Skorpions are a set of kinetic electronic garments that move and change on the body in slow, organic motions. They breathe and pulse, controlled by their own internal programming. They are not “interactive” artifacts insofar as their programming does not respond to simplistic sensor data. They have intentionality; they are programmed to live, to exist, to subsist. They are living behavioral kinetic sculptures that exploit characteristics such as control, anticipation and unpredictability. They have their own personalities, their own fears and desires.
Skoprions is the result of a collaboration between Di Mainstone and Joanna Berzowska of XS Labs in Montreal, Canada. Di worked closely with the XS Labs team to create these kinetic costumes that combine art, fashion, technology and performance. Skorpions integrate electronic fabrics, the shape memory alloy Nitinol, mechanical actuators like magnets, soft electronic circuits, and traditional textile construction techniques. The cut of the pattern, the seams, and other construction details became an important component of engineering design.
Skorpions have been shown at SIGGRAPH Los Angeles, Boston Science Museum, NIMK Amsterdam, Vancouver 2010 Code Live Olympics. When showcasing these kinetic sculptures, we highlight each of their personalities for the viewer, as each dress was built around a character narrative. Here is an example:
Luttergill is a cocoon about to burst open – as the host, who pupates inside its elegant folds, strives to escape. The quilted shell is constructed with built-in lines of weakness along which the host can tear easily from inside and create exit holes that only allow a one-way passage out. In so doing, the soft shell is slowly coming apart at the seams, breathing, opening, threatening to liberate the beautiful blue silk hidden inside.