Worlds connects the shared artistic research territory between arts, design, open culture, digital fabrication, information
technology and electronics to the engineering and scientific methodologies of textile technology.
investigates textile technology as a controversial means for digital fabrication, particularly of the electronic object, based
on two premises explored in former artistic research. Patterns in knitting, weaving and embroidery are essentially equivalent
to digital codes in rapid manufacturing. Since patterns can be saved, copied, and distributed, textiles can be manifested
in their physical form at different times and places, over and over again. Moreover, with the advent of electronically conductive
fibres, it might be possible to adapt the use of textile machinery to translate patterns into electronic functions. Altered
processes and materials can be used to produce electronic components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors, and eventually
complete electronic appliances.
Distinct from projects that combine textiles and electronics from technological
and fashion design perspectives, we place Stitching Worlds within the laboratories of experimental design. In doing so, we
open the field for artistic inquiry that is not limited to technological research but reflects on broader implications of
such research on values and practices in culture. The project decisively questions whether ‘what’ we make is really more important
than ‘how’ we make things. Instead of introducing new products that meet new buyers, we collaboratively explore new production
procedures that call for new makers.
What if electronics emerged from knitting, weaving and embroidery? How would
technology be different if craftspeople were the catalyst to the electronics industry, via textiles manufacturing?
The project is carried out in four parallel tracks of investigation simultaneously and in interaction with one another.
(1) ‘Experimentation’ is a technological research track in collaboration with textile technology and electronics experts into
possibilities of knitting, weaving and embroidering passive electronic components. (2) ‘Theoretical study’ gains richer insights
into the transdisciplinary topics of the speculations and counterfactual thinking with experts of economy, technology, politics
and materials science and feeds the other research tracks with the necessary theoretical awareness (3) ‘Speculation’ is an
aesthetic investigation into prototyping objects and installations, discovering new forms of artistic expression that manifest
the research in embodied and provocative ways. Finally, (4) ‘Reflection and Dissemination’ is targeted at enhancing our understanding
of our own practice within a larger field of contemporary mode of artistic production.
Stitching Worlds is designed
to trigger the creation of ‘tactual tales’ made of textiles. Objects and installations will expose narratives from plausible-fictive
worlds and counterfactual futures in which the worlds of fabrics and electronics are combined in novel ways. The outcome of
this artistic research project will be exposed to larger critical audience through an exhibition and a publication.