reSkin Emerging Technology Lab & Forum

The reSkin wearables research and development laboratory was presented as ANAT’s Emerging Technology Lab held from 14 January – 4 February 2007 at the Australian National University. 

Singing Bowl, by Sean O'Connell. Prototype developed during the reSkin lab.

Singing Bowl, by Sean O'Connell. Prototype developed during the reSkin lab.

ANAT Emerging Technology Labs have traditionally focused on introducing the skills associated with emerging technologically based practices to a wide sector of Australian media arts practitioners, writers and curators. This lab aimed to extend the reach to include design and craft practitioners including jewellers, fashion designers and object makers.

The lab brought together twenty national and international artists and designers to investigate the dynamic field of wearable technologies over a three-week intensive period.  International leaders in the field Joanna Berzowska (Canada) and Elise Co (USA) were engaged to lead the lab.  National facilitators, Susan Cohn and Cinnamon Lee, sound artist Alistair Riddell and media artist Stephen Barrass, were engaged to cover the diverse skill bases associated with the field and inform the development of the lab.

The response to the lab was overwhelmingly positive from participants, facilitators, and project partners. In the group of artists who attended there were two senior artists and Australia Council Fellows, craft practitioner Catherine Truman and media artist Keith Armstrong.  Scottish jeweller, interaction designer and researcher from Napier University, Sarah Kettley travelled to Australia to participate in the lab as did Royal College graduate Tania Fox. Australian fashion designers Rowena, Juliana and Angela Foong of the High Tea with Mrs Woo label also attended the lab.

Leah Heiss, Inner prototype developed at the reSkin lab

Leah Heiss, Inner prototype developed at the reSkin lab

The prototypes developed at the lab were of a very high standard and demonstrated what facilitator Joanna Berzowska called a “third wave” in the field of wearable technology, which she stated was a new development. In this “third wave”, the conceptual resolve and use of applicable materials technologies is married with high-end craft and design skills.

WearNow Forum
The laboratory ended with the Wear Now symposium at National Museum of Australia on the 3rd of February. On Saturday the 3rd of February the WearNow symposium investigated the history, innovations and future developments of the field. 106 People attended the event at the National Museum of Australia.

Workshop facilitators Assoc. Professor Joanna Berzowska and Dr. Stephen Barrass, discussed Wearable Histories on a panel chaired by  Nigel Lendon, Associate Head of School, School of Art, ANU. Facilitators  Elise Co, Susan Cohn and Angela, Rowena and Juliana Foong of High Tea with Mrs. Woo label discussed the state of fashion and Wearables Now with  Valerie Kirk, Head of the Textiles Workshop ANU.

Wearables Research and Development was discussed by Robin Cranston (CSIRO) Oron Catts (Symbiotica) and Sarah Kettley (Arts and Science Research Fellow, Napier University, Edinburg), on a panel chaired by Gordon Bull, Head of School of Art, ANU. Facilitators Dr. Alistair Riddell and Cinnamon Lee presented reSkin Outcomes and demos from reSkin participants, on a panel chaired by Eleanor Gates-Stuart, Head of CNMA, ANU. Catrina Vignando, General Manager of Craft Australia provided the closing summation.

Project partners were Craft Australia, Australian National University School of Art, Centre for New Media Arts (ANU) and National Museum of Australia.

Visit the project site for more information - www.anat.org.au/reskin

ANAT’s 2005 Create_Space New Media Lab initiated some of these discussions, while Filter Issue 69, Coding Cloth, continued them and participant Michael Yuen reports on his experiences at the lab.

The video below, showcases the artists involved with the reSkin lab with the prototypes they created.

ANAT’s reSkin Wearable Technology Lab from ANAT on Vimeo.

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