Wearable Technology Art: mobility, communication, and the body as interface
Workshops - Soft Circuits: an introduction to Wearable Technology and Handcrafting textile sensors from scratch

Forum at AIA - Artes, Ideias, Academia
December 13-14, 2009
Lisbon, Portugal

I organized Forum/Session 5 at AIA. It offered two workshops and a public presentation.
Invited artists: Hannah Perner-Wislon and Mika Satomi, KOBAKANT.

Presentation: Wearable Technology Art: mobility, communication, and the body as interface
Teresa Almeida, Hannah Perner-Wilson, Mika Satomi
How does embedding technology into everyday fashion affects and effects our and
others' perceptions and interactions? And how can we make use of innovative materials
and technologies to experiment, create or address everyday situations? Wearable
Technology is a rapidly expanding field of research and application, comprehending
a wide range of conceptual designs and commercial artefacts, and it engages artists,
designers, scientists and engineers in its practice.

Workshop: Soft Circuits: an introduction to Wearable Technology
Teresa Almeida
The workshop will cover topics such as wearable and fashionable technology, soft circuitry,
conductive materials, and basic electronics. Materials and techniques for designing a soft
circuit will be introduced, and participants will be provided with hands-on experience by
later implementing it on a garment. Participants should bring a piece of clothing or
accessory (a scarf, a t-shirt, a handbag,...) that they would like to modify by having
an electronic interface into it. This electronic interface is a soft circuit that will
consist of conductive fabric, thread, and one to three LED lights.

Workshop: Handcrafting textile sensors from scratch
Hannah Perner-Wilson
Focusing on available low-cost materials and tools to explore tactile qualities of textiles
in wearable interaction scenarios, this workshop introduces a range of different methods for
handcrafting and customizing textile sensors and circuitry. Participants will learn previously
developed techniques and are encouraged to explore new combinations, designing solutions that
will yield interesting sensor results. The goal is to get hands-on working experience with
these materials and to engross in experimentation.
Sensors that will be introduced in the workshop include pressure and bend sensors constructed
by layering conductive and pressure sensitive materials, knitted stretch sensors that can also
detect pressure, crocheted tilt potentiometers, embroidered and fused tilt sensors and stitched
stroke sensors.

ABOUT AIA - Artes, Ideias, Academia
The project aims to explore the contemporary interplay between arts, sciences and technology,
in its multiple disciplinary relationships, and meet the needs of networking among emergent
researchers and artists, with encouragement of international collaboration. Experts will share
their ideas with a broader interested community in the privileged location of the Portuguese
Club of Arts and Ideas (CPAI), in Lisbon's downtown (Largo Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, Chiado).

The project's main objectives:
- to stimulate cooperation between researchers and creators from diverse artistic backgrounds.
- to present emerging research perspectives on tenable relationships between arts, sciences
and technology.
- to discuss the ways conference in which fields of art and knowledge are gravitating towards
each other and changing changing the definitions, methodologies and practices they use, as
well as raising new social implications.
- to provide public visibility to emerging artists with scientific research interests,
contributing to their training and knowledge-sharing process;
- to encourage the development of research projects in artistic studies;

The project comprises two event formats:
1) round-tables with renowned artists and / or scholars, from different backgrounds,
national or international, who may converge in a discussion theme overlapping their
areas of interest in regard to contemporary arts and their intersections with science
and technology (bi-monthly, first Monday of the month)
2) forums coordinated by art researchers and practitioners who'll present their works
and research interests in sessions planned by them (symposiums, workshops, performances,
generally with invited speakers), favoring interactivity and engagement of the audience.

More info, video and audio links here