SEAMLESS VISIONS: New Textiles and Wearable Technologies

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

—Virginia Postrel

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 that binds the aspirations of humankind.

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.

Topics and sub-topics for programming include:

+ Prosthetics and cybernetics
+ Second skins— devices & fabrics for protection
+ Wearable technology in posthumanist studies
+ Fashion for assistive devices

+ Weaving, as it relates to other disciplines
(cognitive science, biology, computer science)
+ Computerized textile design and production
+ Informatics through fabric (coded textiles)

+ Research and development of synthetic fibres
+ Smart textiles and responsive environments
+ 3D-printed textiles and 3D knitting
+ Fabrics for physical computing

+ Biometric clothing and devices (and the politics therein)
+ Wearables that disrupt surveillance (active and passive)
+ Critical responses to the appropriation of indigenous dress
+ Bio-hacking and security concerns around wearables

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