Valérie Lamontagne: Peau d’ne

> Valérie Lamontagne

Peau d’ne: Memorial Virtual Exhibition and Panel Discussion

This is a virtual exhibition gallery space to experience the e-textiles art and FashionTech collections, research, talks and performances of Valérie LaMontagne, a pioneer in the discipline made for the ISEA2020 ONLINE: WHY SENTIENCE? Symposium. The exhibition of Valérie’s work includes images of her work, 3D Catwalks versions of a few of her pieces, videos of her work, her curated talks, and a commemorative video by close friend and PhD supervisor Joanna Berzowska. It was also preceded by panel discussion of her research and significance by friends and colleagues in the Fashion Tech scene. These can be seen below and on featured links.

> Virtual Exhibition of the work of Valérie Lamontagne

> Videos

This is the panel discussion on the significance of Valérie Lamontagne’s research and fashion design work in e-textiles and Fashion Tech

Valérie Lamontagne discusses fashion-tech futures 2018 at The Wilson School of Design at Kwantlen Polytechnic University

See also the tribute video by Professor Joanna Berzowska, Associate Dean Research, Fine Arts Associate Professor, Design and Computation Arts Research Director, XS Labs, Concordia University, Montreal

> Gallery Name

> Timeline

Focus on her work from 2007 – October 4, 2019

> Abstract

Camille made a virtual exhibition gallery space to experience the e-textiles art and FashionTech collections, research, talks and performances of Valérie LaMontagne, a pioneer in the discipline. In 2018 and was about to take her post in Amsterdam, when Valérie LaMontagne found out she has leukaemia, and spent a year fighting it.

Valérie had just successfully won her battle with the disease in August 2019, but then deteriorated and died October 4th, 2019. AUAS Dean FDMCI, Frank Kresin said after hearing of her death: “Valérie was a driving force in an international network of fashion innovators. She knew how to inspire others and create amazing work, thanks to her enormous creativity, passion and perseverance. She fought for her life, for life itself, until the very end and never lost her optimism. Her death is a huge loss for many of us and I wish her family, friends and loved ones my condolences.

This exhibition is dedicated to Valérie and to try preserve her work and legacy in the e-textiles, wearables and FashionTech community. This is a virtual exhibition of Valérie’s work including images, 3D versions of a few of her pieces, videos of her work and her talks and a commemorative video by close friend and PhD supervisor Joanna Berzowska.

Garden of Earthly Delights

> ARS Electronica 2020 UK

Garden of Earthly Delights

Curating a UK Hub for Linz annual festival online

Ars Electronica annual festival celebrates the interactions and intersections between arts and technology and in its 41st year, due to the global coronavirus the 2020 theme was “In Kepler’s Gardens”. UCA lead the UK’s contribution organisaed by Camille Baker and Lucy Bunnell under the name of “Garden of Earthly Delights“, inspired by the celebrated Hieronymous Bosch painting, as one of more than 50 similar online gardens around the world who took part. Ars Electronica’s meta-topics guiding the activities were: ecology, democracy, uncertainty, humanity, reality, and autonomy.

> Video’s in preparation for and from the events

> Video Panels and Events

> Timeline

September 8-13, 2020

> Collaborators

In this effort to bring together UK artists include:

  • A joint one day Expanded Animation symposium, Synaesthetic Syntax: Sounding Animation / Visualising Audio running concurrently in Linz, Austria, Portland, Oregon and in London, UK. See website here.
  • Art In Flux presented AUTONOMY, a live streamed event with an online exhibition curated by Maria Almena, featuring live performance and interactive art, details available here
  • NEoN under the theme of “Share, Share Alike”, NEoN produced interactive and site-specific performance lecture with artist B.D.Owens which can be seen here
  • A STARTS Pop-up Event, with two panels and discussions on Understanding complex data in COVID times, and Fashion: Materialising Numbers plus Leonardo S+T+ARTS: A conversation on “What’s next? Art-Science ideas emerging from lockdown.” can be found here

> Abstract

In a time of crisis for many artists and art institutions across the UK, Europe and the world, this effort is meant to celebrate amazing ingenuity of arts and technology collaboration and under the umbrella of Ars Electronica 2020 Kepler’s Garden theme of Garden of Earthly Delights after the Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych painting.

Ars Electronica (AE) 2020 traditionally takes place over 5 days during September in Linz, Austria. In 2020 there will be a small presence in Linz, but the majority of the festival will take place in more than 50 ‘gardens’ across the globe, with UCA’s Dr Baker and Dr Hosea establishing the UK Garden of Earthly Delights.

Inspired by the Ars Electronica 2020 meta-topics of ecology, democracy, uncertainty, humanity, reality, and autonomy, working with Bosch’s concept, it will be a way to combine his vision of the range of human experience with these meta-topics, to interrogate the moment we are now in, as humanity is facing the possibility of a long term pandemic, creating instant global recession and mass unemployment, continued climate crisis, continued inequality and the spread of fascism, as well as the looming impact of Brexit on the UK and across Europe. 

In the case of this year’s Ars Electronica UK garden, the Garden of Earthly Delights is quite an inclusive concept for many different simultaneous activities, which can take place from one Hub entry point, allowing each organisation to create their own sub-program within one ‘garden’ over the 5 days of the festival and connected from AE’s main portal website through Mozilla Hubs.

This garden includes many important Arts and Technology organisations from across the United Kingdom, many of whom are themselves struggling to continue after major setbacks to their own 2020 programs, and all the struggling artist their try to support, barely able to get by this year. This garden will act as a unifying community celebration of amazing art-tech/art-science collaborations.

> Partners

  • Ars Electronica via Kristina Maurer
  • Ars Electronica’s Expanded Animation via co-director Birgitta Hosea, UCA’s Director of the Animation Reserach Centre
  • STARTS Ecosystem EU-Funded Project
  • STARTS Regional Centres EU funded project

> Budget / Funding

  • Funding was provided by Ars Electronica, who diverted a small budget of €4000 to UCA to pay the artists for their work.
  • £1,600 was also came from the STARTS Ecosystem project to pay the slary for Lucy Bunnell to be project manager for the Garden of Earthly Delights coordination

> Outcomes / Impact

UCA UK AE Garden in online viewing numbers:

Organisation/EventViewers/Attendees
UCA361
Flux400
Wolverhampton49
STARTS events (Leonardo etc)77
FutureEverything136
NEoN312
Serpentine110
TOTAL1445
Snapshot of UCA Garden:
12 events
9 collaborators
58 participants
12 different countries

Internal Networks Dreampod

> Internal Networks

Telepathy Meets Technology in the Dream Pod

“…the body exists in space and time and that, through its interaction with the environment, its defines the parameters within which the cogitating mind can arrive at ‘certainties’, which not coincidentally almost never include the fundamental homologies generating the boundaries of thought…. for conscious thought becomes an epiphenomenon corresponding to the phenomenal base the body provides … embodiment creates context by forging connections between instantiated action and environmental conditions … emphaz[ing] the importance of context to human cognition” (“How We Became Post-Human”, Katherine Hayles , pg 203).

> Videos

Introduction to the project 2003

Dream pod construction 2003

> Gallery Name

> Timeline

September 2001 – April 2004

> Collaborators

  • Martin Larsen – Pod Construction

> Abstract

My Masters of Applied Science, Interactive Arts research project was a combined interactive art installation and experience design experiment, which explored methods of creating rich sensorial and consciousnesses experiences digitally. I investigated the cognitive strategies of augmentation and transformation with an emphasis on quantum physics and embodiment. I was dealing with the speculative concept of initiating a mind/body to computer meld or communication interaction, consciousness interface. I was pushing at the boundaries of scientific thought regarding human versus computer capabilities and the potential for these capabilities to work in tandem, attempting to take the revelations (of the time) in physics, psychology and neuroscience, and couple them with concepts in human computer interaction (HCI) and developments in wireless communication technologies, using interactive installation techniques, to envision experimental means of connecting humans to technology through sleep telepathy. The aim was to experiment and alter the way we communicate and interact with technology within the Dream Pod.

The interactive experience design project comprises of two elements: The first creates full body experience of altered consciousness. The second takes interactors into the womb-like space to experience audio, visual, tactile and perhaps olfactory stimulation (and lack thereof) within the space. These combine to create an experience, where the interactor engages through his/her own reactions to the sensor-audio-visual-smell stimulation and their responses are recorded.

Research Questions

Since humans can telepathically communicate or connect through natural “wireless” communication already, all we need do is encourage and train others to take advantage of this possibilities, but first we need convice the scientific community and public that this a viable way to go, and answer the following questions:
a) can technology (i.e. sensors, and responsive environments) facilitate that natural affinity?
b) can humans eventually communicate telepathically and interact with computers and technology

Sensory Stimulation / Deprivation
The theory I based my ideas upon were concepts around sensory deprivation, but also from therapists interviewed and research into various forms of meditation, visualisation and guided imagery techniques uncovered during the research. I discovered that some stimulation put the mind into relaxation, through a guided approach using dream-like imagery and experiential design. However, too much stimulation over stimulate and prevent the participant from going into the desired altered state of consciousness experience of hypnogogia or pre-post-sleep state.

Mind/Body Quieting Techniques & Research
I was incorporating techniques to induce altered states of consciousness, inner-awareness, and the physical manifestations of these, in order to prepare participants for external “wireless” communication, and to create a “meditative portal” or “non-local telephone” for “connection” for each to enter and find each other telepathically and eventually through technology.


The experimental immersive environmental design for this “portal” or “non-local phone” was to include a comfortable environment and to include a pre-experience physical preparation before individuals entered the Dream Pod environment, using light yoga, breathing and guided relaxation techniques to stimulate physical sensations of weightlessness, hyper-awareness, and openness.


In order to get a better idea of the best ways to help participants to be open up to this experience and to access this “connection” or “portal” to the telepathic dimension, I conducted mind-quieting approaches from various practices locally and from other cultures around the world.


I began by experimenting with altered states and mind quieting practices on myself, and available locally such as: Hypnotherapy, Mindfulness Meditation, Visualisation techniques, Shamanic Dance, Holotropic Breathing, lucid dreaming exploration, and Sweat Lodge techniques. I borrowed from these to develop my own techniques for the project experiences I created for the Dream Pod.

 

> Partners

  • Simon Fraser University, Surrey, Canada

> Budget / Funding

2001 Minerva Foundation Award for Women in Graduate Studies for the 2001-2002 school year ($1000 CDN BC Canada)

2002 TechBC Award for Academic Excellence, based upon the academic year 2001-2002 ($2000 CDN BC Canada)

2002 TechBC Award for University Service Scholarship, based upon the academic year 2001- 2002 ($1000 CDN BC Canada)

> Outcomes / Impact

Papers, conference and exhibitions:

Baker, C. (Nov 2004) “Telepathy Through Biosensor Media Stimulation”, published in Consciousness Reframed 2004: Qi and Complexity Conference Proceedings, Planetary Collegium, Beijing, China. Available for download from: http://chni.ca/cami/Qi&Complexity_CamilleBaker.doc

Baker, C. (Oct 2005) “Transcendence through the Artifice of Spectacle: Martin Beauregard’s ‘Fireworks’”, art review published in new brunt magazine, by the grunt gallery, Vancouver. Available for download from: http://www.eciad.bc.ca/~camib/MartinBeauregard.doc

Baker, C. (Sept 2004) “Biosensor and Media Art Induced Meditation and Telepathy”, LEA Special Issue: From the Extraordinary to the Uncanny: The Persistence of a Parallel Universe, Guest Editor: Michael Punt, published in The Leonardo Electronic Almanac, MITPress – e-journals – LEONARDO http://leoalmanac.org/journal/Vol_12/. Available for download from: http://leoalmanac.org/journal/Vol_12/LEAWrdIndex2004.pdf or http://leoalmanac.org/journal/Vol_12/lea_v12_n11.txt

Baker, C. (July 2005) “’Discovering Telepathy Through Altered States’, The Altered States: transformations of perception, place, and performance”, published in Conference Proceedings, Planetary Collegium, Plymouth, UK. Available for download from: http://chni.ca/cami/Altered_CBaker.pdf

Baker, C. (March 24, 2004) – “Internal Networks: Telepathy Meets Technology in the Dream Pod”, SFU SIAT -Thesis Defense, Simon Fraser University, Surrey Campus, Burnaby, BC, Canada.

Baker, C. (May 2003) “Internal Networks : Telepathy Revisited”, Digital Arts Conference in Melbourne, Australia.

  • Caladan Gallery Exhibition (now closed permanently) in 200

INTER/her

> INTER/her

Intimate immersive journey inside the female body

INTER/her is a sensory and emotional experience which looks from the inside out within in the virtual womb. This VR work is accompanied by a wearable haptic garment providing a visceral vibration responsive experience on the lower abdomen. 

> Videos

Draft version of the vaginal canal with Endometriosis by collaborator Sarah Büttner (October 2020)

A talk by collaborator Maf’j Alverez (July 2020) on the prototyping of the early exploration and research phase of the project.

July 2020

> Gallery

> Timeline

2019 – 2021

> Collaborators

  • Camille Baker – Artist/Artistic Director
  • Maf’j Alverez – Unity/ Interaction Designer
  • Sarah Büttner – Environment / Tiltbrush Artist
  • Bushra Burge – Haptic Costume Designer / Engineer
  • Kat Austen – Sound Designer

> Abstract

INTER/her is an intimate, immersive and VR installation that explores of the inner world of over 40’s women’s bodies and the reproductive diseases they suffer: endometriosis, fibroids, polyps, Ovarian and other cysts, cervical, ovarian, uterine and endometrial cancers and the lack of clear medical information/ support they face.

INTER/her is explored through a feminist lens, as personal exploration, public education, and community building, positioning the physical body as a site to explore psychological issues of womanhood, identity and the sense of self, exploring the body. 

> Partners

  • Arts Council England
  • UCA / University for the Creative Arts
  • Access Space Sheffield

> Budget / Funding

  • £15,000 ACE Aug 2020-May 2021
  • £2,485 / UCA, 2019/20 (Round 1) UCA
  • £2,000 / UCA, 2020/21 (Round 2) UCA

> Outcomes / Impact

  1. Prototype phase completed December 2019-Auust 2020
  2. Phase two – production and exhibition September 2020 – May 2021

Sensory Spaces

> Sensory Spaces: Academic–SME Fellowship Collaboration

StoryFutures AHRC Creative Cluster

Sensory Spaces is a fellowship collaboration for the StoryFutures AHRC Creative Cluster, part of UCA’s (University for the Creative Arts) participation in the larger consortium. 

> Videos

Walk-through of new Valkryrie Industries VR sculpting tool called Valkryrie Argil, developed through the Sensory Spaces project and to be used with their VR Glove

> Gallery

> Timeline

May 2020- October 2020

> Collaborators

  • Dr Ivan Isakov – Innovator / Fellow
  • Dr Birgitta Hosea – Academic Collaborator
  • Dr. Camille Baker – Academic Collaborator

> Abstract

Sensory Spaces fellowship collaboration for the StoryFutures AHRC Creative Cluster, is part of UCA’s participation in the larger consortium. I am participating as an academic fellow on the Future of Storytelling scheme, alongside UCA colleague Dr Birgitta Hosea, in collaboration with CTO and co-founder of Valkyrie Industries, Dr Ivan Isakov.

The project involves research on haptic and sensory experience and the further development of a toolkit for sculpting in virtual reality using haptic gloves by the team.  

> Partners

  • StoryFutures Creative Cluster / Royal Holloway University
  • UCA / University For The Creative Arts
  • Valkyrie Industries

> Budget / Funding

  • £5,000 via the StoryFutures project, lead by Royal Holloway University.

> Outcomes / Impact

A haptic VR sculpting tool Valkyrie Argyl, which enables non-experts accessible entry into 3D modelling and 3D animation creation. Ideally, the software will with with the Haptic Gloves in VR.

The project will be showcased at the Beyond Conference on November 30th. 2020

The project is also leading to a further collaborative consortium research project led by Baker, with Hosea and Isakov and many other SME’s, academics and freelancers involved. The concept is to develop a Texture Mapping Library for Haptics in VR, with implications for the Fashion, Robotics and Telemedicine industries.

> Further Information

STARTS Ecosystem

> STARTS Ecosystem

Community Engagement to support the European Commission STARTS (Science, Technology & the Arts) initiative. 

STARTS an initiative of the European Commission, launched in 2016 under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme as a follow-up to the ICT & Art Connect activities since 2012. Its purpose is to support collaborations between artists, scientists, engineers and researchers to develop more creative, inclusive, and sustainable technologies. 

> Video

> Gallery

> Timeline

April 2019 – November 2021

> Collaborators

  • Ana Solange Leal – Project Coordinator / Area Manager, INOVA+
  • Aurelia Delater – Senior Project Manager, INOVA+
  • Tania Moreira – Project Manager, INOVA+
  • Dr Camille Baker – Principal Investigator for UCA
  • Lucy Bunnell – Research Manager, UCA
  • Veronika Leibel – Director of European Cooperation, ARS Electronica
  • Kristina Maurer – Senior Producer European Cooperation, ARS Electronica
  • Hughes Vinet – Director of Innovation & Research Resouces, IRCAM
  • Guillaume Pellerin – Web Services Manager, IRCAM
  • Marie Albert – Head of EU Projects, LFTGP
  • Aneffel Kadik – Officer for EU Projects, LFTGP
  • Christoph de Jaeger – Founder & Director, Gluon
  • Ramona Van Gansbeke – Project Manager Art & Research

> Abstract

STARTS  (Science + Technology + Arts) -is about thinking out-of-the-box and building bridges between these three fields. With disruptive methods of exploration and an accurate critical eye on the use of technology, artists decisively raise awareness of the societal challenges and global concerns we are facing. STARTS is driven by the conviction that science and technology combined with an artistic viewpoint also open valuable perspectives for research and business, through a holistic and human-centered approach.

Co-creation processes between dancers, visual artists, painters, designers, and engineers, developers, sociologists, physicists, or machine learning specialists lead to ground-breaking explorations on our current social and economic challenges. They bring attention to climate change, cyber-security, human and robots interactions, artificial intelligence. Through their projects, STARTS teams work on new concepts and novel products that have the power to shape open-minded, sustainable and ethical technologies for a more inclusive society.

STARTS Pillars include STARTS Residencies, STARTS Prize, STARTS Lighthouses (WEAR Sustain, RE-Fream and MINDspaces), STARTS Regional Centres and STARTS Academy.

STARTS is an initiative of the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.It was launched in 2015, following up the findings of previous activities funded by the European Commission, namely ICT&Art 2012, FET-ART, ICT ART CONNECT 2013 and ICT ART CONNECT study, whose results demonstrated the worldwide emergence of communities of hybrid collaborations among science, technology and arts and their relevance.

> Partners

  • INOVA+
  • UCA / University for the Creative Arts
  • ARS Electronica
  • IRCAM / Institut de Recherche et de Coordination Acoustique/Musique
  • La French Tech Grande Provence / LFTGP
  • Gluon / Platform for Art, Science & Technology

> Budget / Funding

European Commission, EU Horizon 2020 ICT-32-2018-2, Community Support Action,  STARTS ecosystem: Support to STARTS Community and Lighthouse Projects through the creation of an ecosystem for hybrid talent, Grant ID: 824950 (€999,918.75 total across all partners/€160,875.00 for UCA)

> Outcomes / Impact

STARTS Ecosystem has built an umbrella web platform to bring the Arts and Technology/Science community together, as well as launching in-person and online events and exhibitions to showcase STARTS funded collaboration teams and projects around Europe over the duration of the project and ongoing.

It is hoped that this platform will continue to be maintained after the end of the project in 2021 by future STARTS family projects.

> My Role

I was the leader of Work Package 1 (WP1) Community Motivation and Online Platform, whose job was to enliven the STARTS Family and the greater related European community and to join the platform to participate in our many activities online and in person. I am also a participant of WP4 STARTS IN Motion supporting project progression of previously funded project teams, as well WP2 which is about developing the Collaboration Toolkit and Engagement of the community through events online and offline which I have been leader in.

> Further Information

WEAR Sustain

> WEAR Sustain

Wearable technologists Engage with Artists for Responsible innovation

WEAR Sustain brings artists and designers to work together with technologists and engineers across Europe, to shift the focus of development in the EU wearable technology and smart textile industries, to address the core issues of ethical, sustainable, aesthetic, environmental and responsible approaches at the research, design and development stages.  

> Videos

More videos available on the WEAR Sustain YouTube channel.

> Gallery

> Timeline

January 2017 – April 2019

> Collaborators

  • IMEC – Coordinator & Project Management
  • UCA – Creative & Critical Lead, Project Initiator
  • Queen Mary University – Dissemination & Promotion Lead
  • Universitat der Kunste – Prototype Management & Sustainability Lead
  • We Connect Data – Mapping & Network Developer
  • Blumine SRL – Fashion / Textile & Mapping Partner
  • Digital Spaces Living Labs – Technology & Incubation Partner

> Abstract

The goal of WEAR was to develop best practices for enabling, facilitating, and growing the Europe-wide wearable technology, smart and electronic textiles network, developing collaborations and innovations between artists, designers, technologists and engineers to make ethical and sustainable solutions and technologies for a better future.

WEAR Sustain brought artists and technologists together to work in local hubs, in the end funding 46 prototype projects at €50, 000 per project, toward market and technology readiness. 

WEAR Aims and Objectives were to:

  • Develop a sustainable European network of stakeholders and hubs, to connect and push the boundaries in the design and development of wearables;
  • Encourage cross-border and cross-sector collaboration between creative people and technology developers to design and develop wearables; 
  • Develop a framework within which future prototypes can be made that will become the next generation of what ethical and aesthetic wearables could/should be;
  • Lead the emergence of innovative approaches to design, production, manufacturing and business models for wearable technologies;
  • Help citizens, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders more aware of the ethical and aesthetic issues in making and use of wearable technologies.

> Partners

  • IMEC, Belgium
  • UCA / University for the Creative Arts, UK
  • Queen Mary University of London, UK
  • Universitat der Kunste Berlin, Germany
  • We Connect Data, Belgium
  • Blumine SRL, Italy
  • Digital Spaces Living Labs, Bulgaria

> Budget / Funding

The European Commission Horizon 2020, from Work Programme 2016-17, call ICT-36 Creativity and Sustainability – Innovation Action (H2020-ICT-2016-1) Total funded € 2,998,925 total (80% going to fund 46 smaller prototype projects) – €111062.50 for UCA with Camille Baker as PI for UCA. Seven work packages across seven partners with UCA / Baker leading two of these.

> Outcomes

Knowledge exchange and dissemination events (symposium, industry showcase & exhibition), conference presentations, one book chapter, several journal papers, mini TV documentary, and three 30-second promotional videos. 

> Impact

The long-term impacts are still to come but include adding forty-six teams made of art, design and technology professionals, who will take their experience of ethical and sustainable design process into their future practice, pushing suppliers, manufacturers and others within the supply chain and industry as a whole to (ideally) change their own business practicing a large-scale trickle-down effect:

  • Society = change in awareness of how the wearable and e-textile products are made.
  • Economy = a shift towards more ethical / sustainable products and services sold, transforming the whole supply change toward to better practices.
  • Policy = future EC funding focussed on more ethical and sustainable proposals – shift in what is considered a fundable innovation, with ethics and sustainability embedded

> My Role

I was an ambassador for the project and as such interacted with, engaged with and developed relationships with key research users, beneficiaries or audiences collaborators through European Commission ICT events (i.e.ICT 2015 Lisbon – where WEAR collaboration began and potential partners developed), as well as numerous conferences presenting the ICT&Art Connect/FET-Art, WEAR Sustain outcomes.

Defragmentation

> Defragmentation

Curating Contemporary Music

The New and Contemporary Music research project called Defragmentation was concerned with transforming the new music genre, and by extension new music composition, performance and festivals.  Defragmentation had four topic areas and four advisory teams focussed on: curation, technology, decolonisation, gender and diversity in the New Music context. 

> Videos

> Gallery

> Timeline

January 2017 – March 2019

> Collaborators

  • Dr. Joanna Armitage – Maker
  • Dr. Freida Abtan – Maker
  • Diann Bauer – Writer
  • Dr. Camille Baker – Technology Adviser
  • Klara Kofen – Participant
  • Mark Dyer – Participant

> Abstract

The project set up like a thinktank, was an attempt to begin a new discussion about the fragmented New Music scene, disconnected from a social discourse and supposedly marginalised, in four central thematic areas is the focus of the present project.Starting from the principle of curation, adopted from the visual arts and increasingly used in musical matters, three large, at first seemingly music-unrelated thematic areas examined in terms of their applicability and their contact with the music of our time: gender/diversity, technology, and decolonisation. 

Here the term “defragmentation” from the field of information technology can serve as an apt metaphor. In IT, defragmentation is defined as: “a process that reduces the amount of fragmentation […] by physically organizing the contents of the mass storage device used to store files into the smallest number of contiguous regions (fragments)” (Wikipedia article “Defragmentation”), and thus its application to the field of contemporary music expresses the aim of working out, in detail, a central narrative thread amid the highly divergent discourses and practices. In this sense, the goal is for a deeper understanding of curating practices and a far-reaching merging of these focal points – gender/diversity, technology and decolonisation – to help develop a more coherent picture of current questions faced by New Music.

The idea for Defragmentation developed from a basic sense of unease. The feeling that contemporary music suffers from serious flaws, and that existing festivals not only fail to correct these flaws, but also large neglect to incorporate social debates and challenges into their programming concerns, stimulated numerous conversations involving the directors of four festivals: the Donaueschingen Festival (Björn Gottstein, since 2015), the Darmstadt International Summer Course (Thomas Schäfer, since 2010), MaerzMusik – Festival for Contemporary Issues, Berlin (Berno Odo Polzer, since 2015), and the Ultima Oslo Contemporary Music Festival (Lars Petter Hagen, since 2012). In these conversations, it became clear that a reorientation is required in New Music, and that the necessary foundations for such a reorientation need to be laid. These foundations can now be determined within the framework of a specific discourse which will involve curators, artists and scholars. 

> Partners

  • German Federal Cultural Foundation
  • International Music Institute Darmstadt (IMD)
  • Donaueschinger Musiktage
  • MaerzMusik – Festival for Time Issues
  • Ultima Festival & Academy Oslo

> Budget / Funding

  • £5,000 from Partners (for Technology Advisor Role)
  • £5,000 from Partners (for Workshop Organisation)

> Outcomes / Impact

In order to overlap with the Gender and Diversity group, and women in technology is an underrepresented group in the New Music genre,  I felt it important to bring in strong innovative women from music and technology to explore technology issues from a feminist perspective. 

I brought this approach to the Darmstadt Summer School 2018 context and the Defragmentation symposium in particular as part of it, to expose the summer students to arts and technology activities, as a unique challenge and experiment, to see what the outcome might be. 

Video artist Diann Bauer to lead the Booksprint / writer’s group and she was one of the women in the Laboria Cubonics Collective who spawned the Xenofeminism project.  Electronic composers Joanne Armitage and Freida Abtan lead the Music Technology hacking workshops.

Other outcomes include: Videos of the workshops and symposium talks, a self-published book, a book chapter authored as a result of the booksprints, and a unique instrument created by Dr. Abtan during the making programme.

Hacking The Body 2.0 / Performance

> Stutter Flutter & Feel Me / e-textiles IoT Performances

Hacking The Body 2.0: Residency To Performance

Hacking The Body / HTB 2.0 is a collaboration between Dr Kate Sicchio and myself, which evolved since 2011 until 2018 and started by examining rhetoric within the online computing community around concepts of code, hacking, networks, the quantified self, and data, as a new approach to examining inner and outer states and sensations of the human body, using sensing devices within performance. 

> Videos

> Feel Me / Garment Hack

> Flutter Stutter / Garment Design

> Rehearsals / November 2015

> Sheffield Rehearsal & Performance / February 2016

> Watermans Art Centre / February 2016

> Timeline

April 2015 – February 2016

> Collaborators

  • Dr Camille Baker / Dr Kate Sicchio – Artistic Direction, Concept, Interaction Design
  • Dr Kate Sicchio  – Choreography
  • Dr Rebecca Stewart – Electronics Design, Development, Garment Integration
  • Ms Tara Baoth-Mooney  – Garment Design, Electronics Integration; Voice & Music
  • Rick Loynes – Sound Design
  • Dr Camille Baker  – Sound Editing
  • Tara Baker / Phoebe Brown – Dance Performance
  • Peter Todd –  iPad Mobile App Design

> Abstract

Exploring the concept of hacking data to re-purpose and re-imagine biofeedback from the body. It used states of the body and hacked that data to make new artworks, such as performance and costumes. Through performance the aim was to communicate to the public new ways dancers engage with their bodies and technology, through intimacy and sensation embedded in wearables. It was as much performance investigation into body as creative material as a conceptual research endeavour data as identity and ethics of data ownership. 

From April 2015 to June 2016, this instantiation the collaboration started as a residency at UCA in April 2015, with rehearsals and testing In November 2015, culminating in three performance stagings in Sheffield and London between February 16-18, 2016 and a further performance staging in June 2016 in Brighton. The instantiations of the project helped to develop our hands-on skills in making and using DIY electronics, soft-circuits and smart textiles, as well as to unearth greater unethical data collection activities. 

Flutter Stutter was an improvisational dance piece that used soft circuit sensors to trigger sound and haptic actuators in the form of a small motor that tickles the performers. Dancers embodied the flutter of the motor and respond with their own movement that reflected this feeling. The sensors and actuators were bespoke designs by Becky Stewart and Tara Baoth Mooney that interacted, influenced and interrupted the flow of the dance, hack the body signals.

Feel Me worked with hacked commercial biosensing technology and structured improvisation dance. This piece used breath sensing technology from reworked fitness wearable tech garments and a custom-made app (made by artist Peter Todd, with permission of the fitness company OM Signal), that accessed the company’s development tools, and was used to communicate from the garment’s sensor to its actuator (a vibration motor), which buzzed when the dancers exhaled, causing them to respond within in a structured improvisation.

All the technology was developed over a several months, then integrated into the final garments and performances during an intensive three-week period running up to the performances in February. 

> Partners

  • Arts Council England
  • UCA / University for the Creative Arts
  • New Malden Studios

> Budget / Funding

  • £13,977 / Arts Council England, Feb – Oct 2016 (Creation & Performance Staging)
  • £6,750 / UCA, Apr 2015 (Artist Residency), Oct 2016 (Technical Development)

> Outcomes / Impact

October 5, 2018–February 8, 2019 Attempts, Failures, Trials and Errors exhibition of our video documentation of the live performances of Flutter /Stutter and Feel Me, curated by Hillevi Munthe and Tincuta Heinzel called OSEBNO / PERSONAL: international interdisciplinary exhibition at KIBLA PORTAL, Maribor, Slovenia. Webpage http://personal.kiblaportal.org/en_US/2018/10/01/kate-sicchio-zda-camille-baker-kanada-zk/ and other artists in the exhibition http://personal.kiblaportal.org/en_US/. Also featured on Slovenian TV and in an article by the curators Tincuta Heinzel and Ioana Popescu for Zeppelin Journal in Bucharest at https://e-zeppelin.ro/zeppelin-151/ More details here: http://www.kibla.org/en/news/news/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews[tt_news]=5417&tx_ttnews[backPid]=1&cHash=aa50326f33 To see pictures from the opening https://www.flickr.com/photos/heinzelmenschen/albums/72157702077721485

Feb 21- April 1, 2018 Attempts, Failures, Trials and Errors exhibition with video of the live performances of Flutter /Stutter and Feel Me, curated by Hillevi Munthe and Tincuta Heinzel in Bucharest at the “Salon de Proiecte”. Online at http://salonuldeproiecte.ro/exhibitions/attempts-failures-trials-and-errors/ and Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1786684551415496/ images at https://www.flickr.com/photos/heinzelmenschen/sets/72157666073147048

Nov 16-Dec 9, 2017 Attempts, Failures, Trials and Errors exhibition of video for live performances of Flutter /Stutter and Feel Me, curated by Hillevi Munthe and Tincuta Heinzel, at Piksel art gallery, Bergen, Norway. Online at http://17.piksel.no/?p=432 and http://trials-and-errors.com/projects The exhibition “looks at the various stages of projects’ developments and attempts and perspectives and less mediatised wearable technologies and e-textiles projects.”

March 5th, 2017 Refest2.0 ITP NYU, New York City, a telematic performance via the Internet of Things protocol of X-OSc of Feel Me dance and wearables piece, created for February 2016 performances below, between one dancer in New York City and one in London, UK – documented briefly on our blog https://hackingthebody.wordpress.com/2017/05/01/performance-at-refest2-0-at-nyu-itp/

June 30-July 2, 2016 International Conference on Live Interfac es, Brighton, UK, performance of our Flutter /Stutter dance and wearables piece, created for February 2016 performances below www.liveinterfaces.org/ – conference proceedings https://thormagnusson.github.io/liveinterfaces/proceedings2016.html and video of live performance https://youtu.be/wDD1tQEJNJk

July–November 2015 Hacking the Body at 2015 Wear_NEXT Exhibition, Brisbane, Gallery artisan & touring Australia and Asia https://www.weekendnotes.com/wear-next-exhibition-gallery-artisan/ and online catalogue https://issuu.com/beckdavisgriffithuniversity/docs/wearnext_catalogue. A radio review of the show: http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2015/09/bst_20150903_0843.mp3 and a video made during R&D residency at UCA and Siobhan Davies https://hackingthebody.wordpress.com/ or https://vimeo.com/133353621 featured in the exhibition

Hacking the Body Research

> Hacking the Body & HTB2.0

Research

Hacking the Body and HTB 2.0 was a research and performance collaboration between Dr Kate Sicchio and myself, which evolved from 2011 until 2018 and started by examining rhetoric within the online computing community around concepts of code, hacking, networks, the quantified self, and data, as a new approach to examining inner and outer states and sensations of the human body, using sensing devices within performance.

> Videos

> UCA HTB 2.0 Residency R&D 2015

> Timeline

2011– 2018

> Collaborators

  • Dr Kate Sicchio – collaborator and co-investigator

> Abstract

Hacking the Body and HTB 2.0 was a reserach adn performance collaboration between Dr Kate Sicchio and myself, which evolved from 2011 until 2018 and started by examining rhetoric within the online computing community around concepts of code, hacking, networks, the quantified self, and data, as a new approach to examining inner and outer states and sensations of the human body, using sensing devices within performance.

Hacking the Body used concept of ‘hacking’ to repurpose and reimagine internal signals from the body in two ways:
(1) to explore how internal physiological data can be gathered and harnessed to understand the experiential states of the body, and then
(2) how we as artists will ‘hack’ to explore new methods for creating artworks, using sensing systems and audiovisual technology.
Through this exploration we became critical of concepts of ‘code versus body knowledge’ and expanding our work to develop new parameters of revealing this hidden body as part of the greater social, political and technological networks. As such, body data can be hacked, repurposed and re-visualised. With a theoretical focus on understanding the ethos and methods of the hacking community, while seeking project funding we educated ourselves in the hands-on practical making processes of DIY electronics, soft circuits, and smart materials.

During our research we observed how self-monitoring and quantified-self activities have led to new forms of narcissism and encourage corporate and government spying and exploitation. The focus for us, however, then became about interpreting inner states and processes in order to be seen or interpreted as one’s personal identity, which may (or may not influence) one’s movement and interaction with others.

Hacking the Body 2.0 was thus born to follow on from a need to explore and critique how wearable technology extends our senses but also how personal data identity and privacy issues can be revealed and understood through layers of ‘known-ness’. The project became concerned with identity and data ownership in performance. As such, HTB2.0 has used modern DIY wearable electronics and smart materials alongside hacked corporate fitness tech, to explore these issues within the wearable technology, smart textiles and smart fashion industries, while adding a new dimension to performance technology and its evolution.

> Partners

  • Arts Council England
  • UCA / University for the Creative Arts

> Budget / Funding

> Outcomes / Impact

There were many papers and presentations from this research over the 7 years – see the publications section on the writing on the project. Below are presentations and activities for the Hacking the Body research before the performances documented elsewhere:

May 16-22, 2016 ISEA: International Symposium for Electronic Arts 2016 Hong Kong, presenting an artist talk on performance development and wearable costume design Flutter /Stutter and Feel Me performances (with video and demo) and a paper presentation on Hacking the Body research and performance development. ISEA 2016 conference website http://isea2016.isea-international.org and conference catalogue http://wikisites.cityu.edu.hk/sites/scm/Shared%20Documents/OtherDoc/isea2016_catalogue/isea2016_catalogue.pdf

July 29th–31st, 2013 The Electronic Visualisation and the Arts (EVA) 2013, London, UK. Presented a paper ‘Open-source, custom interfaces and devices with live coding in participatory performance’ and ‘Hacking the Body’ paper with Kate Sicchio.

July 17th, 2013 Maker’s Guild on Wearables, Centre for Creativity and Collaboration, London. Presented the ‘Hacking the Body’ project in collaboration with Kate Sicchio.
July 6, 2013, Elephant and Castle Mini-Maker Faire, London, UK, co-produced by between London College of Communication, University of the Arts, London and the Victoria and Albert Museum Digital Programs. Presenting and showing work from the collaborative performance media research project “Hacking the Body”, the collaborative project with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio.

June 17-21, 2013, ACM Creativity and Cognition, June 17-21, 2013, Sydney, Australia – conducted an all-day workshop with research collaborator Kate Sicchio, teaching the basics using soft circuits and wearable technology, as well as the basics of programming in open-source software Arduino for electronics development.

June 14-16, 2013, TekStar Art and Technology Festival, Byron Bay, Australia – conducted an all-day workshop with research collaborator Kate Sicchio, teaching the basics using soft circuits and wearable technology for performance creation;
June 8th-16th, 2013, (ISEA) International Symposium of Electronic Art 2013, Sydney Australia – conducted an all-day workshop with research collaborator Kate Sicchio, teaching the basics using soft circuits and wearable technology for a variety of applications.

May 10, 2013, Mediamorphosis Symposium, at the University of Brighton, presented by The REFRAME Digital Platform for Research in Media, Film and Music research group (http://reframe.sussex.ac.uk/) and the Creative Critical Practice Research Group at the University of Sussex – presented a paper on “Hacking the Body”, the collaborative project with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio, presentation here https://www.slideshare.net/secret/zzvY5BTXiPuwdz

April 10, 2013, Becoming Nomad: Hybrid Spaces, Liquid Architectures and Online Domains, University of York St John, York, UK – presented a paper on “Hacking the Body”, the collaborative project with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio, on behalf of both of us.

March 3rd, 2013, Exhibiting Performance Conference, University of Westminster – presented a paper on the collaborative project with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio, “Hacking the Body” (working with electronics, biofeedback sensors, mobile phones and Kinect) on behalf of both of us.

Nov 27, 2012 Digital Workshop at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London UK. Demonstration of project “Hacking the Body”.

September 7th-8th, 2012, LIVE INTERFACES in Performance, Art, Music ICSRiM School of Music, University of Leeds – presented a poster with Lincoln University collaborator dancer/choreographer Kate Sicchio, on the collaborative project “Hacking the Body” – presentation available on request.

May 19, 2012 Handmade Everything Maker Faire as part of the FutureEverything Festival, Victoria Baths, Manchester, UK. Demonstration of project “Hacking the Body” – images available.