Subtle Technologies v.19

New Textiles + Wearable Technologies


Image Credit: Phillip David Stearns

Older than bronze and new as nanowires, textiles are technology —and they have remade our world time and again.

—Virginia Postrel

N-O-R-M-A-L-S, Still from 3PLUS3MAKE5 (2016)
N-O-R-M-A-L-S, Still from 3PLUS3MAKE5 (2016)

Ancient in origin, textiles have enabled our civilization to grow and prosper for thousands of years. Yet, these prehistoric beginnings have little impact on their continued significant role in the development of future technologies. The evolution of textiles parallels our innate fascinations with body augmentation and pattern recognition and has birthed new industries and subcultures in every generation. From architecture and medicine to fashion and space travel, textiles are a literal and figurative thread binding the aspirations of humankind.

Lisa Kori Chung, anti NIS accessories (2014)
Lisa Kori Chung, anti NIS accessories (2014)

SEAMLESS VISIONS, the 19th Annual Subtle Technologies Festival will build on this lineage, showcasing leading research and expressive applications of the art and science of textiles. Through a wide range of programming, the Festival will create opportunities for the critical exchange of knowledge about experimental processes, cultural trends, socioeconomic challenges and philosophical implications. In geographical context, the Festival will also draw upon Toronto’s increasing role as an international hub for innovations in wearable technology.

Click on the program titles below to see more information.



PICKS PER MINUTE: The Language of Digital Textiles

Co-presented with InterAccess

Featuring work by Phillip David Stearns (NY) Peter Wilkins (NL)
May 5th – June 11th, 2016
Opening Reception: Thursday May 12th, 6-9pm at InterAccess
9 Ossington Avenue Toronto, Ontario

As the digital age advances, artists and industry alike must consider the possibility of digital textiles. Entangled in both past and future, what defines these ethereal artifacts, and what does the evolution of textiles suggest about our own development? Artworks featured in this exhibition investigated these questions, weaving light and code into materials that straddle virtual and physical space.




Co-presented with the Gladstone Hotel

Friday May 13th, 2016
In the Ballroom at the Gladstone Hotel 1214 Queen Street West Toronto, Ontario
7pm – VIP Reception
8pm – Doors & Video Art
9pm – Runway Show
Featuring works by: Alexis Boyle & Marisa Gallemit, Barbara Layne & Lauren Osmond, Gregory Phillips (Spandrel Media) & Wendy Ng (Dystropolis)
Wearables Performance created by: Maziar Ghaderi
Live Visuals provided by: Peter Rahul

The only way to withstand the future is to be timeless. Although wearable technology is often imagined as electronic and digital, innovations in textiles and garment construction promise to be far more useful and sustainable in these volatile times. Future Proof is an experimental fashion show that features collaborations between teams of artists, designers and technologists investigating this delicate balance between progress and practicality. Using diverse materials and methods of construction, each set of looks explores a different facet of wearable tech that begs the increasingly important question: How can fashion be revolutionary yet everlasting?




Co-presented with Textile Museum of Canada

Saturday May 14th, 2016 10am – 5pm at Textile Museum of Canada 55 Centre Avenue, 2nd floor Toronto, ON M5G 2H5
Speakers: Joanna Berzowska, Kirsty Robertson, Isabel Pedersen (Decimal Lab), Erika Iserhoff (Setsune Indigenous Fashion Incubator), Lisa Kori Chung Carolina Reis

This full day of presentations and guided discussion will explore humanity’s instinctual relationship to textiles and tease out the sociopolitical dimensions of wearable technologies. Speakers constitute a diverse range of material practices spanning art, anthropology, applied science and design.



RGB TEXTILES: Creating Animated Fabric through Colour Vibration

Co-presented with InterAccess

Sunday May 15th, 2016 11am–5pm at OCAD University 100 McCaul St. Toronto, Ontario

Join Philippe Blanchard to create costumes that light up and animate under a computerized light show. Participants will explore Philippe’s new media installation practice, experimenting with the interaction of light on coloured dyes and pigments. Designing costumes out of fabric, printed-paper and other pliable materials, participants will learn firsthand how colorimetry and colour perception work to create the illusion of movement. Participants will also be exposed to the mechanics of designing computer-controlled light installations with Max/MSP and LED lighting. Employing these technologies in the filming studio, participants will finish the day by shooting short animations of their creations in action.




Co-presented with Craft Ontario

Sunday May 15th, 2016 11am–5pm
Bus departing from Craft Ontario 990 Queen Street West Toronto, Ontario
Featuring work by: Amanda McCavour, Line Dufour, Thea Hamilton

The Mobile Artist Studio Tour marks Subtle Technologies’ first-ever traveling event and aims to showcase the Golden Horseshoe as a region ripe with fibre-based experimentation. Registered participants will travel by charter bus in and around the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area to the studios of three contemporary textile artists, enjoying private tours and technical demonstrations at each stop as well as mobile activities between destinations. All hosting artists are members of Craft Ontario who balance handcraft and traditional textile processes with emergent technologies.

Stop #1 Line Dufour (Holland Landing) Demo: Weaving with fibre optics

Stop #2 Amanda McCavour (Toronto) Demos: Digital embroidery & working with water-soluble fabric

Stop #3 Thea Haines (Hamilton) Demo: Mixing and applying plant-based dyes A catered brown bag lunch is provided.

We would like to acknowledge support from: Canada%20Council%20logo_e_l OAC_2014


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