TAME ME INFERNO: A JOURNEY TOWARDS INTERACTIVE WEARABLE FUTURE SKINS
The future of wearable is in interactive mutant skins that will reflect that «Everything you touch, touches you. Everything that touches changes each other.»
Wearables the erotics of movement control systems: Robots vs Sensing machines.
There is lots of talk about how we can reinvent the body, about what it is capable of doing. However, here, through the Art performances: ¿Por qué tenemos órganos pares y solo un corazón? by Paola Tognazzi (2009) and Inferno by Louis Philippe Demers & Bill Vorn (2015) we reflect on how the body can be re-perceived and listened to as a body, using technologies that stimulate the expressive qualities generated by movements and conditions like will, effort and desire.
Both play with the erotics of movement control systems, listening and participation. However, the narratives are different, and thus the tools and strategies chosen to build the experience.
¿POR QUÉ TENEMOS ÓRGANOS PARES Y SOLO UN CORAZÓN?
If your body could speak, what would it say?
Put on Wearable_SuperNow and dance your body will talk to you.
Mine said: Please tame me
How can I tame you?
Listen to me, speak with me, feel me.
To tame me you have to know me”
«¿Por qué tenemos órganos pares y solo un corazón?» is an participative performance that explores the theme of the need to truly know oneself and others to tame and being tamed.
The inquiry into why we have organs in pairs and only one heart began with a fundamental question: what is the body? After conducting interviews with a large sample of individuals, the conclusion was that the body can be seen as a machine, with the brain functioning through electrical currents and the heart operating without our conscious control. However, this raises an even more profound question: how can a machine be tamed to become human?
The piece format is a hybrid between a workshop and an interactive installation, featuring the Wearable_SuperNow system.
Using movement capture acelerometer sensors embedded in wearable bracelets, the audience is invited to participate in a live concert by controlling and transforming sounds with their movements. The performance creates an intimate soundscape that speaks from within, reflecting upon the erotics of body movement control and the desire for true connection.
The performance starts with the question: «If your body could speak, what would it say?» The audience’s answers are recorded directly in the system. Participants then wear the sensor and start dancing, initiating a dialogue between their bodies and the wearable technology. Through this process of reciprocal taming and being tamed, the audience is invited to listen to and connect with their bodies, and ultimately achieve a deeper sense of connection with themselves and others.
Inferno is a participative robotic performance project inspired by the concept of control and the representation of hell.
«From Dante’s Circles of Hell to theme parks such as Haw Par Villa’s Ten Courts of Hell, passing by Joe “the Mechanical Boy”, bodies are handed to eternal and external forces controlling and afflicting them. Those punishments and external powers, found in the depiction of numerous flavors of hell, suggests an infinite and mundane control loop under which the body will be forced to move endlessly. In Inferno, the «circles of hell» concept is a framework, a theme under which the different parts of the performance are regrouped.
The specificity of this performance resides in the situation where the machines involved in the performance are retrofitted on the body of raptured audience members cum performers. A select group of the public therefore become an active part of the performance, giving a radical instance of immersive and participative experiences. Shifting the exoskeleton’s command from the authors, to the computer, to the audience and to the performers, Inferno questions the nature of control – either machinic or human, either coerced or voluntary – where either utopian or dystopian futures radiate, both real and fictional. (Demers, 2015).»
DIFFERENCES: ROBOTS VERSUS SENSING MACHINES.
In Why do we have organs in pair and only one heart? the audience is asked to put on Wearable_SuperNow with which they can control and transform the tempo of the music with the energy of their movements. Then are invited to follow the artist dancing.
In Inferno, Louis-Philippe Demers & Bill Vorn ask the audience to wear a robotic exoskeleton. The wearable moves them. The choreography is preprogrammed into the wearable system, the wearer only receives the information, no deviation is possible.
Why do we have organs in pairs and only one heart? is a scripted narrative within an interactive tool that allows diversion, inferno is a scripted narrative within a programmed system, that allows no diversion.
In Inferno participants are moved by the robotic exoskeletons.
They have no control over the dance performance and they can move within the wire (leash) circumscribed area.
In Why do we have organs in pairs and only one heart? the audience has the control over the performance and the interactive wearable.
They can control their bodies performances and travel through the whole space.
While Demers through the robotic system conveys that the nature of control is either voluntary or coerced, Tognazzi through the interactive system shows that the nature of control is either aware or unaware.
Inferno materializes the sense of strength and invulnerability that came from the lack of responsibility when acting as pre programmed robots, while why do we have organs in pairs and only one heart? materializes the sense of fragility and vulnerability coming from the responsibility of being interactive sensing systems.
Both can be experienced as hells or paradises depending on the needs of the moment.
While in Inferno the audience is invulnerable, in ¿Porque temenos organos pares y solo un corazón? is vulnerable. However, Wearable_SuperNow by revealing their vulnerabilities it also transforms them in strengths and super powers.
WHEN THE TWO PERFORMANCES MET AND MELT TOGETHER
This moment happened when superimposing the two pieces. The participants in Tame Me gently approaching the ones in Inferno, perhaps attracted by the little lights shining on their arms, to hug them. It suggested the image of beings split in two, wondering like ghosts looking to reunite their bodies.
HOW CAN A MACHINE BE TAMED TO BECOME HUMAN?
Although the narratives of the two performances are different both conclude what AI and neuroscientists have currently discovered: the reason of brains is not to think but to control movement, the reason of dance is to make us humans.
In Terminator the TV show they say machines cannot dance, but Camaron, John’s Connor bodyguard was taking ballet lessons to learn to be human and one day John connor saw her dancing in her room and we all though ohhh so sweet.
In Uncanny Valley, Stefan Kaegi explores humans controversy between the desire to be in control and the desire for the illusion of being free from the responsibility of control by acting like machines.
Both the TV show reference to Terminators and the play Uncanny Valley examine the relationship between humans and machines, exploring the boundaries between the two. While Terminators are portrayed as machines, they possess a human quality in their ability to appreciate dance and art, blurring the lines between human and machine.
Similarly, Uncanny Valley examines the human desire for control and the idea of relinquishing that control by acting like machines. This raises questions about what it means to be human, as well as the complex relationship between humans and machines. Both references suggest that the line between human and machine is not always clear-cut and that there may be more overlap than we initially realize.
My fascination lies in exploring the intersection between politics of the sensorial and the erotics. Data technology per se is information, an intangible essence neither inherently good nor bad. However, its application can transform it into a material form that is both tangible and subject to manipulation. In contrast human perception is inherently biased and continuously shaped by fleeting moment’s narrative, whether consciously or unconsciously.
Through integrating digital data with analog materials, I create mutually informing systems systems that materialize and visualize transformations, granting wearers the super power of capturing and taming the fleetingness of perception.
When I started developing Wearable_SuperNow, in 2007, data technology was portrayed as a democratic medium that could free and connect us. Yet when Louis Philippe Demers made Inferno in 2015, the darker potential of data technology as a tool for coercive control systems was noted.
The aim of BE MY SKIN is to combine Why do we have organs in pairs and only one heart? with Inferno. Research interactive textiles that can move and touch bodies like exoskeletons can, while also sensing and interact with them. Melt the robotics into a sensing reactive textile so it become invisible, but a lot more powerful and perceptible on the body.
AxX BE MY SKIN, FEEL ME, PROTECT ME, MARK YOURSELF FROM MY EXPERIENCES:
A journey from you caressing the textile, to the textile caressing you back.
AxX Be my skin is a PHD conducted at the Universities of Napier and Edinburgh in collaboration with DOVECOT studio tutored by Sarah Taylor and Sarah Kettley that research tapestry structures with the capacity to shapeshift, capture and transfer tactilely movement memories.
The aim is to emphasize the central role of materials tactility fundamental for humans learning and communicative abilities (Albers) to mediate human experiences.
It investigates techniques to integrate soft robotics with ancestral weaving techniques to develop textiles that create a symbiotic process of shape transformation between real time data instructions and the textile so it can Touch & Move the body (Inferno robotic exoskeleton) as well as listen & react (Werable_SuperNow) to it. to sense and connect are necessary both sets of actions.
The art of pushing and pulling strings to materialize movement.
The true challenge in wearable technology is not simply embedding movement in textiles, but controlling the direction of those movements to produce a narrative of feelings within the body. This research focuses on investigating the relationship between textural and structural dimensions (PATTERNS MECHANICS) in weaving, using weaving patterns and cut as major variables to create textiles with the capacity to absorb and reflect the presence of smart materials.
Our methodology involves visualizing, mapping, and connecting the work of experts in computational design, weaving, actuated material processing, and wearables. By doing so, we aim to develop a comprehensive understanding of the possibilities and limitations of weaving and smart materials, and how they can be harnessed to create textiles that produce specific physical and emotional responses in the wearer.
BACKGROUND HISTORY OF THE RESEARCH
The Dragon is alive (2014) a reactive 3D printed structure that transform, shapeshift, touch and accomodate the wearer’s movement, developed by Paola Tognazzi at Tu/e University.
METAMORPHOSIS: THE SPACE IN BETWEEN (2015) is a 3D printed reactive modular structure embedded in a shirt at Media art Futures. This project explores the relationship between 3D experiences, space, movement, and transformation. It culminates in an installation where the tangible becomes intangible and the static becomes dynamic through a symbiotic process of formal transformation, driven by the interaction of the viewer.
The installation blurs the boundaries between physical and virtual spaces, inviting the viewer to actively engage with the work and become a participant in its ongoing evolution. Through this process of interaction, the viewer becomes an integral part of the artwork, driving its transformation and shaping its form in a dynamic and constantly evolving way.
Future Skins a 3D printed reactive full back design in collaboration with prosthetic 3D designer Jonathan Ramirez Diaz de Leon.
Future skins is an investigation about wearable 3D printed structures, integrated in garments, in such a way that they can create a symbiotic process of transformation of form between the wearer movements and the structure. It is a study on the materialization of movement and ecological ways to harvest the energy of physical movements to trigger textiles reactions.
This collaboration between the italian artist and physical interaction designer Paola Tognazzi Drake and Mexican expert 3D modeler Jonathan Ramírez Díaz de León originated from the awareness that while most wearables projects start by embedding electronics for wearable technology to be implemented in everyday life it’s necessary to start from design, thinking about the ergonomy, movement dynamics and natural mechanics of the body.
Bruna Goveia da Rocha PhD researcher at Tu/e University. Flow: Towards Communicating Directional Cues through Inflatables »
Current research in wearable technologies have shown that we can use real-time tactile instructions to support the learning of physical activities through vibrotactile stimulation. While tactile cues based on vibration may indicate direction, they do not convey the direction of movement. We would like to propose the use of inflatables as an alternative form of actuation to express such information through pressure. Inspired by notions from embodied interaction and somaesthetic design, we present in this paper a research through design (RtD) project that substitutes directional metaphors with push against the body. The result, Flow, is a wearable designed to cue six movements of the wrist/forearm to support the training of elementary sensory-motor skills of physical activities, such as foil fencing. We contribute with the description of the design process and reflections on how to design for tactile motion instructions through inflatables (da Rocha).»
Alike da Rocha, Xinyi Huang Fashion designer PhD on Morphing garments at Edinburgh University too moved from alloys to the application of pneumatics to create shapeshifting garments.
Milou Voorwinden: The space between.
Paula Van Brummelen PhD on Embedding movement in rubber materials applying alloys at TU Berlin
Pauline Van Dongen Dutch fashion designer specialised in smart textiles and smart clothing.
«Pulse” draws the viewer into a speculative world in which textiles come to life. With so-called ‘shape changing textiles’, or textiles that can actively change shape, we investigate the relationship between people and clothing. Our rational thinking is always intertwined with subjective perception and feeling, and in a world of textiles and clothing, the tactile and sensory are eminently important in shaping our ideas and design directions.
Kathryn Walters’ Form from Flat Exploring emergent behaviour in woven textile. A PhD on Applying molding and paper yarns, to form a 3D shape with weaving at Boras University.
Anouk Wipprecht: the Pangoline project.
Daniel Leiville Amour, acide et noix” (2001) and “La pudeur des icebergs” (2004) are two wonderful choreographies and performances of lasting impact on me. Atemporal pearls of poetic touching beauty.
The rigour of Léveillé’s choppy and precise choreography references human imperfection but also attests to the skill and athleticism of the accomplished dancers. At times comical and playful, at others austere yet poignant, the music is equally unpredictable. Exploring our solitude and irrepressible desire for contact, this work exemplifies Léveillé’s expressive minimalism with raw and potent beauty.
The modesty of Icebergs by Daniel Léveillé
Enzo Cosimi “Sopra di me il diluvio”, Premio Danza & Danza 2014 come Migliore Produzione Italiana dell’Anno, e Paola Lattanzi Linke, Premio Tersicore 2015 come Migliore interprete contemporaneo.
The piece surges from the erotic energy arisen, captured and materialised in the collaboration between Enzo Cosimi and Paola Lattanzi. A symbiosis of no judgement and acceptation that channels, molds and distillates pure unleashed unlabelled energy able to travel and touch the audience in an electrical and magnetic experience even through the screens.
In the works by Daniel Leveille and Enzo Cosimi, the performer are naked. The nudity is not gratuitous nor as a mean of sexuality and provocation but to show the performance happens on the skin.
La chambre by Regis Obadia
Anne Therese de Keersmakers – music analysis and physical translation.
Accompanied by the pulsating tones of his music, for an hour and ten minutes ten dancers occupy the stage, delineated by a curtain of fine strings, displaying an impressive succession of virtuoso dance phrases. The mathematical figures, the sustained repetition, the geometric occupation of the space, the art of continuous variation – everything that had gradually become the choreographer’s signature was pushed to the extreme in Rain.
In Rain, De Keersmaeker approaches the company of dancers as a close-knit group of pronounced individuals who, one by one, play a vital role in the whole. Seven women and three men allow themselves to be propelled by an unstoppable joined energy that binds them together. It’s a bustling network in which breath and speed is shared as well as that special comradery that forms when you are beyond fatigue.
PHILOSOPHY BEHIND THE RESEARCH:
The role of naming things and of sight perspective in constructing the responsibility of the narratives we live.
Sartre in La Nausea speaks about the responsibility people have regarding the meaning and name they give to things. In particular about the hypocrisy of blaming something to be something else, when it was us that gave it that name, in the first place.
Interview to Paola Lattanzi on her piece Being and Doing
Sartre: The look of the other that nullifies us
Esther Barbero’s workshop Invocations is inspired by Focault idea of the peripheral look that make us become part of the scene versus the optical look that put us in the background.
The humanism of Jean-Paul Sartre and the anti-humanism of Michel Foucault. Foucault criticizes Sartre for building his philosophy from the concept of man. Sartre reproaches Foucault for his lack of originality and his neglect of history.
In conclusion narratives define realities, however they can be a lie. Who suffer the lie is the body and breaks as beautifully conveyed in this scene of «Good Girls» and Lisa Caruso lyrics «if only my body could endure the misery»
«I’m going to teach you» he said gently caressing her forehead and that’s the dream of today’s: a wearable that can teach and guide us through caresses.