14:40 – 15:00
Sophie Skach, Designer and Researcher, Queen Mary University of London, Media and Arts Technology Programme
„Fabrics, a smart interface to our world?“ (EN)
Textiles act as an intersection between the body and the environment. Clothing is often described as an extension of our self, as a form of communication. With the evolvement of electronic textiles, the role of this so familiar material can be redefined and discussed as an interface not only to the analog, but also to the digital world. If our clothes have now become active tools to collect data, contribute to a “quantified self” and replace conventional, rigid materials, that has consequences for research as well as industry, and requires changes in design and manufacturing approaches. Traditional craftsmanship and multimedia technologies are being linked and have to answer questions as to how this new domain sits in our society, how it can benefit us, and what new challenges it brings to designers, scientists and interdisciplinary practitioners.
Working at the intersection of electronic textiles, fashion and social science, Sophie Skach is active both in academia as well as in arts and design. Her current focus as part of her doctoral degree in a Cognitive Science research group, is exploring textile sensing to capture social behaviour, for example trousers detecting postures, or jumpers reacting to human touch. With a background in fashion design, Sophie has showcased her work on catwalks and in galleries around the world, having won numerous awards and worked with international brands, such as Swarovski. Her specialisation lies in knitwear technology, menswear design, and in smart clothing. Most recently, Sophie has presented these interdisciplinary works in New York (2019, 2018), Stockholm (2018), around the United Kingdom and also at last year’s Ars Electronica. Sophie Skach was born in Vienna, is based in London, and has temporarily lived in Innsbruck and Copenhagen.