The research project introduces the fiction of “Digital Materials” and aims to show how an iterative process of describing, analyzing and prototyping textile materials might contribute to the creation of non-determined forms of tangible interaction between humans and digital technologies. The idea of designing “Digital Materials” is driven by continuous sensory experiences of the physical world entering into a dynamic engagement with the infinite discrete possibilities of the digital world.
The term “Digital Materials” refers to a speculative situation in which digital processes are embodied directly in physical structures, which enables materials to transform dynamically and in a self-acting way and in which humans tangibly interact with such digitally infused materials. The exploration is carried out with textiles, because textiles share an intimate relationship with the body, offer versatile haptic and functional properties and their binary construction principle is historically connected to the development of computers.
In addition to the possibility of future interaction scenarios, the project is primarily concerned with the investigation of the basic elements that underlie its conception. Therefore the fundamental principles of relations between the analog and the digital within material structures are examined through a closely intertwined process of prototyping and reflection.
The approach of the research project “Digital Materials” converts the understanding of digital technologies as tools to an understanding of digital technologies as materials. This conceptual shift allows to concentrate on the interaction process itself rather than focus on its results. The project explores the question of how materials might be (re)developed, (re)constructed and (re)used in such a way that digital information may be absorbed by the materials and expressed in (dynamic) manifestations or self-transformation of the materials.
Veronika Aumann (1985, DE) is a textile designer and researcher. Her work focuses on relations between humans, machines and materials and arises from a process-based and fictional approach to design.
After studying Textile Design at Weißensee Academy of Arts, Berlin and Chelsea College of Art and Design, London, she worked with responsive textiles and shape-changing materials with and for partners such as the Fraunhofer Institutes IZM / IWU, the Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, the Design Research Lab or the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence. Currently, she is a researcher in the field of Active Matter at Weißensee Academy of Arts within the frame of the DiGiTaL excellence programme.
Aumann serves on the selection committee of Designfarm Berlin, in the design collective Beyond Materials and in the Forschungskreis – Production of Knowledge in Art and Design. Her work has been shown at i.e. Bauhaus Dessau, Martin-Gropius-Bau Berlin, London Design Festival and Dutch Design Week. She regularly teaches and conducts workshops, most recently at the eLAB - Laboratory for Interactive Technologies at Weißensee Academy of Arts, Berlin.