SCiFI-LONDON 48hr film challenge

The 48 hour film challenge happens a few weeks before the Sci-Fi London film festival and is exactly what it says on the tin: A film made in 48 sleepless hours, on a weekend in April. On Saturday at noon, representatives from your team turn up at Sci-Fi London HQ and randomly select the required elements of the film: the title, a prop/action, a line of dialogue and an optional science theme. You then have until 1pm Monday to write, prep, shoot, edit, VFX, score, render and upload. It's mad good fun. I thoroughly recommend it.

This year our required elements were:
Title: TWENTY TO ONE
Prop/action: a character rips a page from a book
Line of dialogue: Nothing's impossible, that's what you always taught me

The story and characters were locked about 10:30pm on Saturday, which didn't give me much time to speak to the director and start sorting out costumes before the actors went to bed. The cyborg outfit Alexa is wearing is not just a costume, it's actually V.1 of a wearabletech etextile platform I am designing for rapid prototyping. You can see more about Second Skin and how it is made in the projects section of this site.

Every year a slightly different group of us makes up the team. Linchpins Tom Worth and Al Monty are there every year herding the cats, some people come and go. Tom sends an email around and everyone shows up if they are available. Directors rotate; this year it was the turn of our resident VFX genius Ken Turner. I've now worked on 5 films and Bex has been there for the ones I missed. Occasionally we even manage to be there at the same time! Sometimes I'm just costume, other years I've covered costume, makeup and art department. This year Bex got a credit for exhaustion control as she was being driven completely mad by a Batcape and consequently slept through the shoot, but was there in spirit! Last year I 'consulted' from SF (mainly complaining about my geographical issues and giving permission to raid my archive) and was credited thus.  I just noticed there's a yearly credit for 'Oakiness', which goes to the most rock-like person on set who gets everyone through. This year it went to Baxter the dog, who was very patient with us invading his house for our location.
Why do we do this? Because film people are stress junkies and workoholics and erm.. everyone needs a hobby..? It is one of my favourite yearly creative binges, second only to etextile summercamp. Basically it's an excuse to spend quality time with our brilliant inspiring gang who don't get to hang out often enough, make an art and to try and get our film in the top ten. As far as I'm concerned we win if we get spot in the top ten. This means the film will be shown on the big screen at the Sci-Fi London film festival on the 2nd May. So we get to celebrate by drinking and shouting at our creation.. #goals

Our 2014 entry Back Issue (below) came second place and went on to win the 'Science and The Imagination' prize at Danny Boyle's Shuffle film festival in East London. I love this one.

For more films by our gang, go here: https://vimeo.com/album/3892819
To see more 2018 entries, check out the hashtag #SFL48HR on twitter. And here is a Vimeo group someone is compiling: https://vimeo.com/groups/48hourfilmchallenge2018

See you next year?

How To Get What You Want: KOBA etextiles tailorshop

Hannah Perner-Wilson and Mika Satomi are best known for their epic explorations in DIY etextiles and documentation on www.kobakant.at. Anyone working with etextiles will be familiar with the incredible resource How To Get What You Want.

Their latest project KOBA takes this work one step further and offers an open studio and shop front allowing the public to walk in and commission whatever wearable electronic garment they can dream up! If you are in Berlin, I recommend you pay them a visit.

I started 2018 in style, spending an inspiring week in the KOBA Schneiderei in Kreuzberg. Working alongside Hannah and Mika I drafted the block for my unisex modular jumpsuit collection (more on that later) as well as giving a talk about 'how do we know what we want? making fantasies come true' at their first #Shoptalk event. We collaborated on a prototype jumpsuit (for ..me!) and you can follow the design and evolving documentation here. In the belt are vibration motors which tell me north when activated - by jumping, of course. It also wakes me up by 'purring' if I have been stationary for too long. Watch the video below or check out their blog post to learn more.

You can follow the evolution of the tailorshop and ongoing documentation on the KOBA website. If you want to be inspired and lose yourself in a web of inspiration, I encourage you to follow the multitude of links in this post and explore their work. You won't regret it.

I will be going back to KOBA in March (after we have recovered from fashion week) with my partner in crime Bex to see what wonders have been dreamt up since this visit.. and to make custom jumpsuits for Hannah and Mika.

Anyone familiar with my clothing obsessions will know: jumpsuits are the way of the future. This allusory jumpsuit pattern (and the whole collection) will be open sourced and uploaded as soon as we have: made the different style samples, rubbed our beards thoughtfully, hated them, decided we love them, shot them beautifully, presented them officially and finally, refined the patterns and uploaded the content. No biggie. You can have the patterns for free and will also be able to order them from us. The future will be sexy and utilitarian and have options. We have one month to complete this mission. Watch this space.

a workshop at ACM TEI 2018 - Designing eTextiles for the Body: Shape, Volume & Motion

Call for Participation

Our clothing is not flat, but rather conforms and adapts to our bodies. In this hands-on workshop, participants will experiment and create 3D eTextile garments, while discussing the rich history, current state and possible future directions of wearables.

Through garment construction and rapid prototyping, we will explore how to integrate eTextiles into volumetric, tailored garments that better conform to the shape of the human body, and better respond to its movements. We will show examples of connectors and sensors, and discuss the affordances and limitations of various textiles.

A short masterclass will introduce a range of techniques for garment design and construction, ensuring the workshop is suitable for all skill levels. We will include a brief history of wearables and eTextiles, and an overview of recent innovations within HCI and fashion. We encourage people to bring existing projects and ideas, as well as their own materials and preferred microcontrollers.

See the full call: https://3dtextiles.github.io

On TEI website: https://tei.acm.org/2018/cp-studios/#S2


Call for Position Statements

The studio is open for anyone to join, but we have a limited number of possible participants. We encourage everyone interested in participating to briefly outline their experience with textiles, their research interests and how this workshop will connect to their own research. This will help us to tailor the workshop to the participants and ensure diversity in participant backgrounds.

Please send us an e-mail at 3dtextiles@googlegroups.com

 

The Embodisuit on tour: November at SIGGRAPH Asia

embodisuit_SIGGRAPH_GIF.gif

The Embodisuit is currently travelling the world with Sophia Brueckner, inspiring conversation about our relationship with screens, data and aesthetics in the emerging field of wearables.

It has recently been displayed at Technarte in Los Angeles, HASTAC 2017: The Possible Worlds of Digital Humanities in Florida, The IoT 2017 conference at the ARS Electronica centre in Linz, and is now on display at SIGGRAPH Asia in Bangkok. 

Follow the hashtag #embodisuit on Twitter, Instagram and facebook to find out where it will be travelling next, and stay tuned for new textile interpretations and modular workshops

mi.mu gloves are awarded WEARsustain funding for design development

Mi.mu gloves are awarded WEARsustain European funding for design and manufacture development. Lead by Rachel Freire, the textile development project will run from August 2017 to February 2018, developing the mi.mu gloves textiles and hardware and creating a sustainable process for manufacture.

This exciting grant means we can pursue things close to our hearts, such as sustainable use of materials, ethical business practice and also begin our journey to make a fully supported DIY glove!

Congratulations to eTextile Summercamp alumni NEFFA, Solemaker.io and Kobakant who also received funding. The future will be sustainable!

PIER 9 artist in residence

From February to June 2017 I was an Artist in Residence for the spring cohort at Autodesk's Pier 9 workshop in San Francisco. A diverse group of 23 artists were given 24/7 access to the incredible facilities and facilitators at Pier 9 and the opportunity to work within a vibrant community of artists and makers. Safe to say it was amazing.

My goal was to expand on my work in eTextiles, using this amazing opportunity to experiment, learn and just make art for 4 whole months. I wanted to learn circuit design and Eagle, to mill my own boards, to become proficient in 3D printing, test biodegradable and conductive filaments and temper my hatred of plastic to allow me to explore printing fabric and connectors.. to better understand 3D modelling and scanning, to experiment with the conductive stretch textiles I have been using and find their limits. And of course to prototype DIY eTextile data gloves which could be made with minimal sewing skills. I did all these things and more! I even squeezed in a visit to TEI2017 in Japan to present second skin. Though I didn't learn to use the water jet. But you can't have it all..

I also wanted to focus on the process of documentation for future open-source work. Efficiently documenting and clearly communicating both design and process is a skill in itself (I am inspired by the best) and often neglected in favour of flashy magical publicity images. I'm certainly guilty of this. The residency was my opportunity to spend the time making it a fluid part of my practice. One of the outcomes asked of residents is to make Instructables. This is also one of the reasons I applied. Now I need to make sure I continue this practice with all my work.

You can see my instructables here: http://www.instructables.com/member/rachelfreire/
Work in progress images of my projects can now be found on Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/rachelfreirestudio/albums

I used my time at the Pier as an opportunity to collaborate with the inspiring artists and engineers in my cohort. A snapshot of projects are below:
 

The Embodisuit in collaboration with Sophia Brueckner [instructables: sensor // code // connectors]

 

DIY data gloves in collaboration with Artyom Maxim [video: controlling a Kuka robot with a DIY data glove]

 

Algorithmically articulated leather in collaboration with Pushan Panda:

stretch circuit eTextiles

Second Skin is a project inspired by the bonding research I am doing for mi.mu gloves. This takes the idea one step further, leading to experiments with stretch sensors instead of bend sensors (for the gloves) and exploring bonded stretch circuits using eTextiles and sports/dancewear fabrics. Using bonding processes usually seen in sportswear and lingerie, I have been applying this idea to stretch conductive textiles layered (and isolated) in sheer stretch materials.

Tutorial here, with a list of materials used:
https://www.instructables.com/id/Stretch-Circuit/

The aim is to create an entire garment with interchangeable panels. Using this technique, low profile stretch panels can be used in places where wires would usually be a problem. With the right connectors, a garment like this could be used as a rapid prototyping shell to test circuit configurations on the body.

Thank you to Adafruit for featuring it on #wearablewednesdays:
https://blog.adafruit.com/2016/08/31/how-to-make-a-practical-stretch-circuit-for-your-wearable-tech-wearablewednesday-wearabletech-rachelfreire/

mi.mu gloves in Barcelona at Sonar+D

Last week team mi.mu gloves visited Barcelona to present the gloves at Sonar+D. Chagall performed a full live set of her Stray Flux EP using only her gloves to manipulate her voice and sound and to trigger and loop samples and effects. Everything you hear is performed live. You can watch the recording of the livestream here at La Vanguardia's facebook page

Mi.mu gloves are a wireless wearable technology which allow you to create, manipulate, record and play music using only your hands, changing the dynamic of electronic music from a physically introverted interaction with a computer to one which is more dynamically and expressively connected to the audience. It restores traditional elements of performance to modern electronica, fusing the future of music with essential elements that have made live performance a physically and emotionally engaged art form throughout history. Using a small portable router connected to a laptop running our Glover software and any program which reads MIDI or OSC, you can map any sound to any gesture or posture and manipulate it in real time in a 3D space. Mi.mu stands for 'me'/'my'/'midi' and 'music'. Mi.mu gloves are a completely programmable wearable gestural interface which give the user almost unlimited possibilities as to how they can map their own 3D space to create music through gesture and movement. They are currently made and released in limited runs from our London HQ above Rachel Freire Studio and we are steadily building an international user base as we develop the technology, exploring and mapping this exciting language of gesture.

Chagall's performance also debuted her new interactive visuals, controlled by the gloves. The code was written by mi.mu's Glover author Adam Stark and art directed by the brilliant Eduardo Fitch. All Chagall's clothes for the live show and in the projections are by mi.mu textile designer Rachel Freire. The team had an amazing time sharing our work, both live at the venue and the 60k and counting viewers of the livestream video. Huge thanks to Sonar+D for brilliant documentation and tech support and a really great show. Learn more about mi.mu gloves here.

 L-R Rachel Freire, Adam Stark, Chagall Van Den Berg, Eduardo Fitch  From sold out popstar arena tours to TED talks at CERN, exploring their potential to make music more accessible to those with disabilities, encouraging hackers to break down barriers in modern technology and developing the gloves for market in an ethical, affordable and transparent way, mi.mu gloves are an infinitely fascinating project we want to share with as many people as possible. This summer we will be announcing a residency for those who want to get their hands in a pair of gloves and add to our growing community of users, makers and hackers.  Follow mi.mu gloves on social media    TWITTER    |    FACEBOOK    |    INSTAGRAM    |    YOUTUBE

L-R Rachel Freire, Adam Stark, Chagall Van Den Berg, Eduardo Fitch

From sold out popstar arena tours to TED talks at CERN, exploring their potential to make music more accessible to those with disabilities, encouraging hackers to break down barriers in modern technology and developing the gloves for market in an ethical, affordable and transparent way, mi.mu gloves are an infinitely fascinating project we want to share with as many people as possible. This summer we will be announcing a residency for those who want to get their hands in a pair of gloves and add to our growing community of users, makers and hackers.

Follow mi.mu gloves on social media   TWITTER   |   FACEBOOK   |   INSTAGRAM   |   YOUTUBE