The Knotted Line 5

The publishing platform Scalar is used to deliver the content and data that drives the tactile experience, and Scalar’s own interface serves as the vehicle for additional educational resources surrounding each historical moment.