Getting Lost and Unlearning Certainty (2019)

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In march 2019 I collaborated with David Cole to investigate the role of materials in our electronic-craft practices. In a 6-week letter exchange we wrote about our practices from amid our varying processes.


Looking back, four things stand out to me as insights that I’d never before seen this clearly:
::: I’m following most of the time
::: Materials contain the stories we use them to tell – and we think the stories are ours!
::: I’m not as skilled as I thought at smoothly transitioning between the abstract and the tangible
::: My idea of “getting lost with the materials” is not about engaging in an extreme material-lead adventure as much as it is departing from social frameworks of value
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that the more dense the material the more power it took to heat and the longer it took to cool down again. +//Every time I make a decision, I’m revealing underlying motivations, intuitions, expectations that can be uncovered if I only take the time to reflect. —————- Reduced my selection back to 3-4 items to help myself focus on some concrete experiments.
++//There is a gap between thinking-about-making and making. It requires energy to make the jump. Energy in the form of courage, hope, stamina. //How to make the jump when the energy is not there? >>>>>>>>>>>>> Going through familiar motions with the most obvious of opportunities. Mixing the pigment with acrylic paint, textile paint…… painting it on fabrics, papers, seashells, pine needles, transistors…. >>>>>>>>>>>>> Hooking up the ends of a 20cm piece of steel thread to a 9V battery and using it to heat the what I had prepared. Swiping it across my samples and observing them change colour. +++//By simply doing something with the materials I had set myself up for discovering something interesting [origin of word interesting: from inter- ‘between’ + esse ‘be’ – to be between] that could then lead me further in. |<<>>|<<>>|<<<“Submerge myself in the process” (quote from letter, 1/3/2019)>>>|———— Thin, porous fabrics coated in the thermochromic mixm, held up to my noise/mouth, breathing out causes heat to spread, breathing in sucks cold air though the material. ++++//This interplay of bodily heat and electronic heat drew me in…. ——————————- Once submerged in the process, it was easy to keep meandering…. one idea leads to the next to the next… until I had lost track of what the point was. It was here that i made some of my most surprising and motivating discoveries >>>>>> Continuing to mix the pigment with vaseline, nail varnish, water…… and finally wax. I never would have thought that the pigment would mix so well with wax! And that I would return to my childhood enthusiasm for poking my fingers into melting candles, dripping it on snow and making thermochromic candles. I used snow to make moulds, bringing in the outdoors, seasonal materials, adding lines of thread for composite flexibility and surface coverage…. +++++// Experiments in creating surface heating with carbon paint were not successful. ——————— ((((Wanting to be submerged, lost, aimless…. but also needing to feel comfortable in this state. grappling for what I had experience with.)))) +++++++//What I found most intriguing was the interplay between the electrically controllable heating and the bodily (uncontrollable) heating and cooling caused by breathing as well as the heat from regular body temperature. I wanted to achieve a setup that would allow for these two different sources of heat to meet through the material actuation in order to reveal something that would otherwise not occur. ———–>>>>>>>>_______I am able to electrically change the colour of the thermochromic wax mix by embedding lines of steel thread (10-20 Ohm and can withstand high temp) in the wax, crimping their ends to copper threads, powering them from a 3.7V LiPo battery. Controlling the heating via a MOSFET triggered by a microcontroller. Controlling the microcontroller with a sensor. Controlling the sensor with my body heat._______<<<<<<<<———- ::: Combining wax with threads resulted in a rigid yet fragile structures that could hold their form while retaining some flexibility. Since the circuitry was also comprised of connected threads it should also become such an integral part of the structure. Since the wax became soft with the same heat that was intended to change the colour the shape could shift, and I would love to to collapse. ::: Pressing my face into the fold snow and then dripping molten thermochromic beeswax onto the cold snow mound. I was making a mask, a object to use to tell of change and control. */>


Getting Lost and Unlearning Certainty: Material Encounters in an Electronic Craft Practice
by David Cole and Hannah Perner-Wilson, published in the Critical Maker Reader
Download PDF >> https://networkcultures.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/CriticalMakersReader.pdf
Free copy >> https://form.jotformeu.com/93243662209356




Links:

Flickr set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/plusea/albums/72157690651821403
YouTube playlist: https://www.youtube.com/user/Plusea
>> http://networkcultures.org/blog/2018/10/31/call-for-contributions-the-critical-makers-reader/