Within the realm of electronic and smart textiles there have been promising technological investigations, which never quite managed to reach their potential. However, despite these disappointments, industrial and academic research, as well as artistic inquiry, continue to explore the possibilities of electronic and smart textiles. Rather than presenting this endeavor as “the next big thing’, the “Attempts, Failures, Trials, and Errors” project seeks to understand the various stages of projects’ developments, to explore forgotten attempts and perspectives, less successful paths, and less mediatized wearable technologies and e-textiles projects.
Our approach reverses the common R&D constructivist methods, by using deconstruction as a tool for critical inquiry in the field of wearables technologies and e-textiles. At the crossroads between artistic, anthropological, scientific and technological inquiry, this “catalogue of failures” will serve as starting point for a critical reflection related to wearables and e-textiles.
This collection of “attempts, failures, trials and errors” is not intended to praise the failures, nor to minimize the successes of wearables and e-textiles. By questioning the idea of failure and success, the project uses art’s capacity to critically and, at the same time, poetically and self-ironically, address contemporary challenges and concerns. In the age of “fast prototyping,” “publish or perish” and “start-up competitions,” our project is also an attempt to reflect on the present technological boom and innovation obsolescence, encouraging an ecological perspective which will take into consideration the whole cycle of conception, consumption, ageing, and degradation of technology.
We are interested not only on what has been done, but also on the conditions in which the things have been done. The “catalogue of failures” will help us to better understand the complex socio-technical conditions in which all these developments took place, and, by doing so, to anchor the future developments into more solid grounds. The catalogue will also help to identify the issues that should be addressed in the development processes. The curatorial work will consist in structuring the received and the collected materials in thematic areas. The curators will be helped in this sense by the external advisors.