MAARTJE DIJKSTRA [NL] “DENZIPFADEN” (2012)
“DENZIPFADEN” is a baroquely embellished garment, which utilizes zippers as an interactive platform through which to DJ. It was develop in collaboration with the electronic music composer Beorn”Newk” Lebenstedt, as a new platform for musical expression. In an increasingly intangible musical landscape were music is made on laptops, from digital sound samples, and through built-in computational effects and filters—it is quite another dimension to create new tangible hardware to manipulate sound. Bringing us back to the physical instrumentation of sound through the manipulation of materials, the zippers on this garment function as body-clad switches, taking us closer to an instrumentation via embodied musical interaction.
Q: What is your background?
I studied fashion at the Artez Art-academy, in Arnhem the Netherlands.
Q: What led you to your being involved in fashion and technology?
I’m not so much a designer who is looks back in time for inspiration, but more towards the future. For me fashion is a platform to translate your most extreme thoughts, and ideas into a sculptural/design piece or collection. So I think fashion and technology are a great combination because everything is possible. In my work the use of special materials is a big part of the design process and end result. This is how I worked, for instance, on the fashion and technology project ‘Intimacy.’ For me, this was a great way of combining a interesting materials, sculptural parts, handcrafted details, and technology. After this experience, I was inspired to do more fashion and technology projects like the “DENZIPFADEN” outfit.
Q: What kinds of materials and technologies are used and integrated into your designs? Could you describe the process / challenges / advantages of using these particular materials in fashion and garments?
I’m very inspired by electronic music and my partner Beorn lebenstedt is a electronic composer. So every day I get inspired by great music/sounds, and a music/ fashion cooperation was a logical step for us to make and that is when we created the DENZIPFADEN ouftit! Beorn (aka NEWK) started by the idea that zippers could be function as a midi controller.
Q: What does technology add to fashion?
The biggest thing that technology adds for me is amazing collaborations. To work with people from other (art) disciplines is a big inspiration!! I’m not a very technical person, and I sometimes have ideas that are just not possible without people who are technical. For me technology is a source of possibilities.
Q: If you could have anyone alive or dead wearing your fashion-tech design, whom would you pick, and where would they be?
I think that it is a pity we live in a time where famous people wearing your fashion pieces is so very important. It’s almost to the extreme that if no one does wear it, you do not exist as a designer… Of course, we all want to be recognized as designers, and would it be great if a person that promotes high fashion would like to wear “DENZIPFADEN.” But for me it is not so much about a specific person… I think I would be more than happy to be recognized by all the people who love and understand fashion in general.
Q: How do you envision the everyday fashion-tech of the future?
I think that fashion is something else then just clothes….clothes is a translation of fashion, things we wear in our daily live. If I look at a clothes perspective—I think if we want to integrate it in our daily live, it depends on the people, and on the technology that is being used. People love to wear practical things and integrating technology makes it complex to wear, to wash, iron etc…so it depends on how they translate the endless creativity and possibilities of fashion.
Q: Tell us about the piece you developed at Quartier21 during your Artist-in-Residency.
The name of the piece is DENZIPFADEN. It is a high fashion men’s outfit that functions as a music/dj controller. The suit and especially the top, is totally handcrafted out of golden silk/polyester wires, and custom made golden zippers that carry the electrical circuit of the suit. By pulling the zippers (6 including the bracelet) up and down the wearer can change the volume of the music or add samples—or anything else from a midi-controller. Our goal was to bring fashion, music, and technology together into a spherical, junglelistic, and dark high fashion men’s outfit. Although the suit is technical, it was designed specifically not to appear that way, making the midi-controller function of the suit secondary to its function as a fashion garment. By keeping the technology hidden, it adds a great element of surprise to the DJ set.
Credits: Photographers: Michele Pauty; Igor Kruter; Richard Sinte Maartensdijk; Carina Hesper.
Vienna, August 2012