[ISEA2011] Workshop: Valérie Lamontagne & Mika Satomi – Open Culture and Wearables Skillshare

Workshop Statement

A workshop focused on skillsharing between wearables technologists and the local craft-based Istanbul textiles community. We are interested in exploring the potential for the cross-pollination of traditional with technology-based textiles techniques via the one-on-one meeting, discussion and demonstration of practices that a skillshare workshop can provide. Specifically, we are interested in sharing craft and skills in wearable technology practices and believe that the Istanbul community working in traditional crafts practices has a lot to teach us. Turkey has a rich history of handcrafts production, which is still very much active and part of contemporary textiles production. We are interested in meeting with a local craft-based textiles community to become more aware of traditional techniques (for example: lace, crochet and embroidery) in order to explore how these may be applied to wearable technologies. In exchange, we are eager to share wearables research in craft-technology with the Istanbul community and explore how these could be applied or used in local practices. Although much of the trend in techno-textiles (military, health, sports) has put aside “manual” and small-scale production in favor of large-scale and high-tech innovation, arts-oriented research and design in wearables continues to highly value craft and traditional textile techniques. Wearables artist and designers seek out hand-made, small-scale practices found in craft and couture culture, foregrounding manual dexterity and skills. Furthermore, research institutions such as MIT High-Low Tech group have specifically revived craft practices in conjunction with technological innovation to explore new and novel ways of integrating technology. One could argue that much of technological production (the fine motor skills of soldering circuits and attention to detail in coding) also expresses modalities of working which approach craft from a new angle. Wearable research, in our opinion, specifically brings these two “craft” worlds – textiles and technology – together.
The workshop will be elaborated in collaboration with the participants of the Open Culture + Wearables panel and will also provide and opportunity for “experts” in the field of wearables to rethink wearables practices from outside of their purview, and to consider how the tech-centric practices of wearable technologies can be used alongside traditional craft-based techniques.?The goals of the workshop are to explore a) skillsharing of local craft-based Istanbul textiles practices and wearables research in craft-technology b) discovery of new practices relative to field of enquiry (i.e. in the case of wearables/tech individuals: the opportunity to learn a traditional textiles practices; in the case of the craft-based Istanbul textiles community an opportunity to interface with wearable technologies i.e. LilyPad Arduino, conductive threads, micro-controllers, LED/kinetic implementation etc. c) a cross-cultural skillshare of textiles and wearables practices resulting in post-conference sharable experience, artifacts, and documents (online and printed documentation and report). Dr.Selçuk Gürisik will demonstrate Anatolian felt making techniques, which will be integrated into e-textiles and wearables practices.

  1. The workshop will take place around one unique textile/craft technique, which is particular to Turkey (i.e. lace, crochet, embroidery).
  2. This textile/craft technique will be sharable over the one-day time frame of the workshop.
  3. The goal of the workshop will be to see how wearable technologies may be embedded/applied to this traditional Turkish craft – both tangibly and on a concept level.
  4. The skillshare will take place between the participants of the Open Design + Wearables panel and key local textile/craft organization members.
  5. Participants in the ISEA conference will be invited to drop in, participate, question and observe the one-day skillshare.
  6. The results of the skillshare will be communicated within the Open Design + Wearables panel presentation (taking place after the workshop) as well as via post-event online documentation.
  • Valérie Lamontagne is a digital media designer-artist, theorist and curator researching techno-artistic frameworks that combine human/nonhuman agencies. Looking at the rich practice of performance art, social intervention and interactive installations – she is invested in developing responsive objects (specifically wearables) and interactive media scenarios which interlope the public-at-large, the environment and matter as “performer”. She is the Founder and Director of 3lectromode, a design studio invested in developing wearables that combine D-I-Y technology with current fashion research. Her work has been showcased in festivals, galleries and museums across Canada, the United States, Central and South America and Europe. She holds a BFA and MFA in visual arts and is presently a PhD candidate at Concordia University investigating “Performativity, Materiality and Laboratory Practices in Artistic Wearables” where she teaches in the Department of Design & Computation Arts.  valerielamontagne.com   3lectromode.com
  • Otto von Busch is a researcher at the School of Design and Craft at University of Gothenburg, Sweden, exploring the emergence of a new “hacktivist” designer role in fashion. He has also been teaching the course Fashion and Technology at K3, Malmo University as well as Creative Technologies at Auckland University of Technology. selfpassage.org
  • Syuzi Pakhchyan is fashion technologist and author with a passion for beautiful code and conductive cloth. After receiving her BFA from UC Berkeley, USA, and her MFA from the Art Center College of Design, she began a research-based design practice in 2006 focused on next generation wearable technologies. Author of “Fashioning Technology” the first DIY book on interactive fashion, Syuzi has also penned numerous articles on the creative practices of intelligent clothing. As a leading expert in her field, she chronicles the constantly evolving developments in wearable tech on her blog, fashioningtech.com, while continuing to develop products that are both fashionable and culturally motivated. Her work has been exhibited at various conferences and events including Eyebeam, the Fashion Future Event, South by Southwest, Maker Faire and Emerging Technologies Conference.  fashioningtech.com
  • Melissa Coleman is a new media artist whose work focuses on the shifting relationship between people, their bodies and technology. Melissa teaches at the Royal Academy of Art in The Hague and the Willem de Kooning Academie in Rotterdam and is coach at the Wearable Senses theme of the Industrial Design department of the Technical University of Eindhoven. Together with Piem Wirtz from V2_ she founded the E-Textile Workspace, a monthly expert meeting for artists and designers working with textiles and electronics. She curated the exhibition Pretty Smart Textiles, which has been on show in The Hague, The Netherlands in 2010 and in Herning, Denmark in 2011. She currently writes for Fashioning Technology and designs interactive textiles. prettysmarttextiles.com
  • Piem Wirtz is projectmanager at V2_Lab. Her main interest is in wearable technology projects, where she is not only involved from a management perspective but also in the hands-on production of artworks. Piem holds an MSc in Industrial Design Engineering and participates as a dancer in the contemporary dance group Dattah. In 2009 she initiated the E-Textile Workspace, in collaboration with Melissa Coleman. The E-Textile Workspace aims to offer an informal setting for both critical discussions around and about wearables, and for hands-on work on individual projects. The assumption that the field of wearable technology is in need for critical reflection turned out to be correct, given the fact that the group has largely expanded over the last year. The E-Textile Workspace has proven to be a very successful platform for bringing people together and sharing information. Besides hosting the monthly Workspaces, Piem has been actively coaching V2_Lab’s artist-in-residents. Many popular wearable technology projects such as Intimacy (Daan Roosegaarde), Pseudomorphs (Anouk Wipprecht) and Media Vintage (Melissa Coleman) found their origin at V2_Lab. V2.nl
  • Since 2006 Mika Satomi and Hannah Perner-Wilson have collaborated forming the collective KOBAKANT. They explore the use of wearable technology as a medium for commenting on the social and technological aspects of today’s high-tech society. Conscious of wearability and questioning of functionality, they believe in the spirit of humoring technology and present a twisted criticism of the stereotypes it creates. For them technology exists to be hacked, DIYed and modified by everyone to fit their own needs and desires. In 2009, as research fellows at the Distance Lab in Scotland, KOBAKANT published an online database for their DIY wearable technology titled HOW TO GET WHAT YOU WANT.
    kobakant.at       howtogetwhatyouwant.at
  • Istanbul born Dr.Selçuk Gürisik is fiber artist related to felt works, folklore textile works, and fashion art. On the completion of his Ph.D.’s degree at University of the Arts London, Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design researching into Anatolian Felt Making, he worked on international art and design projects, which are costume and set designing to performing arts and theater. Also he has been art directing for the film-industry. Currently, he is participating in community projects and organizing workshops/exhibitions (social responsibility). These are emphasizing upon the importance of the disappearing regional cultural-identities under threat from globalization. His practice-based interdisciplinary design approach enables the production of a broad range of artifacts bringing an appreciation of the cultural inheritances. The combination of multi-medium fabric-making techniques enables the transformation between traditional and contemporary concepts representing the aspects of the post-postmodernism. Working as an art director and designing scenery and costumes facilitated a realization about visible and invisible qualities of the objects relating to personifying them in their belonging cultural locations. Dr.Gurisik is visiting Lecturer and Artist in Resident at Sabanci University, TR.