Research Critique: Costume and Textile

Utam Moses (choreographer) and Eric Lindsay’s (composer)”The Space Between Us” is a collaborative electronic music and modern dance piece for computationally enhanced dancers and MAX/MSP, a programming language for interactive music and multimedia.

the space between us
The dancers’ costumes are augmented a wearable microcomputer (LilyPad Arduino), a wireless transmitter, and various sensors.

The costumes are embedded with LilyPad Arduino technology. One of the dancers’ (with the round skirt) costume combines LilyPad components and an XBee (wireless transmitter) together with pressure and flex sensors connected by conductive thread, which detects and transmits the movements of the dancer to the composer’s laptop, which are then used to generate and control sound within a MAX/MSP environment.

Lilypad Arduino Board


“The e-textiles facilitate interactivity between dancers’ movements and the music that accompanies their dancing, transforming the power dynamic between composer and choreographer by putting the power of live musical improvisation in the hands (body) of dancers. This relationship extends an unprecedented power to dancers, who are most often constrained by the decisions made previously by a composer.”                                                                                            – Eric Lindsay

For the costumes to achieve functionalities and expressive capabilities, sensors are to track the most communicative motions of the dancers, the music controls had to be sensitive to the gestures onstage but conspicuous enough so as to ensure the audience knew what movements elicited which kinds of sounds, and the costumes had to withstand duress from stretching, heat, and perspiration.

Instead of a dancer’s movements being a slave to the fixed constraints of a pre-composed piece of music, the wireless dance costume puts the power of live musical composition in the hands (body) of the dancer, who can explore and improvise new shapes and structures within an otherwise free musical environment.

This project uses Arduino kit which is an open source technology. It is important as all Arduino boards are completely open-source, empowering users to build them independently and eventually adapt them to their particular needs. The software too, is open-source, and it is growing through the contributions of users worldwide. A worldwide community of makers – students, hobbyists, artists, programmers, and professionals – has gathered around this open-source platform, their contributions have added up to an incredible amount of accessible knowledge that can be of great help to novices and experts alike.


Research Critique – Biometrics

Dana Haim is a textile designer living in London. She finished her MA in Design for Textile Futures at Central Saint Martins. I found one of her biomimicry projects during MA Textiles Futures course particularly intriguing. It’s called the braided beaded ball suit.

Vimeo caption: ‘The braided beaded balls suit’ eventually becomes a paradox of adornment, seduction, and fashion. In a way it mimics nature, whilst being an artificial counter strike to its natural descent.

This video was made in collaboration between Dana Haim and Learke Hooge Andersen. It was part of a biomimicry project where they were very much inspired by the glowing creatures of the deep sea as well as weird formations in the human body to inform new approaches in design. They created a kind of hybrid of the two using this costume that they made specifically for this video.

Dana (Left) with her Danish buddy Learke (Right)

They also used several kinds of recycled materials to create the costume such as left over tights, ribbons, and beads. The dancer in the video is Supitchanga Vanasirikul.

” I am inspired by: The beauty of a forgotten old wall layered by the patina of time, remnants of posters, flyers and staples, cracks running down it and rust dripping through the cement. Multi colour neon graffiti dancing between the layers of paint, paper and dirt. Colourful dreamscapes. Wild animals and all the patterns and textures found in nature for instance the beauty of wood grain or the many facets of mineral stones. ”                                                                                                                            – Dana Haim

What is special about this project is its emulation of the beautiful symmetry in nature. For centuries, symmetry has remained a subject that’s fascinated philosophers, astronomers, mathematicians, artists, architects, and physicists. No one’s sure why it’s such an ever-present property, but it’s definitely one of the greatest gifts from nature.

Examples of symmetry in nature





Micro-project: Video Double

Walking in the middle of the night, my alter ego feels most energetic at this time of the day. It is absurd. While nobody but a bunch of crazy dancers hang out on the road where no cars speed. People call it YOLO. I call it dancer’s life to the power of uni life. I feel physically tired actually. I am looking at the glittering light of a street lamp, like trying to grasp the meaning behind it while people are laughing in the background.