Textilen and the Electric Ribbon by Jeannine Han & Dan Riley

A 2-year project involving the development of textile-­based modules and inter­faces for the con­trol and syn­the­sis of music during per­for­mance. A tex­tile in­stru­ment pro­vides a na­tur­al link be­tween action and sound, en­abl­ing al­ter­na­tive comp­o­si­tions and im­prov­isa­tions im­possible with tradi­tional in­stru­ments.

Below you will find videos and descriptions to the photos of the project. Click the icons to the right to view videos and images from the project.

copyright Jeannine Han 2010

text by Jeannine Han

Textilen is a project designed to draw the human senses to the world of micro and macro patterns in sound and color and to explore methods for correlating the two mediums. This goal is accomplished via a two-fold process. First of all, patterns in sound are explored through the use of textile materials by way of creating new instrument interfaces, synthesizer sources, and tones in music harmony. Textilen involves challenging the traditional perception of a textile garment as solely a vehicle for visual and tactile stimulus by incorporating auditory stimuli, which complements the patterns, colors and textures of the existing material. The visual language of the textile is reflected in the musical language created by the piece, acting as if the materials were sheets of music for an orchestration. This metaphor of an orchestration of textiles and sounds is realized in several layers of the project, however, it manifests itself primarily in the form of several characters, each with their own costume; functioning as a visual and audio communication device.

Secondly, the patterns of the textiles themselves are explored and incorporated into costumes and characters so an association between the emanating sounds and the visual stimulus presented by the characters, highlights the underlying patterns used in both mediums. The building blocks of these characters were cut from self reflections of transformation, transcendence, adventuress, curiosities, and what I inspire to be. The process was literally the making of a band, from instrument design to character designs consisting of four personas: Nomad, Dream Weaver, Creature, and Shepherd. The final presentation will be organized in the context of a ritualistic performance art piece in a controlled sound environment, this ritual is to be a catalyst in strengthening social bonds between the characters.

Top to bottom: Creature, Dream Weaver, Genderless Shepherd, and Nomad.

Photographer Henrik Bengtsson

Techniques used from top to bottom: digital print, jaquard knit, jaquard knit, silk screen print, and narrow weaving fabric

Electric Ribbon
2 years were spent researching textile and sound cooperations. The video below is an attempt at covering those two years in four minutes; from experiment to product.

Electric Ribbon
Developing flexible textiles that worked well with elec­tronics was the most challeng ing aspect of the project. Pic­tured below is a custom weave designed to serve as both a signal bus and a sensing element.

Analog Synthesizer
A portable synthesizer with jacket plugs

Electric Ribbon
First version of a PCB designed for Electric Ribbon. This circuit contains a micro controller with custom firm ware, wireless capabilities for communicating sensor data, and a capacitive sensing system that connects to the sensors embedded in the textile.

Electric Ribbon
Pictured below is one of the early prototypes for a vest that has multiple control sensors on the chest. Sensors could be configured like piano keys, or be triggered by more emotive brushing strokes.

Electric Ribbon
A very simplified version of the product design: Embedded sensors and micro-controller detect hand motions using the conductive threads of the material. This data is interpretted wirelessly else where to create a response to the command.

“The growth of musical art in any age is determined by technological progress which parallels it. Neither the composer nor performer can transcend the limits of the instruments of his time. On the other hand technical developments stimulate the creation of certain forms of composition and performance. Although it is true that musicians may have ideas which hurdle these technical barriers, yet, being forced to existing instrument, their intentions remain unrealized until scientific progress comes to the rescue. . . If we admit that the creative imagination of the composer may form musical ideas which, under the specific conditions of a given epoch, cannot be translated into sounds, we acknowledge a great dependence of the artist upon the technical position of his era, for music attains reality only through the process of sound.”

Joseph Schillinger, 1931

Exhibition and Performance
at the Textil Museet in Borås, Sweden

updates on upcoming workshops and shows on tour
Exhibition in Norway, Tromsø (Artic Circle) April 28th 2011, location to be announced

Workshop: Explorations in Textile Synthesizer at The Swedish School of Textiles, Febuary 2011 (dates to be announced)

Current Exhibition at Textil Museet in Borås Sweden. From December 21st thru January 26th. Closing performance at 14:00, Jan. 21st

Here are some blog posts and news articles kind of describing the project (though not always correctly)
Sveriges Radio (Mitt I Musiken Program)
Borås Tidning
Engineering & Technology Magazine
National Geographic (Blog)
Discovery Channel Blog
Talk 2 My Shirt
Gizmo Diva
The Institute of Engineering & Technology
Science Daily

Innovations Report
Informationsdienst Wissenschaft
German News Feed
My News Desk
Eurasia Review? (not sure what this is)

Inquiring parties may inquire at unibrow.jh (at) gmail (dot) com.

All right reserved by Jeannine Han Images are exclusive to the copy right holder.