When you combine two artists with an interest in fiber art, you are bound to get an interesting project. That is definitely the case for Erin Kirchner and Suldano Abdiruhman, students at MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art). Their Soundsuit explores relationship, space and sound through woven pieces attached to original vests.
The woven area includes acrylic and conductive yarn, so most likely the piece is acting as a large sensor with changing resistance as the piece is stretched. Thanks to an Arduino and MIDIPRO, the artists are able to create an intriguing music atmosphere with found sound. The garments are dyed with indigo, which is no surprise, as both artists have a passion for natural pigments.
Although this wearable appears as art, it is interesting to imagine a practical use. My first thought was as a parent/child harness system. Not only does it make sure the child doesn’t wander far, but it also allows for play, which is better than the current devices on the market. Another idea is to use the device with caregivers and patients with speech issues. In fact, it could be helpful to code simple yes/no audio responses so it would be therapeutic as well as a creative form of communication. Conductive yarn is at the root of this project, so if you want to learn more about this nifty material, check out our learning guide on conductive thread. Try working with it in a simple stitched circuit and then move onto something involving knitting. It’s the softer side of electric.
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