Giulia Tomasello on Biotextiles and Constanza Piña on Wearable Electronics, Dance and Textile Computers
On Wednesday, April 3rd 2019 we had the amazing opportunity to host at the DXARTS 490: E-textiles & Wearables for Art & Design, the Italian interaction designer Giulia Tomasello talking about her work in the field of biohacking, harvesting and women’ s health, as well as the Chilean artist and performer Constanza Piña, presenting her work with wearables and sound through a DIY electronics and traditional crafting perspective. Both artists visited the University of Washington in the context of the Design Trouble symposium which DXARTS assistant professor Afroditi Psarra co-organized together with Daniela Rosner (HCDE), Audrey Desjardins Design), Phillip Thurtle (CHID) and Sareeta Amrute (Anthropology), in an effort to engage in a critical dialogue with art and technology practices. The symposium featured the work of female and gender non-binary, African and Native-American artists, designers and scholars whose work engages with decolonization, indigenous traditions, gender politics, non-human agents, anthropology and ethics and was attended by a diverse group of both faculty and students from across artistic and scientific disciplines.
Giulia has been the recipient of STARTS PRIZE 2018, a prestigious art and science award for artistic exploration from Ars Electronica for her project Future Flora, an exploration into biohacking by creating a DIY kit to make a sanitary pad from bacteria of the wearer’s vagina to treat the candida infection.
She is currently working on her newest project, Alma, a wearable biosensor for monitoring vaginal discharge which she is developing with a team of scientists from Cambridge University.
Constanza on the other hand coming from a more craft-related background, she talked about her experimentation with handmade synthesizers and diy noise machines and her in dedication in collecting recycled materials and electronic components in order to create her work.
Her research into diy electronics and how to use the body as an interface for gestural and haptic control, led her to develop the wearable project Heroina, an interactive audiovisual dance performance which features an open hardware POV (Persistence of Vision) paper skirt, an audio mixer belt and some analog diy synths to produce sound.
Furthermore, Constanza talked about her current artistic project Khipu - a textile computer, inspired in Pre-hispanic technologies, specifically the Incan khipus and their relation with binary code, which she showcased more extensively during the Design Trouble symposium in her hands-on workshop Prehispanic computers and science fiction ecologies.