Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Aesthetics and Technology

Last week I was invited to the  Scratch Conference at MIT Media Lab to talk about my experience as an artist-in-residence at Eleanor Roosevelt High school in New York City.

The MIT Media Lab has a long tradition of connecting the latest technological advances to wider audiences.  Among many other things, the researchers there are developing tools that allow teaching to code in a variety of settings; for example, in an art classroom. 

One of the examples of such important tools is TurtleStitch.  Due to its unique combination of coding and textile crafts, TurtleStitch allows educators to bridge the logical and haptic. 

It allows students to design and code their own patterns and then stitch them using a sewing machine. The experience during my residency showed that, in order to truly engage the artistically inclined students and to create compelling final products, the process needs to combine both the principles of programming and the principles of art design.

I also presented two of the hand- and computer-embroidered books that were created using TurtleStitch during my residency.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Lace, Tulle, Silk


Nothing says "beloved" better than a wedding dress.  Even in a thrift store, when I approach a rack of white gowns, and start looking through the bridal dresses, everyone says, "Oh, you're getting married." It is not a question, but more of a statement.  "Congratulations," quickly follows before I have time to say, "I'm not . . ."
Nothing says, "You are important" more than a wedding dress.  Worn on one of the happiest days of a woman's life, it is the most expensive dress most women will ever buy.   When I began this project of transforming wedding gowns into artist's books, I never thought about the impact this project would have on my personal life.  How symbolic lace, tulle, silk and white are.

How much cultural, historical, and economical information these dresses contain.  How much emotional and psychological power they hold.

Today, when I put two of the wedding dresses in my backyard to photograph, I was blown away by their beauty, even though they cost about a few cups of cappuccinos, and were found in a thrift store.

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Aesthetics and Technology