Open Culture + Wearables


Session Title:

  • Open Culture + Wearables

Presentation Title:

  • Open Culture + Wearables




  • Chair Per­son: Valérie La­m­on­tagne
    Pre­sen­ters: Otto von Busch, Syuzi Pakhchyan, Melissa Cole­man, Piem Wirtz, Mika Satomi & Han­nah Perner-Wil­son

    This panel will in­ves­ti­gate the in­flu­ence and im­por­tance of open cul­ture on wear­ables pro­duc­tion, dis­sem­i­na­tion and tech­no­log­i­cal craft­ing. Unit­ing prac­ti­tion­ers in the field of wear­ables who have worked on and with on­line plat­forms, open work­shop events, pub­li­ca­tions, hack spaces, uni­ver­sity class­rooms and media labs to ad­vance the pro­lif­er­a­tion of the craft of wear­ables, the panel will pre­sent case stud­ies for the spe­cific in­te­gra­tion of open cul­ture in the pro­duc­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion of wear­ables. The im­por­tance of DIY, open plat­forms, col­lab­o­ra­tive de­sign prac­tices and hack­ing in the ad­vance­ment of com­pu­ta­tional cou­ture has been key in prop­a­gat­ing the prac­tice and re­search into main­stream media, aca­d­e­mic cur­ricu­lums, arts and new media fes­ti­vals and pub­li­ca­tions. The hy­brid prac­tice of wear­ables – com­bin­ing techno-sci­en­tific knowhow with the skill of cou­ture fab­ri­ca­tion – pre­sents ex­cit­ing chal­lenges to both unique fields, en­cour­ag­ing the cross-pol­li­na­tion of artis­tic and sci­en­tific do­mains. There are good ar­gu­ments as to why wear­ables are closely aligned with the grow­ing move­ment of open de­sign prac­tices.

    To being with, Jo­hanna Blak­ley has ar­gued that fash­ion is pred­i­cated on “free cul­ture”, i.e. that the his­tory of fash­ion points to bor­row­ing, remix­ing, and re-in­vent­ing known pat­terns and meth­ods. Other de­sign­ers, such as Otto von Busch in his book Fash­ion-able, have looked at hack­ing cul­ture as a way of cre­at­ing an en­try-point into the often closed com­mer­cial sys­tem of the world of fash­ion. Open de­sign con­cepts stem from two main im­pe­tuses – a) the de­sire to make things “open” and com­mer­cially free and b) the need for mul­ti­ple in­puts from many par­tic­i­pants to de­velop com­plex sys­tems (i.e. a soft­ware). It could be ar­gued that open de­sign will be­come a facet of all tech­no­log­i­cal pro­duc­tion and dis­sem­i­na­tion as the added value of mul­ti­ple par­tic­i­pants be­comes un­de­ni­able. Open Cul­ture + Wear­ables asks: How can open cul­ture be use­ful to the field of wear­ables?