[ISEA2011] Panel: Bet­tina Schülke – Interactive Technotextiles: The hy­brid be­tween Tex­tiles and Tech­nol­ogy

Panel Statement

Panel:  The Institute of Unnecessary Research

Ultra Smart Tex­tiles are the lat­est gen­er­a­tion of Smart Tex­tiles, which can sense, react and adopt them­selves to en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions or stim­uli from me­chan­i­cal, ther­mal, chem­i­cal, elec­tri­cal or mag­netic sources. Thus the par­tic­i­pa­tory au­di­ence ex­pe­ri­ence is sig­nif­i­cantly height­ened, “push­ing the bound­aries”, com­pared to mod­els cre­ated with ear­lier tech­nolo­gies. Much has been dis­cussed about Smart Fab­rics lately. This rapidly grow­ing field of­fers a huge range of re­search op­por­tu­ni­ties and new areas for in­ves­ti­ga­tions. Novel tech­nol­ogy com­bined with one of the old­est tra­di­tions, the pro­duc­tion of tex­tiles, fa­cil­i­tates as­ton­ish­ing re­sults on many dif­fer­ent lev­els. These ma­te­ri­als with in­cor­po­rated tech­no­log­i­cal el­e­ments en­able the fab­rics to trans­form them into in­ter­ac­tive in­ter­faces. While nu­mer­ous re­search op­por­tu­ni­ties as well as in­no­v­a­tive method de­vel­op­ment by artists are of­fered in this field, it has to be noted that the goal of re­search is to­wards a prag­matic out­come closely linked to in­dus­try. The artist in this spe­cific field serves as a con­duit for knowl­edge trans­fer. A very smart or in­tel­li­gent tex­tile es­sen­tially con­sists of a unit, which works like the brain, with cog­ni­tion, rea­son­ing and ac­ti­vat­ing ca­pac­i­ties. While Smart Tex­tiles are nowa­days still more con­nected with fash­ions or wear­ables and to a lesser de­gree with health or mil­i­tary use, there are huge pos­si­bil­i­ties for an artis­tic ap­proach con­nected to site spe­cific and in­ter­ac­tive works. In the gad­get or fash­ion field the tech­no­log­i­cal tools are often sep­a­rated from the tex­tile ma­te­r­ial, yet novel de­vel­op­ments for em­bed­ded tech­nol­ogy in­side the fab­ric are al­ready being in­ves­ti­gated and offer new po­ten­tials. Ob­ser­va­tions show very clearly that a lot of re­search is still needed, nev­er­the­less a sig­nif­i­cant amount of as­ton­ish­ing re­sults are al­ready gen­er­ated. Nev­er­the­less sev­eral ques­tions re­main unan­swered. How these ma­te­ri­als can be used to cre­ate mean­ing­ful rep­re­sen­ta­tions? How can the sen­sory as­pect of Smart Fab­rics be fur­ther de­vel­oped? How can the prac­ti­cal use of Smart Fab­rics be widely pro­moted be­yond the fash­ion and sports in­dus­try? This fast grow­ing area of Smart Tex­tiles is cross­ing bor­ders be­tween artis­tic, tech­no­log­i­cal and sci­en­tific sec­tors. This paper will focus on how the use of In­tel­li­gent Fab­rics can be in­volved more ef­fec­tively in art­works that ex­plore artis­tic and tech­ni­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties to en­able new aes­thetic per­spec­tives.

  • Bet­tina Schülke (Mag. Art) is an Aus­trian artist, Ph.D Re­searcher and lec­turer at the Uni­ver­sity of La­p­land, FI. Her re­search theme is “Trans­ac­tion (Phe­nom­e­nol­ogy of Space and Time Di­men­sions)”. In ad­di­tion she is con­sult­ing a re­search pro­ject on Smart Tex­tiles from the Aus­trian Tex­tile Com­pany Back­hausen and the smart tex­tile Plat­tform at the ÖTI (In­sti­tut für Ökolo­gie, Tech­nik und In­no­va­tion). Schülke has ex­hib­ited her art­works widely at in­ter­na­tion­ally promi­nent venues like the 2nd Thes­sa­loniki Bi­en­nale (GR), Shunt Lounge, Lon­don (GB), De Winkel­haak De­sign Mu­seum, Antwerp (BE), Kemi Art Mu­seum; Lume Me­di­akeskus, Helsinki (FI), the MAK-nite (Mu­seum of Ap­plied Arts), Vi­enna (AT) and tex­tile works at the Aus­trian Pavil­ion at the 8.th In­ter­na­tional Ar­chi­tec­ture Bi­en­nale in Venice (IT). She has lec­tured at the Uni­ver­sity of Fine Arts in Vi­enna (AT), the Uni­ver­sity of La­p­land and the Kemi/Tornio Uni­ver­sity of Ap­plied Sci­ence (FIN), and was co-or­ga­nizer and par­tic­i­pat­ing artist at the pres­ti­gious e-Mo­bi­LArt pro­ject (Eu­ro­pean Mo­bile Lab for In­ter­ac­tive Artists).

Full text (PDF) p. 2194-2199