Slow Technology & Maggie Orth’s Message


26 April, Cambridge, MA_Maggie Orth  artist and technologist, of International Fashion Machines and  MIT Media Lab PhD spoke at the MIT  Design and Computation Group Lecture series today.  She showed many of her double woven, color changing textiles in photograph and video  to show both texture of the textile and video to show the temporality of the textile pieces.  This video snagged from’ Youtube shows her piece titled 100 Electronic Art Years from 2010.    It is shown in time lapse.  The piece is made of cotton, rayon and conductive yarns as well as silver ink and hand printed thermochromic inks.  More information can be found on her website here

If you have ever traced a shadow line across the floor wall or other surface as the sun traveled its path over a day you can get a sense of the speed of the color change.  The change is at first imperceptible but as you start to look the change is so minute but so fast you do not even know that it has changed.  In the case of the shadow, the edge has already moved from your pencil position as you start.  This is similar to the effect experienced in Turrell’s work Skyspace in Houston link here: .  The speed of Orth’s color changing woven textiles, take a person back to a slower more modulated time. Lars Hallnas and Johannes Redstrom write about this type of reflective temporality in the article ‘Slow technology:  designing for reflection’ the reference link is here:

Embedded in this temporality of natural things  is a question about how things return to the earth.  How should designers and artists account for a recycling of composite materials, microchips and other toxins that cannot be recycled?  What are the ways in which designers and artitsts can  invent ways that these new materials can be re-purposed, remade, recycled?

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