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annotations for the Human Powered Illumination project

Brief: For this project, I am interested in the idea of exploring the energy used in the creation of a garment. The measurement of this energy could be represented visually through light in the analyzed garment.

Tools to calculate energy
In order to to measure the energy of the making of a garment, here is an overview of some tools that are used to calculate human generated energy. The ideal would be to build one myself, and use it to measure the approximate amount of energy used in the construction of the garment. The objective is obviously not scientific, but a list of measurements of different data could be put up and displayed poetically on the garment.

heart rate monitor DIY

"A device you wear that measures and displays your heart rate while exercising. Commonly, it has a monitor strap held in place around the chest by an elastic band. The heart rate is displayed on a watch, badge, or translated into sound through earphones. Walkers, runners, bikers use heart rate monitors to achieve the intensity of workout they want. Various models have other functions such a stopwatch, time of day, pre-set workouts, calories burned." (source : dictionnary).
old mechanical pedometer

pedometer DIY

Invented in 1723, the pedometer (from French Podomètre, etymologically from pied:foot) is an instrument usually in watch form that records the distance a person covers on foot by responding to the body motion at each step. For this project, the use of a pedometer could allow me to calculate the movements in the workshop during the construction.

electrostatic meter (photo: natural ressources canada)

Wikipedia: "Electrostatics involves the buildup of charge on the surface of objects due to contact with other surfaces." Electrostatic meter is a rare tool because not quite developed yet. If possible, it could be an interesting tool to insert in the material and then analyze if there is any charge happening durink the making.

Visual inspirations and ideas

Dress form trompe-l'oeil, Maison Martin Margiela, 1997

Maison Martin Margiela has been exploring the world of making fashion for more than two decades. Master of the mise en abyme, in the 90's Margiela was often designing about design, and the Maison is still creating fashion inspired by the creation of fashion itself. The world of craft and the workshop tools are presented as part of the presentation, and the trompe-l'oeil are part of the mise en scène.


Curated by Luca Marchetti & Emanuele Quinz, mosign.

Maison Martin Margiela, project curated by Dysfashional

PARAsite, by Bless, gallery boutique which present the work or emerging designers.

On January 20th, I have been lucky enough to assist to Emanuele Quinz's conference about Dysfashional exhibition at École supérieure de mode de Montréal. The exhibition is including the work of Maison Martin Margiela, Bless, Husein Chalayan as well as about 15 others fashion designers of labels. The interesting and unique fact about this exhibition is that, even if being about fashion, no garments are presented in the exhibition.

"Consacrée à la mode, DYSFASHIONAL n’expose pas de vêtements, mais scénarise tous ces matériaux qui font de la mode un dispositif d’exploration esthétique et identitaire. DYSFASHIONAL ne définit pas la mode, mais met en jeu la vision de créateurs et d’artistes d’horizons divers pour aborder ce domaine aussi frivole qu’essentiel. Un parcours spectaculaire et dépaysant où les protagonistes ne sont pas les objets mais les processus : la création et l’expérience."

Those projects (environments, objects, movies...) present the designer's imaginative world, and show fashion as a construction of experimental projects.

Viktor & Rolf, The Fashion Show, autumn/winter 2007/8. Centraal Museum, loan H+F Collectie.
Photo Peter Stigter, model Maryna Linchuk (DNA Models).

"In recent decades fashion and fine art have moved ever closer to one another. Fashion designers create installations and performances and in their turn inspire the art world. ‘The Art of Fashion: Installing Allusions’ traces this development and seeks out the borderline between the disciplines."

For this exhibition, Viktor & Rolf, Hussein Chalayan, Walter van Beirendonck, Anna-Nicole Ziesche and Naomi Filmer have been ask to create new work under those three themes: fashion as total experience, the pattern as sculpture and the imaginary world of the fashion campaign. Being at the edge of fashion and art, those five designers are presenting work that is going beyond the limits of garments, they are presenting a whole. The environment and the presentation of the clothing is part of the creative process. This aspect should be taken explored in this project.

photo: Guide to Buckminster Fuller

Buckminster Fuller has been working on principles of energy as well as material efficiency. Thinking on a molecular scale, Bucky works on human scale, and represent his ideas through materiality. Those representations, such as the geodesic dome, become efficient design structure. Bucky's work could be an inspiration for garment's structure, as well as use of material.

source: A Fuller Explanation, by Amy C. Edmondson

The theory of critical design is presented in Design Noir. Instead of the glossy beauty of gadgets, this book is about the sometimes dark side of electronic objects, and how there is an unexpected narrative as well as unexpected interactions emanating from those. It questions the use and the design of electronic objects surrounding us in the everyday life, and how they affect the daily routine. The placebo effect of electronic objects (or presupposed electronic) is also an fascinating aspect viewed in the book.

Dunne, Anthony and Raby, Fiona. Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objets. Birkhäuser Basel, 2001.

This book is a collection of essays analyzing, from an anthropological point of view, the relation of different communities with clothing. Divided in four parts, the book overviews from historical to contemporary trends. The Historical Perspectives part refers to five ethnic cases of present days. The second section, Living Tradition, explores senses and mixed cultures of nowadays. The third part, Challenging Tradition, presents the traditional culture when facing globalization and rethink authenticity. The final part, The Future, shows two cases of recent fashion trends, one extremely marginal and one related mainly to teenagers and pornographic amateurs. Surprisingly the useless part for my research. The Introduction section gives a nice overview of the whole as well as a complete resume of each chapter. Each case has its own bibliography, which makes easier the references. Seeming at first very historical and ethnic, those essays ended up giving a lot of analysis methods that can be applied to many fields. It also presents the richness of analysis potential of fashion, clothing and accessories.

JOHNSON, Donald Clay and FOSTER, Helen Bradley. Dress Sense, Emotional and Sensory Experiences of the Body and Clothes, Berg Publishers, New York, 2007, 208 pp.

The interesting use of Light in Design Objects

Lucy Harvey, Pedestal Ring - found bottle, oxidised silver, fly
Unatural History Series of 3. Objects for the body, 2007, UK

My work explores the psychological necessity for narrative structure and how anxieties are sublimated through the mundane and extraordinary. I use craft processes as a vehicle to speak of the unknown, the uncanny and the melancholy. I manipulate the pre-existing to create enigmatic artefacts which toy with our longing to believe in the fantastic."

The Pedestal Ring from Lucy Harvey is shaped as a lighting bulb, transformed into a ring. I enjoy the reinterpretation of the object, and I think it could be an interesting avenue for my garment.

Thelermont Hupton
Tight Light, London, 2006

Thelermont Hupton is a studio of products and furniture design. They produce a series of glass lighting objects which present interesting luminosity qualities. Tight Light project has beautiful qualities of light textures that are filtered through textile.

Cloud, materials: nylon, wire and light
Jess Shaw, Imaginative and emotional lighting designs, UK

This is a beautiful installation by Jess Shaw. Simple but effective, the Cloud is using light to create an soft but bright atmosphere. It seems to be circles of nylon fabric layered over leds, then displayed as suspended bouquets.