Textile design collection 'Poetry of the hardware' (diploma work)
Cables with Cachet
Stéphanie Baechler has won a Swiss Federal Design Grant with her degree piece 'The Poetry of Hardware'. As the title of her work suggests, she capitalizes on the friction between two very different worlds. Having learned from experience, while studying at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, that even such a profoundly sensual field as textile design can no longer do without computers and other technological gadgetry, she decided to exploit the potential of the supposed contradiction.
Her use of hardware components explicitly highlights the difference between sensuality and 'nonsensuality'. But what does that mean? In the course of her research, it quickly became clear to Baechler that she did not want to develop 'intelligent' and technically functional clothing or textiles. Instead, as she explains, she seeks to integrate the digital world into her fabrics by translating it into elements tinged with romanticism and nostalgia. Sometimes she manipulates images so that, on looking at the fabric, it is not immediately obvious that what we see are diodes, circuit boards, ribbon cables and other technical paraphernalia. By miniaturising various electronic components such as iodes, resistors and capacitators, and arranging them in new and unexpected juxtapositions, she tricks the eye in astonishing ways. Using burnt-out embroidery, she creates effects which, at first glance, resemble the motifs popularly used in the traditional Swiss folk art of the 'Scherenschnitt' (paper cutouts). But this is no rustic scene of garlanded animals being herded to alpine pastures: these are USB sticks, connectors, headphones and chargers. What exactly do we see here? The world that opens up before our eyes is rich and sensual, and it is fed by the technoid world of the computer. Their seeming incompatibility is banished with remarkable ease. The result is a range of textiles without peer.