Joanna Berzowska: Krakow: a woven story of memory and erasure

  • ©,




    Krakow: a woven story of memory and erasure



    Electronic animated textile


    4' x 7'


Artist Statement:

    Active materials (physical materials that have the ability to change over time and be controlled electronically) introduce many exciting opportunities for art and design, but also present many new chal­lenges. These challenges are not only conceptual (how to imagine animated, interactive artifacts that have unexpected reactions or be­haviors), but also political, ethical, social, environmental, and cultural.

    At the same time, with contemporary advances in potential memory capacity, we need to ask what are the design and creative capacities of memory rich materials and forms. What models of memory and mind are used in designing technologies that remember? How does our current generation of electronic textile and wearable computing technologies allow us to build memories? And, most importantly, how do we include the need, capacity, and desire to forget?

    At XS Labs, we develop electronic textiles that are extra soft and react in unusual ways to our bodies and our environments. We are particularly interested in the development of non-emissive, textile-­based display technologies. We develop textile substrates that integrate conductive yarns, control electronics, and various active materials such as thermochromic inks or the shape-memory alloy Nitinol in order to build non-emissive, multi-pixel, fully addressable textile displays. These displays are created using traditional textile manufacturing techniques: spinning conductive yarns, weaving, embroidering, sewing, and printing with inks.

Technical Information:

    Krakow, a woven story of memory and erasure deploys a simple technology for non-emissive, color-change textiles. It functions as a woven animated display, constructed with conductive yarns and thermochromic inks together with custom electronics components. Some of the figures in the weaving are overprinted with inks that change from black and pink to transparent and back again. Like our memories of them, the people in the weaving disappear over time.

    Thermochromic inks have the ability to change color in response to a change in temperature, without emitting light. This is ideal for constructing visually animated textile-based substrates, since non-emissive surfaces are conceptually closer to the tradition of weaving and textile printing.

    Conductive yarns are woven together with insulating yarns to con­struct a fabric substrate that is overprinted with areas of thermo­chromic ink. Control electronics send power to different areas of the electronic textile to generate resistive heat. This allows for the creation of dynamic designs on the textile. Visual properties are de­termined by the pattern and physical configuration of the conductive yarns and thermochromic inks integrated into its surface.

    Krakow, a woven story of memory and erasure is woven on a Jacquard loom, which can create complicated weave structures, including double and triple weaves. On a Jacquard loom, complex and irregular patterns can be produced, because each warp yarn is individually addressable.