Philip Beesley et Diane Willow
Philip Beesley and Diane Willow are again joining forces after helping produce an "interactive geotextile" during the symposium The Digital and the Hand held at the Haystack Mountain School for the Crafts in 2002 (Deer Isle, Maine, United State). Their new project, Reflexive Membranes, will spawn an enormous hybrid fabric. The fabric will be made up of elements structured according to recursive geometry to ensure its cohesion and will be equipped with sensors controlled by actuators. The project will draw on both Beesley's knowledge of architectural textiles (honed at the University of Waterloo's Integrated Centre for Visualization, Design and Manufacturing) and on the expertise of Willow, who specializes in integrating flexible miniature computer components (microprocessors, sensors, actuators) at the MIT Media Lab.
Sylvie Parent © 2003 FDL
Reflexive Membranes will be used within immersive installations in which visitors will encounter textiles that they can touch and that touch back. These textiles will transform over time. They will appropriate the materials that come into contact with them, integrate and "digest" these materials, and adopt a new appearance. In this sense, these "reflexive membranes" will evoke living creatures. The project stems from a reflection on what's called the "hand," in other words, such tactile qualities as softness or hardness. The work aims to confirm and expand the notion that textiles can themselves react in a more concrete and perceptible manner.
Central to this reflection is the desire to harmonize the artificial world and natural processes and to expose the similarities of the act of creation in man and nature. The project seeks to provoke intense emotional and psychological responses in visitors so that they question the boundaries between nature and artifice and examine their own organic condition as they interact with technology.