The Penelope Loom intertwines weaving, computing, and embodiment. The loom detects and visualizes the user's heartrate through a circuit that exists in the threads of the loom itself. As the user weaves, the act of weaving interacts with the circuit, causing the visualization of the user's heartrate to glitch. The interweaving of circuit, woven structure, and biometric data asks questions about labor and the human body in relationship to weaving and computing technologies. It attempts to tease out the way that digital technology's history haunts its present forms, and questions the dominant metaphors of computing.
Co-designed with Nethra Gomatheswaran
This is a garment that, when someone looks at it, looks back. As designers, we were inspired by the way that fashion is constructed partly by and for the gazes of others. I was also particularly inspired by the classical figure Fama (Greek Pheme, or Rumor, from the verb for speaking) of Greco-Roman mythology, who is said to be covered in eyes, ears, and mouths. While in the classical sense Rumor is described grotesquely, she also reminds me of something I heard at a talk by scholar and activist Sarah Deer: that the #meToo movement is in many ways the formalization of gossip. The idea of a garment that can be a modern day Fama, then, is perhaps a manifestation of accountability - asking people to be accountable for their gazes, as well as for their words and actions.
Weaving has a long and complex relationship to storytelling, text, and computing. Text and textile share an etymology - the Latin texo, texere, to weave. The Jacquard loom is the antecedent to modern computing. ATHENA is a project that explores the relationship between text and textile, as well as the changes and continuities of storytelling over time.
TOUCH ME | I'M SHARP is a short project on clothes, gender nonconformity, and embodiment in unexpected places. The user wears a half-shirt connected to the vest. When they touch pressure sensors on the vest, motors on the shirt vibrate against the body, a mirroring touch.
TOUCH ME | I'M SHARP attempts to use technology and the body to explore my thinking on gender nonconformity, liberation/constraint, and unconscious embodied responses. What can I physically get a user's body to do? What will their body do unthinkingly? How can I draw attention to those moments of unconscious intervention in our physicality?
"Spoons" is a social anxiety game, somewhere between a choose-your-own-adventure and a dating sim. You play as a character who is tired and just trying to survive a party that she really doesn't want to be at. The gameplay consists of talking to people, trying to make friends, and occasionally hiding in the bathroom to recharge. There's a hint of queer romance-to-be on the side.
On a basic level, "Spoons" seeks to convey some of the affective experience of being trapped in a social situation where things feel out of control. On a deeper level, the game is a space to begin thinking about larger questions around embodiment, societal and technological systems, and haunting.