The WOOL PUNK is a community on the north of Scotland active during the last century which now have almost disappeared, as we know.
Wool Punk is a term used to describe a movement originating in 19th century Scotland that invented a new form of power generation using wool. A small isolated community developed this methodology after discovering the curious electrical properties of the wool produced by the Scottish Dunface sheep in the highlands. We believe that they found that when friction is applied to this wool, it generated a substantial triboelectric effect that they could use to power machines. This knowledge permeated their lifestyle and culture, allowing them early insight into technologies that would not emerge for decades.
Almost all traces of this community were lost after a brutal suppression by the British Crown at the end of the 19th century. We have reason to believe the Wool Punks led a massive resistance campaign up through the mid-twentieth century that may still exist today. Through our research, we have unearthed various clues that give us insight into their lifestyle before and after their disappearance.
We have curated a selection of artefacts that are an attempt to recreate the tools, techniques, and they used and adapted for their campaign to retake their land, identity, and autonomy.
This cape was conceived as a secret 8-bit communication tool to convey morse code messages among subversive clans people.
This project was created by the Fictional eTextile focus group at the 2016 eTextile Summercamp. Inspired by cyberpunk fiction, we devised an alternative history of electrical generation using speculative design and improvisational storytelling methodologies. We researched Scottish subversive histories, tartan traditional dress and other cultural emblems; magnetic and rope core memory theory and production, as well as the Little Old Ladies who wove it; and the material and electrical properties of wool.
Wool Punks recently sighted at the Grouphug exhibition as part of NYCxDESIGN Week from May 5-7.