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Katharina Vones

Technological Microcosms – Considering Materiality, Aesthetic Coherence and Collaborative Practice in the Creation of Wearable Futures

Katharina Vones 

Affiliation: Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art and Design, University of Dundee

Conference Activity: Presentation Thurs 10th July, Workshop Fri 11th July, Pop Up Exhibition, Trelissick House

Keywords: Smart Materials, Wearable Futures, Collaborative Practice

Project summary:

With the increased availability of digital tools to the contemporary craft practitioner providing an almost limitless potential for creation, the questions posed regarding the development of a coherent aesthetic language that combines both the handmade and the digitally crafted, have become progressively more pressing in the applied arts. To use these elements in such a way that they can be merged into an aesthetically articulate object combined with traditional craftsmanship is a challenge my research investigates. Visual and functional considerations are addressed together, thus developing material and technological solutions that constitute a cohesive part of the jewellery object. Exploring a holistic approach whereby material experimentation and digital production processes are used to facilitate the development of aesthetically integrated and humanised wearable technologies that supersede ideas of mere gadgetry is a focus of my practice.

Through examining the notion that human biology is a part of material culture, my presentation investigates how recent developments in material science and wearable technologies can be viewed as contiguous rather than oppositional to the organic processes of the human body, bridging the gap between the craft practitioner and scientific discovery. The increasing availability of stimulus-reactive smart materials, in addition to the progressive miniaturisation of electromechanical components, has enabled the development of jewellery objects that are responsive to their environment, yet depend closely on an interaction with the physiology of the wearer’s body to stimulate these responses. Combining digital production processes with more traditional forms of craftsmanship, I use silicone in conjunction with thermochromic and liquid crystal pigments to create objects that respond intimately to changes in the body of the wearer and the environment. Included in the exhibition are sculptural jewellery objects inspired by microscopic organisms and the complex geometric structures of fungi, each reflecting a different stage of my research and practice to date.

A question that arises from your project: How can the development of material enchantment and technological beauty contribute to the future of digital craft?

Full paper

Vones, K. (2014). Towards the Posthuman: Materiality and process in the creation of stimulus-responsive jewellery objects. In K. Bunnell & J. Marshall (Eds.), All Makers Now: Craft Values in 21st Century Production, International Conference Proceedings, Autonomatic Research Group, Falmouth University, 10/11 July 2014 (pp. 179 – 186). Falmouth University, ISBN 978-0-9544187-9-3