Media, Crafting, Fashion

Co-creation in the Big South Lab by Anne Nigten, Lars Kynde, and Andreas Zingerle/ Stitching Together an Editorial Sewing Circle by Åsa Ståhl, Kristina Lindström, Margareta Melin, and Johanna Rosenqvist/ Calculating the curvature of crocheted petals – A post media exploration of domestic craft-based textile patterns by Gail joy Kenning
Tuesday, 20 September, 2011 - 17:00 - 18:00
Chair Person: 
Otto von Busch
Anne Nigten
Lars Kynde
Andreas Zingerle, M.A.
Åsa Ståhl
Kristina Lindstrom
Melin Margareta
Johanna Rosenqvist
Gail Kenning

Co-creation in the Big South Lab

by Anne Nigten, Lars Kynde, and Andreas Zingerle

The Patchingzone is a transdisciplinary laboratory for innovation where students and young professionals from different backgrounds create meaningful content. In our laboratories the students and researchers work together, supervised by experts, on commissions with creative use of high-tech materials, digital media. This paper highlights the co-creation processes of two electronic art works that were created as part of the Big South Lab; the Vjacket  coordinated by Andreas Zingerle and Tyler Freeman in collaboration with Kevin Brito and The Big South Orchestra, coordinated by Lars Kynde in collaboration with 12 youngsters from Rotterdam South were the BSL was developed. Big South Lab, executed and initiated by The Patching Zone and its partners, distinguishes itself from competitors and other initiatives through its way of working: above-average students and young professionals addressed a socially relevant project as a team. The team combines some principles of participatory design, co-creation and interactive art. This means that stakeholders (young people/residents) play an important role in the design, realisation and distribution process. Their roles vary from designers, usability testers, interns, trend watchers, co-owners of projects. In contrast to the familiar 1970s community-art model, negotiation and collaboration are central at The Patching Zone; thus for example, much work will was done in processes of exchange and peer-to-peer learning processes. In contrast to the Big South Orchestra, the Vjacket an interactive sensor equipped jacket that works as a VJ interface for movement and dancer was developed for and tested by a small group of young people. While the Big South Orchestra was co-developed by its stakeholders, the young people from the neighborhood. In this paper we’ll analyse these collaboration approaches that were applied the Vjacket and Big South Orchestra, what can we learn from these approaches and are these relevant for future projects. 

Stitching Together an Editorial Sewing Circle

by Åsa Ståhl, Kristina Lindström, Margareta Melin, and Johanna Rosenqvist

This paper shows how meaning is created through the process of arranging and re-arranging fragments; how meaning is created through patches, seams and quilting.

Various researchers have been using metaphors from textile handicraft in relation to knowledge construction, writing techniques and other forms for disseminating knowledge (eg. Haraway, 1988; Brännström Öhman and Lovholts, 2007).  

The paper will, however, focus not only on metaphors, but also on the practice itself of quilting (Brännström Öhman and Lovholts, 2007) and seams (Sundén, 2008).  We use the concept of quilting as it allows us to move beyond the single narrator and include multiple voices. The concept of seams is used, as it puts focus upon the things that hold thoughts, stories, memories, and knowledge together, as well as what separates them (Sundén, 2008).

More specifically this paper draws on our experiences of the sewing circle Stitching Together, to which people were invited to embroider text messages by hand and/or by using an embroidery machine, which has been programmed to receive text messages. In Stitching Together knowledge is materialised through textile and create new knowledge from working with textile material.

In one version of the sewing circle we invited participants to put these fragments of conversations together, to create new narratives, and thus partake in what we call an Editorial Sewing Circle . This also included a patchwork-seminar in which we (authors) had prepared patches of texts, which were placed on the floor in front of a circle of audience, and used as a starting point for discussions. Throughout the seminar the participants were asked to make their own patches and join the conversation.   

Based on these text-patches, and the conversations that took place during the seminar, we will in this paper tell a story that embraces several academic perspectives such as that of editorial boards and that of sewing circles as historical, professional and artistic forms for collaboration, production and hierarchies.

Calculating the curvature of crocheted petals – A post media exploration of domestic craft-based textile patterns

by Gail joy Kenning

Digital media and new technologies are ascribed a seminal role in the increase of DIY culture, the production of user-generated media content, and user-led participatory practices. There is also a noticeable increase in domestic craft-based DIY activities such as sewing, knitting, crochet, and weaving. Mass media including television programs, books, and magazines encourage and promote such activities by providing ‘how to’ articles, templates and patterns, and instructions for ‘personalised’ craft projects.

However, rather than promoting creative exploration, many pre-designed DIY craft and ‘how to’ projects are artefacts of commodification designed to increase audience numbers, sell materials or prefabricated parts for self-assembly, and emerge from a culture of copying and remaking. Such projects equate creativity with the customisation or individualisation of ‘pre-scribed’ forms. In such instances, creativity is located with the object and is measured by the extent to which it is a customisation of that from which it is modelled. Creativity is not acknowledged as being part of the process, that is, the craft activity itself.

Importantly, social media has become a platform for the dissemination of information regarding experimental projects, encouraging creative exploration and promoting alternative (and activist) approaches to, locations for, and ways of participating and engaging in craft-based textile activities. Many of these projects stand in contrast to the standardised, homogeneous craft projects of mainstream media.

This paper explores the growing interest in extending the possibilities for craft-based textile activities, and argues that there is a need for dedicated software tools for craft-based textile practitioners to effectively explore and interrogate textile processes. It reports findings from an experimental art project to produce software as tools for creativity in craft-based textile activities. This project advocates a rethinking of craft-based textiles beyond ‘fixed media’ and embraces the non-media specific nature of craft-based textiles which have historically operated as text, in diagrammatic form, as threads, and more recently as pixels and bio-materials. The project engages with craft-based textile activities through visual and spatial patterns, mathematics, instructional text and computer code.