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Art

Katsumi Hayakawa's Congested Cities Are Constructed with Scrupulously Cut Paper Buildings

August 21, 2020

Grace Ebert

“Bonsai City” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, fake grass, acrylic elements, 8 x 118 x 21 1/2 inches. All images © Katsumi Hayakawa, courtesy of the artist and McClain Gallery, shared with permission

Meticulously cutting each piece by hand, Katsumi Hayakawa crafts dense cityscapes and urban districts from white paper. The Japanese artist assembles towers and various cube-like structures that are positioned in lengthy rows, resembling congested streets. Dotted with primary colors and metallic elements, the sculptures evoke electronic equipment like microchips and motherboards, which references the relationship between modern cities and technology. Hayakawa’s use of an ephemeral, organic material further contrasts the manufactured nature of both urban areas and technological inventions.

To explore more of the artist’s projects that are concerned with the complexity of modern life, head to Artsy.

 

“Fata Morgana” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, glitter, 25 1/2 x 119 1/2 x 51 1/2 inches

“Bonsai City” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, fake grass, acrylic elements, 8 x 118 x 21 1/2 inches

“Bonsai City” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, fake grass, acrylic elements, 8 x 118 x 21 1/2 inches

“Intersection” (2017), watercolor paper and mixed media, 29 7/16 x 59 1/16 x 5 1/2 inches

“Intersection” (2017), watercolor paper and mixed media, 29 7/16 x 59 1/16 x 5 1/2 inches

“Fata Morgana” (2014), paper, inkjet printing, glitter, 25 1/2 x 119 1/2 x 51 1/2 inches

“See from the side 3” (2014), paper, wood, acrylic reflective sheet, acrylic mirror with blue film, 8 3/4 x 50 1/4 x 11 inches

 

 



Design

Unused Microchips, Motherboards, and Other Electronic Waste Make This Upcycled Watch Tick

August 7, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Vollebak

Recent reports estimate that the world produced 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste last year alone, a record high that’s expected only to rise. In an effort to prevent digging up precious materials like gold, silver, and aluminum just to return them to the ground later on as trash, the sustainable fashion brand Vollebak has introduced Garbage Watch.

As its name suggests, the upcycled timepiece is constructed with old motherboards, microchips, and computer parts, utilizing bright electrical cords as the strap with an open face and exposed mechanisms. “We’ve taken an ‘inside-out’ design approach with the Garbage Watch, making the functional inner workings highly visible,” said Vollebak co-founder Nick Tidball in a statement to Inhabitat. “Our aim was to reframe an often invisible and hazardous end of the supply chain, and make people think deeply about the impact of treating their wearables in a disposable manner.”

An undertaking in partnership with the Wallpaper* Re-Made project, the timepiece officially launches in 2021, although a waitlist is currently open. Until then, find more of Vollebak’s sustainable designs on Instagram.

 

 

 



Design

Waste Electrical Wires Are Woven into Delicate, Lace Garments by Designer Alexandra Sipa

July 14, 2020

Anna Marks

All images © Alexandra Sipa, shared with permission

United Kingdom-based designer Alexandra Sipa creates spellbinding accessories and garments from waste electrical wires. The Central Saint Martins’ graduate initially was inspired to experiment with wires as textiles when her headphones broke, leading her to extract the colorful coils and cables to create wire lace. 

The designer learned to craft vibrant lace from YouTube videos, books, and her own mishaps, and one of her enchanting dresses took 1,000 hours to complete. Many cultural and historical references are woven into her pieces, including her interest in extreme austerity and heightened femininity in Romania. “The aesthetic of Bucharest is a mix of French architecture, grey brutalist apartment complexes, and mega communist structures (like the Palace of Parliament), while the women are usually very careful about the way they look, getting all dressed up for a supermarket trip and loving the ultra-glamorous, ultra-feminine look.”

Objects of nostalgia, the ruffled garments evoke her Romanian grandmother’s damaged, garden fence. They mirror the endless colors that were revealed throughout the cracks. More broadly, Sipa’s work is dedicated to how her grandmother cares for her household objects, reinventing them with time. “Every time I visit her, there’s something changed around the house, something moved, something repainted,” the designer says. “She will make any object look like a treasure, no matter where it came from. That stuck with me.”

Sipa’s garments echo her views on sustainability, and she believes that otherwise unwanted products should be seen as an opportunity to create new inventions and discover unusual techniques. “As my practice is rooted in creating luxury products out of local waste sources, my collection tackles one of the fastest-growing sources of waste in electronic waste, reaching 50 million tons in 2020,” she explains.

The designer’s goal is the complete circularity of her garments. “The industry is becoming aware of the urgency for change due to the climate emergency and the increasing demand from consumers for more sustainable options,” she explains. “However, companies need to recognize the business opportunity in the circular fashion industry.” The designer also stresses the importance of recognizing the economic, environmental, and social impacts. “ Fashion needs to become more sustainable from the inside out, not only in the materials used but also ethically in the treatment and compensation of workers in the production chain and workers designing the clothes.”

To follow Sipa’s vividly woven designs, head to Instagram, where she shares updates on new pieces and glimpses into her studio. (via Euronews)

 

 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Making of :::: Look 1 from ROMANIAN CAMOUFLAGE. Discarded Electrical Wires Lace Dress. @bafcsm @1granary #bafcsm20

A post shared by ALEXANDRA SIPA (@alexandrasipa) on

 

 



Art

Constellations of Found Electronics Shape Faces on Vintage Rackets by Artist Leonardo Ulian

June 14, 2020

Grace Ebert

All images © Leonardo Ulian, shared with permission

London-based artist Leonardo Ulian (previously) merges two disparate elements in his sprawling assemblages: he speckles analog equipment with an array of electronic pieces found in digital devices. Created while in quarantine, Ulian’s Contrived Object series is comprised of vintage tennis rackets displaying intricate constellations of metal parts, microchips, and other found objects that form an abstract face.

The egg shape of the “head” of these vintage rackets reminded me of something yet familiar but at the moment lost. The result is a composition that resembles vaguely a human face made from a recycled object from the past, the racket, clashing with the rest of the elements, electronic parts, and the found objects. Then, an anomaly called “pareidolia,” the mechanism that leads our brain to bring things and objects of all kinds back to known and sensible forms does the rest. Will these be the faces of the future?

To view more of Ulian’s precisely arranged projects, follow him on Instagram.

 

 

 



Art Craft

Rope Twists into Massive, Fibrous Circuit Boards by Artist Windy Chien

June 10, 2020

Grace Ebert

(2019), cotton, 24k gold vintage Japanese thread, and walnut. All images © Windy Chien, shared with permission

California-based artist Windy Chien began her career with macrame before becoming frustrated with its limitations. “I gave myself an assignment to learn one new knot every day for one year, and thereby increase my vocabulary of knots and become fluent in what I now recognize to be a language—the universal language of knots,” she says. The year-long exploration spurred her more recent series of Circuit Boards, large wall hangings of winding rope with gold, red, and white thread wound around the strands’ ends. 

Spanning up to 24 feet, the fiber pieces resemble conductive pathways and tracks made from metal. While broadly inspired by electronics, Chien also is influenced by Massimo Vignelli’s 1972 redesign of the New York City subway map and fashion editor Diana Vreeland’s belief that “the eye has to travel.”

I find the metaphor of the journey to be potent and relevant here. For me, the visual pleasure derived from the Circuit Boards comes from choosing one rope end and following it to the conclusion of its journey through the work. Electronic circuit boards connect and conduct power; subway maps (maps in general) provide a kind of simulation of a journey, a guide to choices and paths. 

The artist tells Colossal that by examining the inherent tension in knots, she hopes to consider both their physical function and aesthetic value. “The neurosurgeon Leonard Shlain pointed out that art interprets the visible world, while physics charts its unseen workings. I think of my work as a fusion of the two,” she writes. “Art matters because it voices the unvoiceable—it is human experience distilled.”

Follow Chien’s work that imbues traditional craft techniques with technology on Instagram, and take a peek inside her studio.

 

(2020), 48 x 72 inches

2020), 48 x 72 inches

(2019), synthetic sailing line, leather, and walnut, 3 x 10 feet

(2019), sunbrella line and trim, walnut, 4.5 x 24 feet

(2019), sunbrella line and trim, walnut, 4.5 x 24 feet

“Lava Flow” (2019), synthetic sailing line, leather, and walnut

 

 



Design Music

Barcodes Function as Techno Instrument That's Played with Reused Scanners

February 25, 2020

Grace Ebert

Designed to recycle outdated electronics, multiple musical projects by Electronicos Fantasticos utilize a version of the barcode system found on every package on store shelves. When scanned, each pattern sends a signal to its audio component, emitting the corresponding sound wave. The black and white stripes produce a variety of rhythmic and tonal noises in two instrumental projects: the Barcoder, shown above, and Barcodress, a pattern-covered gown that’s played when the wearer moves in front of the scanner. Artist and musician Ei Wada (previously) leads the design group, which said in a statement that its goal is to create an entire orchestra of similar instruments. To watch more of the barcode projects in use, head to Instagram and YouTube.

 

 

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