Niema Qureshi is an artist translating memory, space and time into whatever medium she touches. I happened upon her London at Night textile piece, which is so simple yet intriguing. Most artists incorporating tech into their work go out of their way to choose modern materials which often feel uncomfortable to the skin—vinyl, poly, PLA. Here I see soft billowing fabric that appears to be cotton or a silk blend with stitching that falls somewhere between ’70’s folk or my grandmother’s cross-stitch. It speaks of carefree travel and good times. Even the map has a soft appearance, as if it was digitally printed onto an iron-on transfer with muted edges suggesting a fuzzy memory. The LED sequins are beautifully hidden and look as though they are reflecting downward onto another layer of fabric, which could be a lining or a simple camisole. Their diffused appearance makes me think of neon lights in the rain and suggest the ups and downs of jazz music with their slower programmed blink. Of course, had they been blinking faster, maybe I would have placed the scene in an underground club. What do you feel?
Niema also spends a lot of time teaching, and I can see this as a great STEM project. It combines textiles, graphics, electronics and embroidery to create a byte of history. What moment would you want to preserve? How will you use fabric and style to convey the spirit? What color LED sequins would you use to represent the moment? I’ll leave you with our learning guide on LED sequins so you can see what it takes to get started on your own wearable art with a microcontroller. Have fun exploring what memory, space and time mean to you.
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