Photos by Ingo Randolf, Becky Stewart, Lara Grant
eTextile Spring Break is a weeklong gathering of eTextile and electronic craft practitioners in upstate New York at the Wassaic Project from April 1-8, 2018. It is part residency, part conference, and part dinner party. Over the course of a week, 20 international artists, engineers, designers, researchers, musicians, hackers, weavers, print makers, machine knitters, and more came together to share their work, reflect on the field, learn new techniques, and make together.
eTextile Spring Break is the most recent manifestation of a camp model that throws participants into an immersive making and learning experience. It is based on eTextile Summer Camp, an event started in 2011 by the collective duo Kobakant and held annually in western France.
Electronic textiles or e-textiles is a practice that combines tools, materials, and methodologies from electrical engineering, craft, material science, textiles, computer science, design, and interactive media. It thrives on adapting, testing, and remixing techniques from other fields, disregarding disciplinary boundaries in favor of experimentation and often valuing process over product. As a field that is still emerging and defining itself, eTextile Spring Break seeks to create a community space where practitioners have the opportunity to engage with each other, nerd out on new tools, and grapple with relevant issues.
The theme of the camp poses larger questions relevant to the eTextile community and serves as a frame to guide discussions and focus group topics. It is formed based on participant interests, questions, and current work.
Revel in the (Un)Ravel
We take things apart to figure out how they work. We relish the process and take time to consider it. We seek to be open and question things that are closed. We embrace constraints and work within imperfections. From broken threads and lost components, we craft things anew.
Focus groups offer an opportunity for participants with similar interests to collaborate on a project and develop deeper relationships with a subset of the larger group. Topics will be chosen by gathering interests and suggestions via questionnaires sent to participants and be related to the overall theme. Once at camp, we will all gather and discuss what each topic means and then each participant will choose a group to be part of.
2018 Focus Groups
- Hard Privacy in a Soft World
- Your Wildest Speculative Fantasy
- Revel Off the Grid
- Community Threads
Workshops are ways for participants to share interesting skills they have, something new they’ve learned this year, or just plain helpful stuff like The Math Behind Circuits. Workshops this year included eTextile Sound and Music, Intro to Audio Processing with Bela, and a Weaving Intensive.
On the final day, we opened camp to the public for a series of talks, informal discussions, small workshops, and an exhibition of camper work.
Photos by Lara Grant