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.