Eiko and Koma, My Parents


Eiko (left) and Koma (right), as featured in “My Parents”

This piece was created by their son, Shin Otake, serving as a documentary about his parents’ upbringing and forming of relationship in post-war Japan. That period was a time of political strife and disorder. A prime featured piece in the film was “Land”.

“Land” explored the interaction between the human body and nature by merging themselves into the environment through their washed and faded costume that mimicked sand. They depicted themselves as mountains in a desert.

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Eiko and Koma performing “Land”

Movement was very slow and careful, to create the illusion of stillness. They spread across the floor and slithered, all with gradual movements. In relation to the box, they were moving freely but at the same time it was very controlled in the space and slow, which shows the rootedness of a mountain.The “box” is very spacious and the lighting, this gives a sense of depth like the vast sky.

They even used sound to emphasise the piece. The sound of a drum was used to highlight some points, for example heartbeat of the mountain and the birth of a new mountain.

Motion Control

Liz Aggiss, the performer in Motion Control

Liz Aggiss, the performer in Motion Control

This piece explored the synergy between the camera and performer. It challenged how the relationship between the Motion Control camera and the dancer, camera and sound, camera and space can be pushed further.

The movement of dancer was very emotional and expressive. In the small “box”, a sense of entrapment seemed to be created with her movements that “filled” the box entirely. In the spacious white box, her movements from her upper body were big. Her big movements made the box seem smaller than it is, with her energy being projected widely. This contrasted with lower body, seemingly showing constrained movement due to the dress rooted to the ground.


Behind the scenes of “Motion Control”

Sound was very significant in this piece as well, the usage of foley was apparent. Electro-opera was used for dramatising the dance piece. Sound effects were linked very well with the movements to emphasise them, for example the sound of a CD scratch when the dancer moves her leg. Another example would be the sound of the red dress squeaking as she dances.

Riot is an alternative web browser created by Mark Napier during 1997, inspired by the cosmopolitan nature and melting pot of cultures in New York. It broke the rules of Internet software and deconstructed the websites, blending vastly different websites with each other, e.g. Playboy with whitehouse.gov, CNN.com with NPR.org. This opened up to new interesting interpretations and outcomes, due to the most unimagined combination of the vastly different websites together.

“When the mixtures of banner ads, government reports and personal declarations are taken as a jumbled whole, meaning falls apart. More becomes less.”,
– The San Francisco Gate, Glen Helfand, July 22, 1999

It was also a multi-user browser whereby people would see the websites they were surfing, being merged with others. Riot was exploring the fragility of personal boundaries. It also showed how information can be distributed in many possible situations.


Visually, Riot browser produced highly random yet stimulating aesthetic results due to the amalgamation of various websites. It captured the essence of glitch art very well, showing the element of controlled chance in the artwork via parameters set by the artist. It broke the conventions of Internet browsing as well, as explained above.

I describe the ‘glitch’ as (actual and/or simulated) break from an expected or conventional flow of information or meaning within (digital) communication systems that results in a perceived accident or error. – pg 9, Menkman, R. (2011) “Glitch Moment(um)

Telematic Dreaming was a telecommunication project, originally commissioned for summer exhibition by Finnish Ministry of Culture in Kajaani, and supported by Telecom Finland. This piece was first exhibited in 1992.

Telematic Dreaming is an ISDN installation. Two participants would share the same virtual bed via ISDN video conference technology, one being projected to the other’s bed through a live video. The two participants hence perform and interact with each other’s virtual bodies. An example of an interaction would be that, in a room, there would be a projection of Paul Sermon lying on the bed in the center of a dark space. The audience would naturally go closer to the bed, to get a clearer view. Paul Sermon, situated in another room, would be aware of their presence due to the conference system. He would gesture to them assuringly to come closer to the bed. There are also speakers underneath the pillows, enabling a live voice connection between the audience and Paul Sermon. An conversation between Paul Sermon and the audience can thus begin.

The installation questioned the physical presence and telepresence. Though they are separated by geographical locations, this piece allowed the users to exist beyond their own time/space and create an alarming sense of touch. Also, the use of speakers allowed intimate conversations to kickstart. A vivid interaction between Paul Sermon and the audience was thus created, giving an out-of-the-world experience to the participants.

When the movement moved through us in this way, based on openness and trust, the distinction between which bodies were real and which were virtual became irrelevant – pg 217, Virtual Bodies

Hence, Teelmatic Dreaming was an interesting piece that drew parallels between physical and virtual reality.

‘Intimacy White’ (2009) by Daan Roosegaarde, V2_Lab and Maartje Dijkstra. An example of smart textile


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


Example of a health sensing garment developed by Athos

Sensing garments monitor the movement of the muscles and posture of the body. Human movement is analysed with anatomic segments like electromagnetic sensors. However, conventional sensors in wearable sensing systems are often rigid and uncomfortable, obstructive due to the requirement of mechanical plug. Thus, newer systems like Upper Limb Kinesthetic Garment (ULKG) and the Sensing Glove are developed to improve these drawbacks.

Both utilise Conductive Elastomer (CE) sensors which is made by combining silicon rubber and graphite, then spread across an elastic fabric substrate (Lycra) that is capable of customising shape and dimension for sensors. Metallic wires can be avoided in which are uncomfortable and inconvenient.

For example, ULKG detects posture of the various components of the arm. With around 20 sensors spread across the shirt, information is obtained regarding the joints of the arm. This is beneficial for patients to perform rehabilitation in unmonitored environments, where the physician is not present. Error by the sensors are often almost negligible.

The main advantage gained with this new technology is enabling people to wear for longer periods without discomfort, less obtrusive devices in the garments and accurate performance via the trial tests.

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

Smart Textiles are created with the integration of textiles and electronics, with the electronics being interwoven with the fabric.

There are 3 different types of smart textiles and the materials used also differ between each group of smart textiles.

1. Passive smart textiles: purely sensory, only able to sense environment and the user

Makes use of fabric sensors, e.g. thermocouples for temperature sensing and electromyography (EMG) sensors for tracking muscle activity. Also makes use of actuators which reacts to a signal given by a central control unit. Both are crucial to development of passive smart textiles.


Example of Electromyography (EMG) sensor used to track muscle activity.

2. Active smart textiles: sense and react to environment

Combines both an actuator and sensing device. Requires power to function, in which could be generated through piezoelectric systems. Categorised into 2 active systems: input devices and display devices. Input devices might include shape-sensitive fabrics that is able to track manipulation to fabric like stretching, flexing. Display devices might include electroluminescent yarns that emit light for aesthetic visuals.


Electroluminescent yarn used in Algae Lyrae collection (2008) by Vega Zaishi Wan

3. Very smart textiles: sense, react and adapt behaviour according to differing situations

Smart materials are being integrated into fabric via varying technologies. Examples of technology include embroidery or knitting. Combination of various source materials results in wide array of possible textiles. Early attempts are made for the textile itself to be used for electronic function for higher comfort.

Smart Textiles are being further developed for various fields like medical and sport. Research is being done for sensors and interactive elements to be incorporated into the clothing.

Biomimicry is the a science that looks into nature’s designs, then replicates or draw inspiration from the designs to solve human’s problems. It is the evolution of fashion design and such adaptive clothing can be used to perform many different functions, as explored by many fashion designers today.

Biomimicry wearables in high fashion – Adrenaline Dress

CHROMAT SS16 Presented by MADE

Adrenaline Dress in New York Fashion Week

Chromat designer Becca McCharen and Intel engineer Karolina Cengija collaborated to create the “Adrenaline Dress”, which allowed them to push the grounds for wearable technology. The wings, powered by Intel, were inspired by the natural flight-or-fight instinct in animals. For example, some animals would automatically expand their silhouette when they sense a threat, in order to scare off predators.

Using a sensor in the waistband, the wearer’s breathing and adrenaline levels were tracked. When adrenaline level is high, the wings would expand greatly.


An Intel micro-controller used in the dress to allow it to read the wearer’s emotional state. The wings will spike up when it feels excitement from the user.

The project explored the possibilities of adaptive clothing that respond to one’s emotional state. Its focus was mainly on experimentation and expanding the use of such technology. Eventually, through such technology, designers hope to break new grounds regarding communication via fashion. Such technology could even be explored in wearable security.

Biomimicry wearables for practical uses 


Paramo’s waterproof jackets make use of fabrics inspired by animal fur

Paramo’s waterproof jacket makes use of fabric technology, drawing inspiration from animal fur. It makes use to woven microfibre to deflect wind and rain, yet keep body warm.

The Nikwax Analogy Pump Liner mimics the action of animal fur – pushing liquid water outwards to protect you from rain, condensation and perspiration, while protecting your insulation. – Paramo Clothing

Biomimicry is a new field that still has much potential, and many possibilities for fashion to evolve and provide solutions in various issues.

“Pixel” is a mesmerising, extraordinary performance piece that creatively combines interactive technology together with dance choreography. Produced by performance artists Adrian Mondot and Claire Bardainne, it was jointly choreographed with Mourad Merzouki.

“The hour-long performance incorporates a host of digital projection mapping techniques, 11 dancers, and bills itself as “a work on illusion combining energy and poetry, fiction and technical achievement, hip hop and circus.” ” – Colossal

The performance mainly utilised projection mapping techniques onto the stage and backdrop. Adrian Mondot and Claire Bardainne used this custom built software, eMotion, that allowed them to produce virtual environments with realistic physics. They also combined it with QLab and Vezer, technology shared via open source. eMotion is now shared through open source technology, so that more artists can make use of such a software to improve their works as well.

In addition, wearable technology was used in the form of data sensors whereby the dancers’ motions are captured and the space reacts with it. Everything was hence spontaneous and in real-time, with none of the projections pre-recorded but rather stimulated by the dancers’ movements. Lighting of the costume also played a huge role in allowing the illusion to happen:

In order for the dance to exist with the image without being overpowered by it, the dancer must be brilliantly lit.

And conversely, for the illusion to work, the tulle must only be lit by the video projections and the global lighting level must remain as low as possible so as not to affect the transparency of the material.

Our choice is therefore to only light the essential, the dancer’s body, thanks to an automatic tracking system (based on a capture) and in this way minimising any glare.” – Deduce Blog


The virtual world brought to life with projection and the dancers react to them e.g. doing spins inside the projected circles.



A close-up visual of the virtual circles.



Blending of the digital environment and real space – a dancer shields himself from the pixelated rain with an umbrella.


This piece is an amazing example to show how differentiation between real and virtual worlds are blurred tremendously with the creation of digital environments. This provides an out-of-the-world experience for audiences. A seamless combination of art and technology, it pushes boundaries of a dance choreography.