residency artists ‘21

Softislab Artist Residency 2.8.-28.8.2021 - SOFT IS RADICAL

Earlier this year, we announced the first edition of the Softislab short-term residency. The residency includes the use of the studio space, its traditional textile-making tools, a curated collection of soft materials, and additional opportunities to utilize our partners' workshop spaces and machinery.

In the open call targeted to all creators working with soft or soft-related materials, we asked people to dream big with us and tell us what the title sentence SOFT IS RADICAL sparks in them.

The residency artists were selected by the jury:

Eevi Rutanen (an artist, creative technologist and educator)
Noora Yau (designer and researcher)
Kustaa Saksi (multidisciplinary artist and surface designer)
+ 2 representatives of the Softislab initiative

In the first residency, we have two individuals and one group of creators. Since the residency period is short-term, the emphasis is on creative thinking and process rather than finished projects. The outcomes will be presented in the exhibition finalising the pilot event.

Introductions of the residency artists and the project concepts are found below.

Jérémy Gaudibert develops an interdisciplinary practice nurtured by interests in both design and dance. He holds a BA in textile and material design from ESAA Duperré and a MA in Industrial design from ENSCI Les Ateliers, both in Paris.    

Besides co-leading design studio JaM (@designstudiojam) Jérémy creatively approaches the issues of material and labour in production and consumption cycles.   

Jérémy was part of the 2019 HIAP Design residency with the project and performance Kahvitauko, a study on Finnish coffee culture. 

Project concept
The project is based on a material-making process using pine (mänty)’s bark collected from a log house construction site.

The material was the result of a serendipitous research that started during the pandemic outburst in 2020. It was entirely born out of these conditions and the specifics of log construction.

Within the residency framework, I aim to explore technically and conceptually the weaving-beating process inspired by Amate's Mexican paper craft and to find how to design with it.

Kiko Chen is a cross-disciplinary designer and new media artist made in China and based in Helsinki. Working at the intersection of design, art and emerging technologies, her work strives to explore new possibilities of interactive media,and asks questions about the societal, ethical, environmental and political issues it brings along. She is currently doing her Master of Arts degree in New Media Design and Production at Aalto University.

Chen You-Chia is a Helsinki-based multidisciplinary designer from Taiwan. Her works include experimental textile, structure research and object design, focusing on the relationship between colour, material and form.

In her practice, she explores the movements of forms between two-dimension to three-dimension through hands-on model making. During the process, she constantly seeks to expand the possibilities of materials and capture ephemeral beauties.

Project concept
The sense of softness is precept through the interaction between the touch and the touched. In this process, the soft objects embrace, absorb and reflect the forces from the surrounded world. 

Inspired by the movement of soft materials/ objects, Dancing Citizens aims to explore the forming and kinetic ability in weaving, reform the idea of "soft" and turn it into kinetic installations. This project integrates the geometrical study and multi-layer weaving technique to explore the kinetic movement of soft objects from one form to another.

Sofía Guridi is a Latin-american designer and researcher,focus on the intersection of textiles, interaction design, electronics, crafts and material exploration. Her work goes from
experimental discoveries, educational projects and applied research for product development. Her main drives are the exciting new possibilities of communication and expression enabled by soft interfaces and the connection with the human body. She is currently doing her Master of Arts in Contemporary Design, and working as research assistant at Aalto University.

Project concept
Considering the topic of “Soft is Radical”, we ask ourselves about the role of textiles in the context of social movements and rebellion. More specifically, we focus on the digital censorship undergoing by governments all around the world. For example, lately a full internet black out in Cali, Colombia,and the consistent internet censorship upon political topics in China. We argue the power of textiles to spread
messages in secret, coded ways.

As an experimental experience, we expect to develop samples and let the audience of th exhibition discover them using their sense of sight as well as touch, connecting the body with the material. Here, the textures and structures will affect the body movements, in an interconnected relationship between the senses and the agency of the matter. Traditional machines, digital hardware and software, and smart materials will support us to create dynamic fading patterns, touch sensors, movements and generative designs.

Can we trick our eyes, cameras, police, algorithms so that we can express more freely in the context of social movements?