Interactive textiles and how textiles visualize the environment and power my mobile.
The day begun with a presentation of the design team Diffus and of all participants.
We listened to a great lecture by Diffus, it was an interesting theoretical approach to the topic of el-textiles and wearables. The journey started with how we became posthumans, beginning with the attitude towards technology seen as a curious utopian element like you can see in the great movie: Metropolis from 1927 (the machine mensch). Diffus mentioned Bauhaus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauhaus), especially the scenic theatre and the costume design of Oskar Schlemmer (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oskar_schlemmer), as one of the inspirational sources for the design team. The approach towards technology and body changed to something scary, powerful and dark in the 80´ties, Hollywood movies like Terminator and Bladerunner opened the way of experiencing technology embedded in human tissue – the skin. The Blockbuster Matrix in the 90ties added another layer to the thematic of technology and body – can we believe our reality? Technology now approaches us as something fancy, and clean. In the movie humans are used as power supply for the world runs by robots. Technology now has found its way into our mind, – as a mindgame.
referred readings: How We Became Posthuman, Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics by N.Katherine Hayles referred Artists: Patricia Piccini, Stelarc.
Later in the speech the focus turned upon the body. That space is made wearable, the body as a sensor to trigger an experience.
referred Artists: Diller and Scofidio – Blur Building, Lozano Hemmer, Bill T. Jones/Paul Kaiser and Shelly Eshkar.
Referred projects in the part Fashion and Technology: Hug Shirt by http://www.cutecircuit.com/, Elena Corchera http://www.lostvalues.com/, The Bubble mood-sensing dress by Philips and the Sonic Fabric (http://www.sonicfabric.com/).
Later we got an insight on how the project of the Diffus design team actually work, what technology stands behind projects like the CyberAngel, 2004 and Costumes Choreography 2006.
One ongoing project is the Interactive Sample Book, that will display a number of possibilities where computer technology, smart materials and textiles are mixed such an extend that the textile can react to different kinds of input from the surrounding world. (http://diffus.dk/projects.htm).
They showed and explained us the journey from experiment to fashion, on the Climate Dress 2009. The ways from experimenting to finding a company that can do delicate embroidery, to a commercial product of the ready functioning dress.
We got an insight into the thematic of electronic, how circuits and soft circuits are working by Riccardo, that is the owner of Inntex (family inherent old textile knitting company in Italy / Firenze) and of the webshop, called plug and wear (http://www.plugandwear.com/) where you can order electronical gadgets (LED´s, el-wire, conductive fabrics, manufactured sensors, etc …).
The company Inntex is producing smart textiles like pressure sensitive fabric and luminescent fabric just to mention some of the commercial samples. Inntex creates for example textiles with very thin metal threads (stainless steel, copper), later the fabric gets embossed creating with it a pattern or it is being printed upon. Visit their homepage to see more of the innovative textiles – that can be used as ready canvases for your el-textile idea!
To prevent our head from burning (lots of input) we ended the day with a material hour. The team of Diffus showed us their inventions for real, the fabrics and textiles with it the electronic and technology used. We touched and looked at carbon non woven fabric that can transform electricity into heat and let the thermochromic ink react, at Lillipads, mini LEDs, muscel wire, solar cells, … . Riccardo showed Inntex and Plug and Wear´s innovative and conductive metal fabrics, like heat resistant polyester mix with tin copper thread, stunningly beautiful looking copper tubes and stainless steal weavings.
I invite you to visit the slideshow of the Day1 worklab with Diffus, there you can get the same fantastic feeling of what we had after the material hour and the very informative first day.
Artist/ Textile- and Fiberartist/Materialexpert