Lit Lace Interface

RESPONSIVE SCENERY FOR PERFORMANCES WITH A USER-INTERFACE SYSTEM TO CONTROL THEATRE LIGHTING AND SMART TEXTILES

The project

This project brings the worlds of sensor technology and smart textiles together to offer something unique to the performance industry. It builds on previous collaborative work which explored the creative potential of Lit Lace, a newly developed light emitting cloth as dynamic backdrops for theatre. We have been able to develop and test a user-interface prototype system using ‘Igor’ Internet of Things architecture to control effects within the cloth as part of an existing theatre/performance lighting set-up. As an integrated system, we can offer creative solutions for responsive backdrops and theatre set design, and creative options for performance end users.

SARA + SARAH SMART TEXTILE DESIGN (UNITED KINGDOM)

Sara + Sarah Smart Textile Design offer a bespoke service to enable the textile industry to innovate in the area of smart textiles. Sara Robertson and Sarah Taylor have been working together for 6 years on a series of collaborative projects exploring smart textiles through a deep understanding of material properties and traditional textile design.   

CWI (Netherlands)

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the national research institute for mathematics and computer science in the Netherlands. Jack Jansen and Steven Pemberton are part of the Distributed and Interactive Systems research group which focuses on facilitating and improving the way people access media and communicate with others and with the environment.

 

STORYTELLING

THE IDEA:

The idea for this came out of our previous collaborative project, which was exploring the creative potential of newly developed light emitting cloth as dynamic backdrops for theatre and performance use.
Sara had seen Jack present his IOTSA board at the Royal College of Art. Given the potential to incorporate their Internet of Things technology and knowhow, we were keen to work with them to tackle the problem of controlling both the light within the cloth and within existing theatre lighting setups as a user-friendly interface for performance end users. Amsterdam as a location was also an additional bonus to the project. We thought that travelling to Amsterdam would also be good fun and it seemed the perfect opportunity to join forces with the creative techie geniuses from CWI! We also had real momentum from our previous WEAR Sustain project collaborators and this had given us a creative drive to explore the potential of the lighting within a theatre space.

THE BIRTH OF THE PROJECT:

We have key partners, suppliers and end users who are invested stakeholders, so it has been
important for us to meet project deliverables, such as product uniqueness, integrated usability and the potential for creative use for example.
Following our WEAR Sustain project in 2018, LIT Lace for performance, our collaborators Jane
Wheeler and Janey Gardiner (JaneJaney) said, ‘As set and costume designers we are always on the lookout for new and innovative ways of presenting work to audiences. We discovered early on that there are additional benefits to using the lit fabric in place of traditional theatrical equipment, particularly the use of gauzes. What excited us most, was the potential for making truly creative and original performance.’ Choreographer Alexander Whitley also remarked that, ‘Exploring the creative possibilities around the light emitting yarn has been a fascinating experience and I’m extremely excited about the potential this cutting-edge material has to bring striking new features to dance performance’.
One of our potential distributors wanted to promote and sell a complete working system which
could control both fabric and stage lighting. The challenge for us was to find a way to link smart
textile control with existing theatre lighting setups. We have also been trying to solve product effectiveness, for example bringing the disparate technologies together within an existing performance setup, and we have shown we can do this using a miniaturised control system, which will be advantageous for everyone. The project has also helped us promote the value of using Lit Lace as sustainable set design alternatives for the theatre industry. By increasing demand for this, we also hope to create potential economic growth and safeguard a highly skilled workforce at leading heritage-based lace manufacturer, MYB Textiles, based in Scotland.

THE CREATIVE PROCESS:

Using CWI’s open source technology, we were able to think about how this could be used creatively and what different effects we could achieve with this. We had a lot of ‘remote’ dialogue and design tasks. This was a totally different way of working for Sara+Sarah. However, being able to come together in a workshop scenario was an essential part of the process. Together, we were able to be creative, exchange ideas and test ways of developing and integrating the technology. Each of us within the collaborative team has been creative in their field. From CWI’s point of view, we have used a way of working reminiscent of Agile Development: quickly implement anything that comes up in a discussion and seems like a good idea, so it can immediately be tested and then either accepted, or improved, or discarded.
As a team, we came with quite different skill sets. For Sara+Sarah it was sometimes difficult to
demystify some of the technology!
Not being able to meet and work together more, as often as we would have liked was difficult and because of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, we were not able to meet up latterly and carry out additional testing. The fact that we were not able to get together more often (due to travel budgeting) meant that the agile development process did not work as well as we would have liked, with having to send bits of hardware and textile back and forth and having to try and explain their working remotely.
We would also have liked to include a wider end user group in our workshops to test the interface system. Sara also had a baby boy. Although he (Woody) was part of the team, it did mean his mum had limited time on the project. There is another stage we would like to look at with our end users given the project’s user-centric focus. However, we have a working prototype that has achieved technology capacity and the components are much smaller, already small enough to be worn discreetly by a performer.

THE COLLABORATION:

Steven and Jack have been there all the time and have invested in the project. It would not have happened without them! Going forward with the project, we do this with them still on board.

THE FUTURE:

In the future, we hope to be selling the product and the service and working with our stakeholders.
Before then, we will need to explore the prototype with our creative end users and will need to
source funding to allow for a small-scale performance. Moving forward, we will secure further
funding to promote its potential, and with our end users we can showcase creative performances which could be used as examples for our distributors.

THE MESSAGE:

For Sara+Sarah, we have come to understand the importance of creating the right conditions which allow creative design autonomy for collaborators as part of practice-based, co-design development.
Working collaboratively has profoundly shaped the direction of our work and how we work and has provided different challenges along the way.
Each collaboration is a journey which over the years has allowed us to gain insight into different methods, roles, values, mind-sets, and conditions. For us, an interdisciplinary way of working is one that thrives on collaboration.
Although CWI does a lot of pure and theoretical research, technology is of no use if it does not serve people and our group, the DIS group, works on Human Computer Interaction. We like to build things and determine whether they work. Therefore, the chance for us to collaborate on such a project with Sara and Sarah has been a great opportunity. We view creatives as our end users and this collaboration has allowed us to verify the practical applicability of our scientific and technical findings, and, it has been a lot of fun!

PARTNERSHIP PROJECTS

eMonsters

eMonsters

Tagenea

Tagenea

Seamless

Seamless

Common Sands 2.0

Common Sands 2.0

Maretech

Maretech

Minois

Minois

STEM a garment production brand

STEM a garment production brand

Storytelling Garment Project

Storytelling Garment Project

Mapu Preto

Mapu Preto

Minta

Minta

NO/thing – from nothing to everything

NO/thing – from nothing to everything

Modifiable Vegan Bag Collection

Modifiable Vegan Bag Collection

In the Circle

In the Circle

Clotho

Clotho

Make Your Bed

Make Your Bed

Vibro-Tactile Textiles

Vibro-Tactile Textiles

LÈBIU – let’s CORK it

LÈBIU – let’s CORK it

WeAr Design

WeAr Design

Fresko

Fresko

ALMA

ALMA

Bubble Façade

Bubble Façade

Crossing Parallels

Crossing Parallels

EnaOna

EnaOna

Sense of nature

Sense of nature

Rethinking the Bra

Rethinking the Bra

Manual bag

Manual bag

Nova Underwear

Nova Underwear

Sensing Color

Sensing Color

Dimmenso

Dimmenso

Beaggie

Beaggie

Soft touch of industrial waste

Soft touch of industrial waste

Time of your Light

Time of your Light

H|H

H|H

Vibrant-barrier-free glassware collection

Vibrant-barrier-free glassware collection

Edge Chair

Edge Chair

Marbled Salts

Marbled Salts

Moseanic

Moseanic

Kombucha Tsugi: Bag Collection

Kombucha Tsugi: Bag Collection

LiLO

LiLO

The Eastern Side of Riviera

The Eastern Side of Riviera

Future Wardrobe

Future Wardrobe

Ventri

Ventri

Bi-Circular Urban-Outdoor Fabric

Bi-Circular Urban-Outdoor Fabric

Step Smart

Step Smart

Re-Print Ceramics

Re-Print Ceramics

Vivid

Vivid

A Phyne Bomber Jacket

A Phyne Bomber Jacket

Burning For

Burning For

Circular workwear collection

Circular workwear collection

Jute Wool

Jute Wool

Tista

Tista

W03_109

W03_109

Velluto

Velluto

New Matters

New Matters

Reminder Bracelet

Reminder Bracelet

Agogic – Be prepared for more

Agogic – Be prepared for more

Smartcoat

Smartcoat

Mocha Split

Mocha Split

Reframd

Reframd

Zerobarracento

Zerobarracento

ALLCA Disruptive Rugs

ALLCA Disruptive Rugs

Wearable Play

Wearable Play

Wear-Abouts Baltic Sea

Wear-Abouts Baltic Sea

Gelatex x NO/AN

Gelatex x NO/AN

Luxury Bag Collection

Luxury Bag Collection

Amalgama

Amalgama

TTorch

TTorch

From the ground

From the ground

Ultra

Ultra

Capsule coat project

Capsule coat project

Mayya x WORTH

Mayya x WORTH

The Space Between

The Space Between

Rustic Wool Robotuft

Rustic Wool Robotuft

Cartiera & SwIdeas present: Change!

Cartiera & SwIdeas present: Change!

Fish_Fish

Fish_Fish

Common Sands

Common Sands

UCQC Inclusive

UCQC Inclusive

Gabriella Veszpremi X Inpelsa

Gabriella Veszpremi X Inpelsa

Mowo

Mowo

i-Morfé

i-Morfé

Iguaneye

Iguaneye

Ruumy

Ruumy

Fugazi Fugazi

Fugazi Fugazi

Serisole

Serisole

Hi-Lamp

Hi-Lamp

The Hemp Chair

The Hemp Chair

Senss

Senss

Walkytalkies

Walkytalkies

Sole sustainability

Sole sustainability

A Warm, Light, Luxurious, Sustainable Cloak

A Warm, Light, Luxurious, Sustainable Cloak

The “Bib” chair

The “Bib” chair

Materia Bruta

Materia Bruta

3D knitwear on demand

3D knitwear on demand

Lit Lace Interface

Lit Lace Interface

iluTex

iluTex

Sukka 

Sukka 

PineSkins Soft Wall Tiles

PineSkins Soft Wall Tiles

Unmoist Raincoat

Unmoist Raincoat

IOT Jacket & Robot

IOT Jacket & Robot

Stars Collection

Stars Collection

Words that shimmer

Words that shimmer

Persona

Persona

NO1R

NO1R

Identity 560

Identity 560

Øjenfryd

Øjenfryd

The Ghost Bag

The Ghost Bag

Diluci bags

Diluci bags

M2M furniture (Made 2 Measure Furniture)

M2M furniture (Made 2 Measure Furniture)

Myhand Prosthetic Socket

Myhand Prosthetic Socket

Oceanwear

Oceanwear

t-Studio – 3D fashion design network

t-Studio – 3D fashion design network

Curve

Curve

Baltabalta Multifunctional Textiles

Baltabalta Multifunctional Textiles

Fashion Designing for an Inclusive World

Fashion Designing for an Inclusive World

‘Parameter’ Table

‘Parameter’ Table

Occay

Occay

Make and Create

Make and Create

ERGOVI – healthy multiposture chair

ERGOVI – healthy multiposture chair

PreemieCme

PreemieCme

Second Life Bag

Second Life Bag

Clayer

Clayer

Lulu V2

Lulu V2

Fishskinlab

Fishskinlab

Dynaback

Dynaback

Esther Hates PVC

Esther Hates PVC

Gardin

Gardin

Foldable High Heels

Foldable High Heels

Sustainable Acoustic Panels

Sustainable Acoustic Panels

Edbora Collection

Edbora Collection

Smart Heated Vest

Smart Heated Vest

ACDL Artisan Chausseur Design Lab

ACDL Artisan Chausseur Design Lab

Smart Life Jacket In Watersport

Smart Life Jacket In Watersport

Fragments Garments

Fragments Garments

Hollow: A Lie Story

Hollow: A Lie Story

FWN: Family Wear Nature

FWN: Family Wear Nature

Himaero “The Emotional Jewel”

Himaero “The Emotional Jewel”

Spellbound

Spellbound

Wear Pure

Wear Pure

Connextyle

Connextyle

Unlimited in 1

Unlimited in 1

Paramatrix

Paramatrix

Feel More Knitwear

Feel More Knitwear

Skarabeos 2

Skarabeos 2

Twill

Twill

Fashionable Wearable Camera Accessory

Fashionable Wearable Camera Accessory

‘Margarete’ – Cork Task Chair

‘Margarete’ – Cork Task Chair