Knotting began for me as a way to mark time. But as our lives changed because of the impact of the coronavirus, knots evolved into an exercise to ease anxiety. It was now a way to mark time and emotion. My relationship to time and memory has changed a lot since we began ‘staying-at-home’. I feel the passage of time more acutely. I have a hard time remembering when something happened. Maybe it was only one week ago, but it feels like months have passed.
Uncertainty and instability have become trendy words because of the coronavirus. The things in our lives that we perceived as stable or certain are no longer seen or felt that way. I wanted to explore this idea of uncertainty/instability in relation to garments and textiles. Garments are often referred to as a second skin, or security blanket. What happens when they fall apart? Sweaters and knitwear have the potential to unravel. Clothing can wear out, or tear. But I wanted to think about designing for falling apart. Or more specifically, dissolving.
What if the act of wearing a garment causes it to fall apart? The moisture produced by our bodies has the potential to cause a garment to come apart, or in this case, dissolve.
‘Knotting. Knotted. Knot’ is the first iteration of this research. ‘Knotting. Knotted.Knot’ uses water soluble embroidery interfacing as the ground for knots to accumulate. Instead of making an identifiable garment, I instead kept the embroideries in the abstract forms that they took, expressing the state of the emotions that the knots are keeping a record of.
The Research Lab of Ambiguous Futurology creates heirlooms for the future. At the lab, Sasha studies future scenarios and creates wearables in response to those futures. We are living in uncertain times, some might even say, ambiguous times. The Internet of Things is evolving into the Internet of Disposable Things. Our technology is becoming smaller and cheaper to produce. We are creating so much waste, and have no ways of processing it. What is the future we are creating for ourselves?
At the Research Lab of Ambiguous Futurology, we want to create objects for you to preserve for future use. An antique heirloom is traditionally a used object which is preserved to be passed down to future generations to treasure, but its usefulness has typically passed. A future heirloom is an object whose usefulness has not been used up. You preserve your future heirloom for future use. And once it can no longer serve its purpose, it must be repurposed, recycled or revised.
Drizzling, or parfilage, is an 18th century term for the act of unravelling metallic threads, such as lace, embroidery or tassels. These metallic embellishments were made out of a metal thread wound around a silk core. Because they were using pure metal, all of that ornamentation is conductive—meaning it has the ability to conduct electricity. This makes these historic materials very similar to the materials we use today to create soft circuits, and sensors for smart textiles and wearable technology.
A “parfileuse” is a woman who enjoys unwinding wire by wire. Parfilage was a favorite pastime of ladies. It showed off how deft they were with their hands. Ladies would also do it as an act of recycling. They could remove the embellishment from an old dress as a way to reuse the dress, or the embellishment. It was also a way to make money. Ladies would take apart old embellishment to pay for materials for a new dress, or typical living expenses.
For this performance at the Dairy Center, I created an 18th century style garment, embroidered with a 4 channel oscillator. For the performance, I took apart the circuit with a seam ripper and snips in order to perform the circuit.