Typographic Portrait (Final)

Sem 2 AKA Return of the TRA$Hbin

My final series may be the most confusing thing cause a sudden change in ideas resulted in me dropping quite a few supposed “finals” and creating new “finals” on the spot. Anyway, I guess its for the better that I dropped the prostitute series since it fits better with the next assignment (hell, it’s actually made for the next assignment!). So the concept I had for this series ended up being about a typographic portrait series of how I felt now (aka while doing the project) and I wanted it to be really raw looking and spontaneous so the set-up looked like I just hanged them up like I was hanging laundry (complete with raffia string and metal hooks) but for added trashiness, over a the garbage bin! Okay, on a more serious note, it was for added context too since I wanted it to look like it could belong anywhere you find on the streets like even when you take out trash you will see it. I like direct expression so I admit it was cheap, no frills, no fakery, and it was done quickly. At the same time, I want it to look like anyone can do it (find a random piece of cardboard or rough paper lying around and just write out what they feel) but its a matter of whether you choose to or not so its sort of like encouraging people to express themselves directly too?? I knew that corner had bad lighting since the light there died but I guess it was even better, it’s not gonna be glamorous so nahhh I don’t need the lighting. I just felt since I was expressing how I honestly felt in that short moment, the set-up had to reflect that too.


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Research Critique: Sensing Garments & Smart Textiles

Wearable Kinesthetic Systems, Alessandro Tognetti, Federico Lorussi, Mario Tesconi, Raphael Bartalesi, Giuseppe Zupone, Danilo De Rossi (2005)

Fig 1. Series of sensors found on thin track of sensing gloves

This article focuses on the development of wearable kinesthetic systems to monitor body kinematics with specific focus on two wearables: The upper limb kinesthetic garment (ULKG) and the sensing glove. The new developments seek to tackle disadvantages in existing technologies that make use of robotics or mechatronics machines to analyse human movement. Their invasiveness, complexness and safety risks along with the undesirable weight and rigid fabric of current wearable sensing systems form the need for the two wearables mentioned above. The ULKG detects the posture of wrist, elbow and shoulder and is planned to be used on post-stroke rehabilitation.

Both the ULKG and sensing glove make use of wearable conductive elastomer (CE) sensors which is made up of a silicon rubber and graphite mixture (Refer to Fig 1.). Using Lycra as the elastic fabric substrate, an adhesive mask can be used to rub the CE over the Lycra according to the shape and preferred dimensions, allowing the sensors to focus on specific joints. (Refer to the above video to understand what CE sensors are and their possible functions) 

Fig 2. A prototype recognizing upper body postures using strain sensors (a). In (b), the exact positioning of the sensors is shown.

In addition, a software package named Kinematic Sensor System (KSS) has been developed to provide a detailed graphical representation of postures recognised based on values determined by their location on the body (Refer to Fig 2.). Such a technology allows for the representation of each kind of movement possible.

Wearable Electronics and Smart Textiles: A Critical Review, Matteo Stoppa and Alessandro Chiolerio (2014)

This review focuses on different techniques and materials used to create smart textiles with the vision of making them into wearables that are integral to our everyday outfits. This involves a two-step process where smart materials are studied first before considering how they can be processed into a textile material. Smart textiles are divided into three sub-groups:

  • Passive smart textiles: only able to sense the environment, based on sensors
  • Active smart textiles: reactive sensing to stimuli from the environment, integrating an actuator function and a sensing device
  • Very Smart textiles: able to sense, react and adapt their behavior to the given circumstances

It is important to consider the functions of these different textiles as the review further discusses in detail the strengths and limitations of each technique and material such that they are best used for specific functions under certain conditions only.

Thin thermoplastic polyurethane films printed with DuPont Microcircuit Materials’ stretchable conductive inks

For example, in terms of electro-textiles, the conductive fabrics (Read more) can be used in elaborated electrical circuits and be structured to have multiple layers to accommodate electronic devices but the integration of it is seldom a uniform process. On the other hand, conductive inks (Read more) utilise inkjets which are flexible and require low effort. However, they are best suited for low viscosity materials as clogging will likely to occur with high viscosity materials.

Stretch sensors from New Zealand firm Stretchsense

Screen printed electrochemical sensors on underwear

In terms of sensors, stretch sensors are able to be in contact with skin over a large body area but may be considered invasive to the user. In contrast, using electrochemical sensors (Read more) are better for non-invasive monitoring but cannot be easily attached to the skin. The review goes on to discuss how most of the requirements to make better smart textiles are often inconsistent with each other such as how fine fibers and fabrics of low weight are inadequate for reasonable electrical conductivity. Still, hopeful examples are provided such as the hybrid fabric PETEX and the MIT CAD Embroidery technique. Both are able to minimise drawbacks allowing for textiles better suited for long term wearing and user friendly which are critical factors in fulfilling their final determinant of user acceptance.




Artist research: Craig Atkinson

So as previously mentioned, I went to the library to read up on a few graphic design books 2 weeks ago and I chanced upon one called Cut & Paste: 21st Century Collage by Richard Brereton and Caroline Roberts.

One artist from the book stood out to me in particular and that was Craig Atkinson.


Cut & Paste: 21st Century Collage (Retrieved from: http://www.amazon.com/Cut-Paste-21st-Century-Richard-Brereton/dp/1856697177 on 1 February 2016)

Similar to Concannon’s work, I love the raw and immediate effect of Atkinson’s collages. The slightest details such as the tearing, crumpled marks and almost kiddy-ish lines are really appealing especially when juxtaposed against a background of a photograph or a found object. It contains a sense of fun, the kind when you doodle on a newspaper or your air ticket. It feels very honest and spontaneity parallels those of old school tart cards (they were usually handmade to save cost) and concert flyers. I intend to carry this spontaneity into the tart cards I will be making rather than make it a clean cut typographic tart card like those in the London 2009 competition as I believe while I am constructing a narrative using typography, I should not forget the subject I am working with and the overall look should reflect the background of a prostitute at the end. Then again, I may choose not to have this look for all as some prostitutes do come from well-off families so a more formal look may suit those cards better. (okay I feel like I’m just rambling here…it’s late I should sleep…)

I intend to work with materials that can be found with prostitutes or are easily associated to them and their backstories.

I understand this isn’t a very complete research so I will update this post further when time permits.

Research into Tart Cards

It appears that there is a proper name for cards advertising prostitutes and in the UK, the term would be tart cards. (Before that I was just googling “photo cards” “name cards”…amateur pfft wished I had researched a bit more into this hours ago) Tart cards were often found in London’s telephone booths in the past and now with the internet and they are less used and instead regarded as a kind of accidental art with a cult following. While reading the article on tart cards in Tel Aviv, I came across this tart card design competition held in London in 2009. This is really a great reference point on how to incorporate typography and suggestiveness into the tart cards I will be creating for this project. However, I will need to work on how to add an additional meaning to the tart cards beyond the suggestiveness to construct a more wholesome narrative going beyond their sexual profession. I will most likely be going for something similar to James Concannon’s image + text style and Craig Atkinson’s cut-and-paste spontaneous stye so the final product is not pure clean typography but a combination of messy collage and typography.

A tart card competition at the St. Bride Library in London in 2009. They explain: We would like you to design a tart card either for a typeface or a letter of the alphabet. If you are unfamiliar with these things, tart cards are the means by which London prostitutes advertise their services. Step in to any Central London call box and you can contemplate up to eighty cards inviting you to be tied, teased, spanked or massaged either in luxury apartments, fully-equipped chambers or the privacy of your own hotel room. So pervasive are these things, and so curious is their typography, images and copy writing they are now regarded as bona fide items of accidental art and have something of a cult following. Once on the periphery of design, the cards have influenced the work of many mainstream artists including Royal Academician Tom Philips and Sex Pistols designers, Ray and Nils Stevenson. Perhaps they can inspire you too?  (Retrieved from http://luc.devroye.org/fonts-50682.html on 1 Februrary 2016)

Old school tart cards have also been linked to the punk aesthetic which just makes me more excited to work on this project.

& it would be great if I could get my hands on this book…