Panel: Beyond Openness

Panelists: Wendy Van Wynsberghe, Tincuta Heinzel, Zoe Romano
Moderator: Hannah Perner-Wilson


TOPICS FOR DISCUSSION – (still in progress!!!)

1) Ethical Practice of Openness: Making, Sharing, Taking

- Now that everything is open, shared, accessible, how do we go about handling and interacting with this information in ethical ways?
- It is not just the patterns and documentation to make our textile sensors that we share, but also the data they collect.
- Do we (Summercamp) see ourselves as leading practitioners in the field of e-textiles? As the creators of future technology (wearable, ambient, embedded….), what choices do we make in our works that address questions of ethics?
For example: you (as an e-textile designer) are designing and building a cushion that allows users to track how much time they spend sitting in front of their computer. Your project is commercialized and used by many people. You license the work as Open Hardware and Open Source Software. Is that all?

2) Open Source Craft – Where the “Source” is Tacit Knowledge

- Open Hardware often discusses the differences between hardware and software – sharing cut-files and machine settings vs. code. Open Design starts to talk about sharing tacit knowledge. What bout Open Craft, where a huge amount of skill and knowledge is embedded in the maker.
- Recipes as metaphor for documenting…
- Many of us learn about electronics through hacking and re-verse engineering consumer electronics. Opening up black boxes, destroying enclosures in order to see what lies within. How can we imagine such an experience with e-textiles? Pulling threads apart to reveal the circuit?
- In e-textiles we often talk of the “handmade” because the industrial is not yet possible. Industry (Philips, Frauenhofer…) are looking to industrialize e-textile processes and probably we will start to see the industrial side of e-textiles hit the market within the next 10 years. Will the introduction of mass-production turn these products into “hackable” e-textiles? Will we be reverse-engineering these industrial techniques and re-making them by hand?
- Rapid prototyping and CNC technology have brought mass-customization to the world of industrial design. Hacked knitting machines, DIY Loom constructions, CNC embroidery machines…. will similar technology for e-textile production evolve? And if yes, then who will be imagining, designing and building these machines? What will they enable us to do?

3) The Appeal of Keeping Secrets

- What about keeping some secrets?
- In fashion, designs can’t be “patented” so designers keep their collections top secret until they show on the runway. The runway show secures their claim to “owning” the design.
- Does Open-Sourcing a product/project take away from the detective experience of revealing secret/hidden information through hacking? Does documentation hem our curiosity?

Panelist Bios:

Zoe Romano

I live in Milano, where i got my degree in Philosophy at Università Statale and enjoyed my passion for digital culture at the Master in Media Science and Technology at University of Pavia. I’ve been into media activism and political visual art for the past 10 years, working on precarity, social production, material and immaterial labor in creative and service industries.
I co-developed several projects in the context of the Italian and European post-1999 movement, such as,, and the icon of Italian precarious laborers and their struggles, San Precario. In 2005, I was part of the initiators of Serpica Naro media hoax, the fictive fashion designer accepted to the official calendar of Milano Fashion Week. Since then, I’ve been developing the Serpica Naro Collective brand and its non-profit association with several events and initiatives. I’ve been earning my bread working for advertising agencies as copywriter, content manager and social media strategist. I mainly think through infovisualization and I used this blog on the topic for a year (Now it’s become my repository!).
Lately I started getting interested in digital manufacturing especially regarding the way it could accelerate the process of spreading open-fashion and micro-social-enterprises. I’ve been exploring these topics co-founding two projects: Openwear and . I’ve finally started a Makerspace in Milan: it’s called WeMake.
Since February 2013 I joined Arduino team to give my contribution on digital strategy and special projects on wearables.

Wendy Van Wynsberghe

My name is Wendy, I am an artist, tinkerer and an inhabitant of Brussels, a member of Constant vzw, an adopted zinneke. I wear many hats, which consists of a combination of these verbs: I organize – research – document – share – create – make – break – teach – sew – solder – hack – tinker – code – misunderstand – scramble – perform – exchange – learn – forget.
Part of my fuzzy artistic practice is my membership of Constant, a Brussels based arts lab (kunstenwerkplaats). We seemingly work along different disciplinary lines, as there are thematic groups entitled Open source video, Open hardware, Libre graphics research unit and so on, but there is a strong common undercurrent that carries us all along: we work closely together to open up an artistic practice using F/Loss tools, in the meantime sharing our own experiences and opening up the work processes to other artists.
I work with electronics and physical computing: the point where the virtual meets the physical realm. More specifically, I choose to work with free software (Linux) and open hardware.

Tincuta Heinzel

Tincuta Heinzel is an artist, scholar and curator, member of the 2580 Association (Cluj, Romania) and of Paidia Institute (Cologne, Germany) and . Following Visual Arts and Cultural Anthropology studies, she has now completed her PhD thesis at Paris 1 University (France) on electronic and smart textiles. Her area of research is the relationship between art and technoscience, with a special focus on smart textiles and wearable technologies. She initiated, curated and coordinated several projects, such as “Areas of Conflu(x)ence” in the frame of Luxembourg and Sibiu 2007 – European Capitals of Culture and “Artists in Industry” project. As an editor, she published “Art, Space and Memory in the Digital Era” at Paidia Publishing House (Bucharest, 2010) and coordinated Studia Philosophia’s issue on the “Phenomenology of Digital Technology” (no.3/2010).