The project was underlined with a vision of textiles as living surfaces which possess intelligence of life and connect the built environment with the natural world, in search for a smart and ecological textile design and practice.
At a more pragmatic level, it was an attempt to craft algae’s biological attributes such as photosynthesis and bioluminescence in response to our contemporary ‘environmental conscientiousness’. Through installations in urban conditions, the applications of Algaerium aimed at visualizing otherwise invisible natural phenomena to raise awareness in our co-existence with micro species, as well as to directly contribute to our ecosystem.
So, the very aim was to weave the life of microalgae as materials in a way that they act as the spine of design aesthetically and functionally. This led to re-contextualize them out of their natural habitats and embed as active cells in my design. I tried to re-apply their innate living properties such as respiration (photosynthesis), reproduction (photosynthetic pigments) and innate abilities found in some of the algae species such as phototaxis and bioluminescence.
As the project developed, I familiarized myself with algae cultivation and some basic biochemistry experiments which I learnt at labs with help from scientists, Dr. Tammy Kalber and Masamichi Tada, London. I then realized that what I was doing in a lab could be done simply at home in my kitchen as long as my work tools and surfaces are sterilized against any contamination by fungi and bacteria.
When looking for ways to present other works we strive to find a solution which doesn’t draw too much attention, and performs more as a background to the exhibits rather than a competitor. Our goal is to display the pieces in a manner which supports and emphasizes their true nature and characteristics.
This approach turned out to be quite a challenge during the design process of the iFABRIC exhibition; it is not an easy task to fill up a limited space with more than 100 exhibits, consisting mostly of a large variety of textiles of all different sizes and properties.
We were very happy when we came up with the idea of having all the exhibits suspended from the exhibition space ceiling, sometimes having a few pieces put together on one mobile. Although not all the pieces are actually hanging, we have used cables to make it appear as if this is the case, resulting in a unity and harmony among all the works displayed.
This seemingly simple solution emphasizes the lightness of the materials and gives the illusion of ‘floating in space’ while it also allows to view most pieces from different angles. The subtle movements in the space, caused by changing air currents, results in peaceful, yet ever-changing scenarios, providing the visitors with a unique experience.
Anique experiments with material and techniques to search for the right ingredients. Hunting for the right taste, structure and colour on the right moment. The search towards a material, experience the touch and movement, judged by her knowledge, intuition and senses, is what inspires her. For her graduation she produced a collection of carpet ideas, inspired on hair, hair fashion and hairstyles, such as the way of hair treatment in African culture.
Another view, a forecast for carpet manufactures.
Bouncy curls, to touch and stretch out. Voluminous afro hair, you’d like to dive in to.
One long braid reveals hundred knots, a braided finished edge, twisted knots pattern design. Dip dying of piles, waxing and modeling. Waffled crimped wig, thick locks, irregular dreadlocks.
For this collection Anique created tufting experiments together with the TextielLab of the Textielmuseum. The collection contains many surfacing techniques on existing carpets. One of these carpets is Carpet Black N Tan, inspired by hair treatment in African culture. And the hidden beauty of dirt on cows hair.
A tuft of hair, collection of carpet ideas, as a forecast for carpets and yarns.
A new movie is always exciting. Especially if you don’t know the people you have to portray and time is limited to one week. So we (I: Marleine, director, Thomas: cameraman, Erik: soundman and Suzan: exhibition curator) arrive at one a.m. in Paris, after a long day filming in Denmark. The next morning Eric drives us through the most chaotic traffic ever to get us at nine a.m. at Lucy Orta’s place. She talks about her work and lets us see different projects. After an hour we hit the road again and accompany her to the art school in Versailles. Students walk everywhere with plastic bottles with which they build the most diverse sculptures.
Next we head to the fashion show of Walter van Beirendonck. After much honking and a number of ‘near misses’ we arrive at the place where Walter’s show will take place. The small space in which the models have to change clothes and be styled is so narrow that Erik and his sound equipment must remain outside. Thomas and I try to join the photographers, and be as invisible as possible. Unfortunately that turns out to be not that easy, in the narrow alleys, full of people, clothing, accessories. Walter we see only occasionally. Soon we decide to go to the room where the show will take place. The first spectators come in, we try to conquer a good place, like all other cameramen. Fortunately, our big camera is impressive, so we soon have a nice place. After filming the show, we have something to eat. Through the chaotic traffic (which is even busier than before) we return exhausted to our hotel room, where the strawberry refreshing scent comes to meet us. It was a wonderful day.
DESIGN FICTIONS: Posthumanity in the age of Synthetics
How can the textile discipline critically engage the public with emerging biotechnologies and the life sciences?
Design Fictions is a critical design project made up of a collection of research driven design fictions. These provide a strong narrative to provoke debate and dialogue into the life science industry and the appropriation of life, whilst also making us reconsider the role of the designer whose manufacturing process is likely to take place in a laboratory in 2075. Based on research driven future scenarios that depict converging threads around a vision of potential biofutures, the purpose of the work is to raise critical questions over our current understanding of the potential cultural and environmental implications of synthetic biology and stem cell technology.
Voluntary Mutations explores the aesthetic possibilities of a subculture derived from an environment where D.I.Y stem cell biology becomes as ubiquitous as computing, while Parasitic Prosthesis suggests that the posthuman body is genetically synthesised with home-cultured parasitic organisms, so that it may quickly adapt to the challenges of a new environmental paradigm. Biocollectibles provokes debate into the quietly ominous market for genetic products that has the potential to render our bodies as future farms, and is illustrated by a very precious, very valuable Genetic First Aid Cabinet.
A designer with a background in architecture and textile design, my practice has developed in the field of critical design with an approach that recognises that as technology rapidly evolves, so too should our thinking and methods of engagement in the increasingly multidisciplinary fields of sciences and cultural arts.
By: Satu Maaranen (Aalto- University School of Art and Design)
The concept of the fabric collection I designed during my traineeship at European textile trainees few years ago is based on ancient destroyed fabrics and the unknown paintings of Toulouse Lautrec. The garment collection I made later from these couture fabrics has a feminine mood in a provocative way.
I used textile museums library as a research and inspiration tool and the lovely workers in the factory helped me to make my ideas real. I experimented with various techniques and embraced the concept of error, trial and destroy. My teachers said that I have a unique take on texture and proportion using rare fabric combinations, raw texture and colors on my designs. In the other half of ETT- period I did an internship in Italy in a textile company called Erica. There I designed various digital prints for big fashion houses around Europe.
Last August, I won the Nordic Designers’ Nest Award with my women’s wear collection I started to design in ETT. Designers’ Nest aims to expose and promote up-and-coming Nordic designers to the global buyers, designers, press and trendsetters who visit the biannual fashion fair. I was recognized for the strong concept behind the collection and my Scandinavian touch for fabric design by the international panel.
CARTOGRAPHY OF THE HUMAN BODY
Sonja Bäumel in collaboration with Erich Schopf
This project deals with the skin bacteria on a human body and the bacteria absorbed on November 11,2010 in a specific area of Vienna. Sonja Bäumel and Erich Schopf develop and speak a language between art and science and thereby create a chemically living full-body image.
The conceptual journey including many experiments on Sonja Bäumel’s body. The natural layer of bacteria on the protagonist’s skin was removed and then with an especially developed technique replaced by an artificial layer of bacteria. To produce such a piece of art on a scale of 1:1 requires scientific and technological input of an extremely high level and can be considered an innovative, courageous challenge. The different morphologies, colours and quantities of bacteria on different body areas were examined, analysed, counted and documented. The bacteria were bred, partially reanimated and kept alive at -70 °C. In the framework of an interaction study, experiments were made to study the bacteria’s hierarchies. Weak bacteria were applied first to guarantee their unhindered growth and to achieve the desired colours on the bacteria image. After applying the invisible bacterial colour on the body, a body print was made on a textile material which had been provided with nutrients. As soon as the bacteria visibly grew, their growth was stopped and the actual state was documented with a body print.
Every visible point on the bacteria image has special significance and represents a thought process or experiment. Sonja Bäumel and Erich Schopf create an art image of a real invisible moment.
Christine de Baan is a well-informed researcher and energetic organizer with an international network. She was responsible for many design and architecture-related events. In 2008, Christine de Baan became program director at Dutch Design, Fashion and Architecture. DutchDFA is a unique public-private collaboration between three Dutch ministries – Economic Affairs, Foreign Affairs, and Education, Culture & Science – and Dutch design organizations such as NAi, Premsela, the Chief Government Architect and several professional associations. In this blog you can read part of the speech she gave at the opening of the exhibition i FABRIC:
‘While preparing for this speech I was dawdling a bit, procrastinating, reading email – and you know when you are focused on a specific subject, you suddenly see it everywhere.
Well, in a report on the London Design Festival on ‘design.nl’, a picture of a beautiful and intriguing textile piece caught my eye. The description (I will skip a few parts – there is a fascinating and strong political argument connected to the project, but that is not the point I want to make here):
‘Over in London’s West End, Gallery Libby Sellers presents the Eindhoven-based Formafantasma, who are showcasing (…) a new piece created for the festival entitled Colony. (…) Consisting of a series of three cream and camel coloured mohair blankets, intricately jacquard woven (…) Designed as an oversize postcard (over two metres high by one metre sixty), complete with intricately copied cotton-woven postage stamps (…) created exclusively (…) and made in collaboration with the Audax Textielmuseum, in Tilburg.’ (this piece is part of the iFabric exhibition by the way)
If you simply Google on ‘made in collaboration with Audax Textielmuseum Tilburg’, you will find a surprising amount of inspiring projects that were created with the help of the Textile museum, the fantastic resources of its Textile Lab, and the expert guidance of its curators and staff. Quite a few were already known to me, but of some of the most iconic pieces, especially the older ones, I never even realized this was how they came about.
I think this is because the museum has been extremely modest about its own achievements. Tucked away in rural Tilburg (I hope I’m not offending anyone here), they have in the past ten years, quietly and unobtrusively, become a major cultural force:
For us within the DutchDFA programme the Audax Textielmuseum Tilburg is one of the great assets of the Netherlands as a design country – and one I think we are not making nearly enough use of.’
Christine de Baan, View of the exhitibion
Kate Goldsworthy en Lenneke Langenhuijsen watching the exhibition, Performance Bart & Lucy