Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Wearable Interfaces, Smart Materials and Living Fabrics

I'm really looking forward to participating in Fleshing Out: Wearable Interfaces, Smart Materials and Living Fabrics on 9-10 November, 2006 @ at V2_ in Rotterdam.

The first day involves a series of presentations and discussions by some amazing researchers, designers and artists on topics ranging from electronic garments and biojewellery to research collaborations and policy. Here's a bit of what I'll be talking about:

Of seams and scars: Tracing technological boundaries and points of attachment

In a world where new technologies often seek to be seamless in both principle and execution, boundaries between things become increasingly difficult to identify--let alone account for, and be accountable to.

However, tracings of these cuts and joinings remain visible as seams and scars, and so we can look to them in an attempt to better understand these emerging material and symbolic cultural practices.

Wearable technologies and smart fabrics bring together computing, biotechnology, nanotechnology and other materials sciences to reshape our very understandings and experiences of embodiment and embodied interaction.

With a curious combination of robustness and fragility, a multitude of objects and subjects are being measured, marked, cleaved apart, further manipulated, and then fashioned back together again in new arrangements.

By looking at the seams in fabric we can focus on what is being joined, and how the joining is accomplished. When we see a scar on flesh, we can concentrate on how wounds are made, and how they heal.

This presentation will take up several examples of seams and scars that appear in new textile technologies, and articulate critical matters of social and cultural concern that encourage further reflection and discussion.

The second day is a workshop "to analyse best practices in the interdisciplinary field of wearable technology, come up with scenarios, and research the possibilities of setting up new innovative projects." This sounds particularly promising, especially since I'm part of the "Critical Intervention (or Direct Action)" group with Kristina Andersen and Joey Berzowska, and the other groups include materials science and textiles, grow your own tissue engineering, and fitness and performance. Sweet!

But if wearables are your thing, be sure to check out the Make Your Own Wearable Workshop @ Mediamatic in Amsterdam, 10-12, 2006 as well. And while I'm at it, also related is the RFID and the Internet of Things Workshop from 14-16 November also @ Mediamatic. Stay tuned for reports from Timo Arnall and I on how these different workshops relate to our upcoming work for the Touch project.

Just one last thing: I'll also be in London both before and after this for a few days finishing up some work and (yay!) hanging out with friends. If you want to get together, please let me know by email or sms.

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