Make Your Tech and Wear It Too (2019)

Stories from an e-textile tailor

Presentation at the CCC Camp 2019, 2019-08-21 16:00

CCCamp talk screenshots

VIDEO:

In this talk i’d like to give an introduction to the materials, tools, skills and energies involved in making electronic textiles and tailoring wearable technology, which has been my practice for the past 13 years.

I spend my days crafting electronic textiles, imagining what this technology, worn on our bodies, will allow us to sense, to communicate, to become. As an explorer of new materials, I create soft circuits and textile sensors that I document and share on How To Get What You Want and A-Kit-Of-No-Parts hoping to inspire others to join me in this material practice.

Starting points for my work vary from open-ended playful explorations of materials/tools/techniques in order to discover interesting narratives and diverse ways of doing things (such as hand-embroidering elaborate circuitry onto a funeral gown to speak about possible futures), to directed commissions looking to problem-solve and realize concrete ideas (such as developing robust hard-soft connections, insulation methods, sensor and actuator designs).

Whether I’m exploring or solving, I find myself seeking direct, hands-on encounters with the materials of electronics – materials that due to their abilities to conduct, resist, isolate, store or generate electrical current are able to make up what we think of as electronics. I’m drawn to this more interactive style of dialogue because it allows me to engage more of my bodily sensors (sensations) and actuators in real-time debate-like conversation. There is this image of future technology being fully constructed by machine and a workmanship of certainty. I’m drawn to exploring the other end of the spectrum, towards what furniture designer and design theorist David Pye’s describes as the workmanship of risk. How uncertain, how intimate, how messy, how physically and collaboratively connected can we get with the materials of electronics?