The exhibition features a wide range of international designers and artists who are working with wearable technologies - garments that combine fashion and technology while exploring and developing contemporary fashion design.
Smart textiles are equipped with electronic components such as sensors and LEDs or are made out of innovative and futuristic materials. Often branded ‘haute tech couture’, the interactive nature of the pieces allows visitors the chance to understand the process.
Curator Anouk Wipprecht is well known for her work in this field, despite only graduating from HKU School of the arts Utrecht in 2010. Wipprecht’s list of collaborations and projects has been fast and furious (even before graduating we notice a rich history of partner projects). Best known for her graduation project, also called Technosensual, and her work with Studio Roosegaarde (Intimacy from 2010 and Intimicy 2.0 from 2011), Wipprecht latest work on show here is Smoke Dress that features a wearable smoke system with implemented wireless technology, creating the illusion of smoke around the body.
We asked Anouk Wipprecht why so many Dutch designers are working in this field.
‘What I notice is that Europe, and especially the Netherlands, has an experimental character regarding experimenting with new crossover design. Dutch designers are quicker to write to technology companies for collaborations, they experiment more often with unusual materials and surfaces and base their designs on well-considered research and these are the traits needed to explore fields such as wearable electronics, smart textiles and electronic couture. Plus the fact that the Netherlands is build upon artificial land (in relation to creating artificial intelligence) - this is an idea that I have been discussing with some of my collaborators.’
Wipprecht has also chosen a different artist in residence at quartier21 for each month of the exhibition. ‘Bart Hess was my artist in residence for June this year and created a piece, which he calls a 'Still live' for the exhibition space and for the opening of Technosensual on June 14, Bart performed his Slime performance 'Liquified'. Hess is best known for his ‘slime’ work for Lady Gaga’s videos and albums.
We asked Wipprecht about a few of the Dutch designers showing in Technosensual.
‘I’m featuring the Lace Sensor Dresses by Anja Hertenberger and Meg Grant (from New Zealand), as like their exploration of using traditional methods and styling in a new way. For this project they used conductive thread and embroideries to create three dresses that communicate the poems that they have embroidered on the dresses.’ Hertenberger and Grant worked with the Museum de Kantfabriek (Lace Factory Museum) in Limburg to create the conductive lace.
‘I have been following Maartje Dijkstra for a while now; I love how she combines certain crafts (time-consuming handwork) with electronics in order to create techno-poetics. For her residency during May she created the project Denzipfaden - a men’s suit that has conductive zippers and functions as a DJ mixer/controller, which allows the wearer to tune the beats. She performed with the suit and performer Beorn (aka 'NEWK') Lebenstedt during the opening night of Technosensual.’
‘I’m also showing the Bubelle dress by Royal Philips Electronics - Bubelle is the grandmother of the exhibition, placed high up in the room; a project from 2006 where Philips tried to experiment with emotional driven design (the design is sensitive to the emotional state of the wearer and represent the wearer's emotion through embedded lightning). This design is really precious to me to show, as the curator, as it received a lot of attention in the media at the time, when Philips put a research and design team on the project.
Pauline van Dongen is my artist in residency of this month and an amazing designer. I chose to present her 3D printed shoes, a project called Morphogenesis, to show the visitors what can be done with 3D printing - not only making objects, but also the possibility of creating really stable shoes.
In addition, the aesthetics - they look hand sculpted/very organic, which fits in with the character of the exhibition.’
‘In addition to the exhibition, we have been running an artist in residence programme since December 2011, where I invite two artists each month (over nine months) to create a project based on fashion and technology. Combining an international fashion designer or engineer with a fashion designer or an engineer from Vienna. Six designs have been produced for the exhibition.’ These are Untangle me by Django Steenbakker who is based in Amsterdam, Like living organisms by Local Androids, based in Zwolle, Paparazzi lover by Ricardo O Nascimento, The Holy Dress by Dutch duo Melissa Coleman and Leonie Smelt, Ferrofluid installation by Amsterdam-based Bogomir Doringer and Rein Vollenga, plus Maartje Dijksktra’s Denzipfaden.
Main image: Exhibition poster
Other images: 1.Anouk Wipprecht, Smoke Dress 2. Pauline van Dongen, Morphogenesis 3. Lace Sensor Dress, Anja Hertenberger and Meg Grant 4. Bubelle, Royal Philips Electronics 5. & 6. Technosensual exhibition, photographer Florian Wieser 7. Denzipfaden, Maartje Dijkstra 8. Still life, Bass Hess
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