This past fall (2015), I taught an introductory class of technology textiles to fibers students at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada. This was for many students a first introduction to the world of electronics, soft circuits, programming and designing for interaction. Needless to say, the final projects pretty much blew me away!
Techno-Textiles: The course was designed to make the world of electronics accessible for the creation of interactive textile art projects. The design brief for the final class project focused on building a “second skin” that communicates information (physical memory) to another human/animal/object.
Here are some of the projects!
Sara Graorac + Tess Kuramoto “I Care”
“I Care” is a pair of wrist and forearm splints that serve to communicate through several sources of energy. “I Care” splints function through a wireless signal and an interaction between wearers. “I care” explores the effects of holistic and alternative medicine, juxtaposed against aesthetics of modern healthcare. The wearable technology references light therapy and reflexology. “I Care” serves as an extension of the self; a reminder that our body can be a vessel for the intangible, and a centre for empathy, communication and ultimately for healing.
Rita Kesselring + Lea Schwarz Dionne “Mediated Communication ( Device 1 )”
“Mediated Communication” is an immersive sound experience where two participants share different sounds in order to make sense of a bigger message. Each participant can listen to the sound they send and also the one transmitted by their partner. Drawing from the idea of technology mediating our understanding of information, this object is regulating the communication between the users and they are no longer communicating verbally.
Lydia Laberge “Sans titre (Homme aux yeux qui vibrent)” (Untitled (Man With Vibrating Eyes))
This work features a bust constructed of painted canvas, with tiny mirrors embedded inside his eyes. When a viewer approaches the sculpture and looks into his eyes, a vibrator is activated, causing one’s own eye reflection to blur.
Laïla Mestari “OK, on voit ta tête” (Ok, We See Your Head)
With “OK, on voit ta tête” I am interested in the link between our dependence on technology to perceive the world, and the loss of existing senses along the way. I see it as a quintessential example of the blind leading the bind.
Mireille Monette-Bouteiller “Breathe”
The project “Breathe” is a user-activated audio piece that provides a sonic environment to contemplate the landscape, and offer a respite from the busy student life.
Slipping on a garment calls upon a movement of our limbs, who navigate and then settle in. This project explores the movement of a sleeve under three conceptual and technical angles.
Clara Quintela de Almeida “Heartbeat”
“Heartbeat” plays with the idea of being someone else, being in someone else’s “heart,” as an exercise in detaching ourselves/transposing ourselves into another body, another skin, another situation, another life. It is a metaphor for compassion.
Techno Textiles – Fibers Department, Fine Arts, Concordia University, Montreal Canada – Fall 2015
Valérie Lamontagne, Professor