> e-stitches

smart / e-textiles & wearables meetup

e-stitches regularly brings artists, fashion and other designers – including performers, makers, electronic technologies, bio-technologists, wearable DIY enthusiasts, and quantified-selfies – all together to discuss, show, share, educate and learn from each other on the current issues and future directions in this developing area. 

> Videos

In progress.

> Meetup Galleries 2014 – Present

> Timeline

November 2014 – Present

> Past Presenters

  • Amy Winters
  • Brook Roberts
  • Michele Danjoux
  • Johannes Birringer (2nd event)
  • Kristina Dimitrova
  • Berit Greinke
  • Annie Lynwood
  • Lyndsey Caulder & Sarah Robertson
  • Caroline Yan Zheng
  • Olsen Wolf
  • Priti Veja
  • Giulia Tomasello
  • Emilie Gillies
  • Yulia Salias
  • Olga Noronha
  • Bushra Burge
  • Lesley-Ann Daly
  • Amy Congdon
  • Elena Corchero
  • Marina Castan
  • Aniela Hoitink
  • Sophie Skach
  • Mili Tharakan
  • Becky Stewart
  • Melissa Coleman
  • Maria Paneta
  • Stefanie Posavec & Miriam Quirk
  • Elena Corchero
  • Victoria Geaney
  • Nigel Guèrin-Garrett
  • Marina Toeters
  • Danielle Roberts
  • Maria Almena
  • Rachel Friere
  • Pollie Barden
  • Panja Gobel
  • Francesca Perona
  • Becca Rose
  • Tincuta Heinzel
  • Nicola Woodham
  • Ricardo O’ Nascimento 
  • Caroline McMillan
  • and myself, on my own practice

> Abstract

e-stitches is a gathering for artistic / research / practice sharing, show & tell, workshops & talks, which originally took place every six weeks to two months, and now monthly online since April 2020, on the themes of..

  • Soft circuits & e-textiles
  • Digital fashion
  • wearables and DIY electronics

…and related topics in art, design, research and performance.

The group combines discussion on topical issues around these technologies, along with show-and-tell opportunities for participants to show their current work, with occasional hands-on skills-building workshops with expert designers, in a causal meet-up format, with an additional aim to bring other London-based artistic, industry and academic groups together. 

This is a non-profit, non-registered, voluntary organisation since 2014 

> Partners

  • Camille Baker – Founder & Organiser
  • Melissa Coleman – Co-Founder & Co-Organiser (Jan 2015 – Feb 2020)
  • Irini Papadimitriou – Co-Organiser (Nov 2014 – Jul 2018)
  • Emelie Giles – Co-Organiser (Apr 2020 – Present)

> Budget / Funding

None. All funding in-kind or volunteer.

> Outcomes / Impact

e-stitches aims to evolve one day into a cross-disciplinary, cross institutional research & development lab, and advocacy group.

Currently we have almost 200 members, and have hosted more than sixty designers and innovators presenting their work and sharing their skills.

The WEAR Sustain project was spawned from this meetup group and many of the mentors and recipient designers that were involved in WEAR Sustain came from this group.

FET Art / ICT & Art Connect

> FET-Art EU FP7 Co-Creation

Connecting ICT and Art communities: new research avenues, challenges, and expected impact (ICT&Art Connect)

We need to study what problems art and ICT can solve together… Does there first have to be a convergence process between art, ICT, brain science, and psychology, whereby each discipline better understands the process and language of the other? …Do we need to understand better the intradisciplinary benefits of art and ICT collaborations, before going onto understand the inter- and transdisciplinary ones? …The element of the aesthetic in the ICT innovation process may also need more study. (Foden, 2012)

> Videos

> Gallery Name

> Timeline

June 2013 – May 2014

> Collaborators

  • SIGMA ORIONIS SA – Coordinator & Project Management
  • BRUNEL UNIVERSITY – Creative Vision, Matchmaking & Event Organisation
  • WAAG SOCIETY – Collaboration Facilitation & Monitoring
  • STROMATOLITE – Hackathon & Event Organisation
  • BLACK CUBE COLLECTIVE – Matchmaking & Event Organisation

> Abstract

The EU funded project called FET-Art, stems from the first “ICT & ART Connect” event, which took place in Brussels in April 2012 under the aegis of DG CONNECT, European Commission, and co-organised by the Future and Emerging Technologies Unit, Brunel University and University College London issued a series of recommendations, including the following ones:

We need to study what problems art and ICT can solve together… Does there first have to be a convergence process between art, ICT, brain science, and psychology, whereby each discipline better understands the process and language of the other? …Do we need to understand better the intradisciplinary benefits of art and ICT collaborations, before going onto understand the inter- and transdisciplinary ones? …The element of the aesthetic in the ICT innovation process may also need more study. (Foden, 2012)

The reported outcomes of the workshop and recommendations for future directions that the EU should take on in Art and ICT (information communications technology) co-creation, included:

  • A plea to the EU and Europe to think harder about art and ICT as complementary ways of thinking; whereby both computational and creative thinking include making models and metaphors of the world/experience that involve choosing between a range of narrative options.
  • To recognise that Art is generally accepted as a good vehicle for public engagement with an understanding of science and technology, and that Art often provides a holistic view of the social conflicts of science’s embodiment in technology. Art helps to convert knowledge into meaning.
  • To understand that Artists don’t like environments in which they are an afterthought, getting a pat on the back for making technology or science look pretty; and technologists don’t appreciate being brought into creative projects just as technicians. So we must think about how the revelation processes of Art making can be integrated into scientific/policy methodologies; and what the right conditions are for true co-innovation.
  • Together, Art & ICT can help the wider public to engage in the ethical issues around policy; and through ICT-enabled communication channels, involving participatory democracy around different artistic interpretations of choice, the public can participate and affect decision-making. But first collective tools for community management, sustainable management and broad exposure across Art & ICT need to be established. (Foden, 2012) Other policy recommendations were:
    • Explore other forms of engagement between art and ICT other than for dissemination purposes only;
    • Establish areas of research in ICT where stronger involvement of artists could be synergetic. Three candidates: Creativity, Social innovation, Global Systems science.
    • Develop a rationale and operational steps to include artists more prominently in these areas.
    • Plan an annual series of workshops in the spirit of ICT & ART CONNECT;
    • Consider an organisational structure to facilitate interaction of artists within ICT projects (‘in- project artists’);
    • Explore other forms of CONNECT engagement with art than for dissemination purposes only (for instance co-creation, public engagement with ICT)(Foden, 2012).

This event clearly confirmed that a great potential for the EU to be more involved in fostering more of an on-going dialogue between technology and art practitioners, and that it is important to efficiently support such dialogue now, in light big changes in the way the EU funds research project and the newly implemented Horizon 2020 mandate for funding, in order to contribute to the emergence of novel future emerging technologies research topics being developed by the European Commission, and its identification of new emerging research areas.

The aims inspired from the April 2012 event included:

  1. Move technology and art intersection/ interaction from the broad frame of Digital Humanities, or the domain of Creative Industries and SME’s, toward more specific and direct impact beyond business;
  2. Encourage technology/ICT specialists to work with artists, on an equal basis, on EU and other funded project initiatives – to show the ICT community the value artists will bring to their activities;
  3. Help organisations and companies to consider new organisational structures that facilitate interaction of artists with ICT projects (‘in- project artists’) and to develop operational schemes to include artists in funded projects

Thus, as a follow-on project to this event, a one-year project that started in June 2013, was intended as a catalyst project devoted to connecting European technology and artistic communities, and fostering productive dialogues, engagement, and collaborative work between them to demonstrate the synergies collaborative work between them, in order to identify new research avenues, associated challenges, and the potential impact of ICT and Art collaboration on science, technology, art, education and society in general, and how each can contribute to a new Europe.

Within this context, a FET-ART balanced partnership of committed organisations was formed, offering renowned expertise in the ICT and Art domains, important connections with ICT and Art practitioners in Europe and worldwide, many references at the ICT and Art intersection, and longstanding experience of planned activities.

One of the main aims of the FET-Art project, later branded as ICT & Art Connect, was to both seek and document consultation with experts and with the arts and ICT technology practitioners themselves on the issues and process of collaboration. The goal of the consultation was to highlight a much under discussed topic of collaboration experiences that artists and technology professionals have had (good and bad), either with others within their profession or across disciplines, and to glean recommendations for future collaboration process approaches.

Then events to bring artists and technologists together to collaborate were hosted by each partner. Each event was organised differently, and some included Hackathons or fast project prototyping, to ignite partnerships, while others focused on showing current successful art/tech projects, while discussing the issues and problems of art/tech collaboration more deeply. An active effort was made to find outside, objective experts from other European and international institutions and organisations with experts who have witnessed, researched and/or otherwise facilitated and nurtured numerous art and technology collaborations.

MINDtouch PhD Project

> MINDtouch

Ephemeral Transference: ‘Liveness’ in Networked Performance with Mobile Devices’

If you could exchange your sleeping dream imagery, feelings and sensations, with your friends and loved ones, what would it be like? If you could not only share and exchange, but remix and collage them, what would it look like?

> Videos

> Gallery Name

> Timeline

October 2006–August 2011

> Collaborators

  • Tara Baoth Mooney and Rachel Lasebikan – Garment Designers
  • Michael Markert – Arduino, electronics, DIY physiological sensor programming and mobile app developer
  • Manjit Bedi – Quartz Composer designer for sensor to video database mixing & visualisations
  • Evan Raskob – OSc, database, XML and network developer
  • Huw Williams (SMARTlab & BBC R&D) – Networking and Quartz Composer developer
  • Dr Marc Price – BBC R&D Engineer and PhD Sponsor

> Abstract

The practice-based PhD research investigated the four key qualities of ‘liveness’, ‘feltness’, ‘embodiment’ and ‘presence’ in mobile media performance, in order to shed light on the use qualities and sensations that emerge when mobile technologies are used in tandem with wearable devices in performance contexts.

The research explored mobile media as a non-verbal and visual communication tool that functions by repurposing the mobile phone device and its connection to a wireless network, not only for communication, but explicitly for the expression of ‘emotion’ in the form of a video mix, representing an interpersonal connection shared over distance.

The research aimed to identify and supplement existing scholarly discourse on the nature of these four key strands of kinaesthetic philosophy made ‘live’ in the online network, applying knowledge gained through the practice of enhancing participant experience of the use of simple ubiquitous mobile tools with bespoke biofeedback sensors and an online repository for the playback of users’ visual expressions. This enhanced toolkit enables participants to share personal relationships and social interactions in an immediate way, with collaborators at a distance.

The selected methodology of active research using kinaesthetic tools in live performance sought to identify and clarify new ways of simulating or emulating a non-verbal, visual exchange within a social participatory context, with particular attention paid to a sense of ‘feltness’ as an element of ‘presence’ or ‘liveness’, and with attention to the experience of a sense of ‘co-presence’ arising in real-time collaborative mobile performances at a distance.

To best explore these concepts, as well as the bodily sensations involved for participants, the research analysed original data gleaned from a larger R&D project (conducted in tandem with the PhD project, sponsored by the BBC) as its major case study. The project, called MINDtouch, created a series of unique practice-based new media performance events played out in real-time networked contexts. The MINDtouch events were framed as a means for participants to simulate dream exchange or telepathic thought transfer using mobile phones and biofeedback devices, linked to a bespoke video file protocol for archiving and sharing visual results. The corporeal, non-verbal forms of communication and visual interaction observed when participants use such devices within participatory performance events was examined by way of demonstrating the impact of specific live encounters and experiences of users in this emerging playing field between real-time and asynchronous, live and technologised forms expressing liveness/presence/distance.

The research benefited from access to the larger MINDtouch project and its original data, providing this research with a set of process-based evidence files both in video and transcript form (contained in the thesis appendices). By analysing this unique data set and applying the theoretical contexts of kinaesthetic philosophies where appropriate, the thesis demonstrates both the practical and the critical/contextual effectiveness of the media facilitation process for the participants, and shares their senses of ‘liveness’ and ‘presence’ (of themselves and of others) when using technology to externalise visual expressions of internalised experiences.

MINDtouch made an original contribution to scholarship in the fields of Performance and New Media, with additional contributions to the cognate fields of Philosophy and Technology, and locates its arguments at the locus of the fields of Performance Art, Mobile Performance/Locative Media, Philosophies of the Body and Communications. The research used methods, practices and tools from Phenomenology, Ethnography, Practice-As-Research, and Experience Design, bringing together the relevant aspects of these diverging areas of new media research and media art/performance practices. The research demonstrated that there was a need for new technological tools to express viscerally felt emotion and to communicate more directly. It was hoped that this study would be of use to future scholars in the arts and technology, and also that it might help to demonstrate a way of communicating rich emotion through felt and embodied interactions shared with others across vast distances (thus supporting political movements aimed at reducing global travel in the age of global warming).

> Partners

  • BBC R&D PhD
  • SMARTlab Digital Media Institute

> Budget / Funding

  • £60,000 through BBC R&D PhD Sponsorship

> Outcomes / Impact

Several publications, notably:

Chapter 6 – Baker, C. C. (Aug 16, 2018) New Directions in Mobile Media and Performance – Monograph on mobile phones in performance as tool, content, guide and collaborator in immersive theatre, live art, dance, music and more. Oxford, New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis. https://www.routledge.com/New-Directions-in-Mobile-Media-and-Performance/Baker/p/book/9781472467188

Baker, C. C. (December 2010) “MINDtouch – Ephemeral Transference: Liveness’ in Networked Performance with Mobile Devices”, PhD Thesis, published in University of East London Library in print with DVD support materials and the British Library in digital form. Ethos repository, British Library: https://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?did=3&uin=uk.bl.ethos.550414 Ethos ID uk.bl.ethos.550414 

Baker, C. (April 2011) “methodologies for mobile media performance”, IN Acoustic Space # 9: Art As Research, Rasa Šmite (ed), (MPLab) Art Research Lab Liepaja University (Liepaja, Latvia) in collaboration with RIXC, The Centre for New Media Culture, RIXC, Riga, Latvia, Volume 9, pgs 131-144. Available online at: http://mplab.lv/index.php?lapa=mediateka&apakslapa=1

Baker, C. C. (March 2011) ‘“MINDtouch” – embodied ephemeral transference: Mobile media performance research’: IN International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Volume 7 (1), Bristol, UK: Intellect Press, pgs 99–118. Now with Taylor & Francis. Available online at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1386/padm.7.1.97_1

Baker, C., Schleser, M and Molga, K. (July 2009) “Aesthetics of Mobile Media Art”, IN International Journal of Media Practice, Volume 10 (2), Bristol, UK: Intellect Press., pgs 101–122. Now with Taylor &Francis. Available online at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1386/jmpr.10.2-3.101_1

Baker, C (Dec 2008) “Liveness’ and ‘Presence’ in Bio-Networked Mobile Performance Practices: Emerging Perspectives”: IN The International Journal of Performance Arts and Digital Media, Volume 4 (2), Bristol, UK: Intellect Press, pgs 117-136. Now with Taylor & Francis. Available online at: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1386/padm.4.2_3.117_1

Baker, C. (Sept 2007) “Biosensors, Liveness and Networked Performance with Mobile Devices: Emerging Perspectives”, Conference Proceedings, International Digital Arts and Culture Conference: perthDAC 2007, Perth Australia.

Several exhibitions and presentations

Sept 14-22, 2011 ‘MINDtouch: Mobile Video Creativity’, workshop, Conference Proceedings, International Symposium of Electronic Arts (ISEA), Sabanci Universitesi, Istanbul, Turkey. http://isea2011.sabanciuniv.edu/

April 29, 2011 Low Lives 3 online performance event Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. Online event info here http://lowlives.net/home/artists-low-lives-3/ and video here https://youtu.be/9Vw9Y4b4PcI and catalogue http://issuu.com/lowlives/docs/ll3_web/25?e=0

April 22-26, 2011 Digital Stages Performance Festival 2011, London, workshop on MINDtouch with mobile video collections activities.

Sept 5-8th, 2010 Digital Resources for the Humanities and the Arts 2010 Conference, Brunel University, London, Performance of and presentation paper on completion of my PhD research, MINDtouch: embodied ephemeral transference.

June 15-20, 2010 TEXTURES, SLSAe 6th Annual Conference, Riga, Latvia, Presentation paper on Art as Research, and on a panel on Material Interfaces (wearable technologies).

August 25-31, 2009 ISEA, International Symposium of Electronic Arts 2009, University of Ulster, Belfast, UK. Speaker and Panelist: on my PhD research and Wearable Technology.

November 16, 2008 MobileFest, MINDtouch BBC Project: Ephemeral Transference Performance, MIS (Museum of Image and Sound), Sao Paulo, Brazil.

> Further Information