Final Research for Fall 2015_December



Reflection on Dutch Design Week(DDW) 2015

(VENUE1) THE POST-VOUTURE COLLECTIVE: Their use of recycled spacer fabric material and DIY application is interestingly applicable for those of who want to create their own wear. I also appreciate their user-friendly website to understand their process as easily and quickly as possible.                 – written before the trip

excerpted from

This venue was the first venue I visited in Eindhoven. The DDW2015 website had shown that this venue was located at “You Are Here”. At first, I found this rather a joke on the map because the pointer sign kept showing up as “you are here” when I wasn’t already physically there. Trying to find this place was bizarre, as I was keen to look for a big convention center.

I finally found the store in the middle of a busy shopping street. At the store, I met the founder/creative director of the project, Martijn van Strien. As I briefly described about research on his project before the trip, I explained the only reason that held me back from purchasing his pattern template was the fact that it was DIY. Although his web-design was clear and user-friendly designed, as someone that can not afford spending more time on “building clothing”, I found the process rather a hassle compared to simply purchasing and receiving the finished garment that are ready to be worn.

CK: Who will actually take time to build it himself? How about incorporating more of an importance in WHY consumer should DIY by providing more personal stories?

MS: The idea is to get creative-minded people to create their own stories as they build it themselves.

As our conversation continued, we talked about his intention behind providing such service and what we imagine the influence of computer-based fabrication method to settle in personal lives.

Strien expressed his pure wish to change the entire system of fashion production. He once worked in fashion industry after graduating De Witte Dame. He saw that receiving samples or yardages of fabric took such a long process as it often involved labor trade from Third World countries. He believed the process of shipping goods between countries is loosing efficiency in energy, time, fuel, and etc.

Strien imagines a system where clothing production can happen in a smaller local circle. For example, with development of MakerSpace, if the consumer were to download a pattern of clothing, he can find the closest fabrication lab and stop by with any material he desires to get the fabric cut out from a laser cutter. In this imagined desire, his presentation at You Are Here was practical and efficient, as the store was located right in front of the fabrication lab that was equipped with laser cutter.

Strien offered customers an option of purchasing pre-made clothing at the store or downloadable template with a help and demonstration from Strien to cut the provided fabric at the fabrication lab right across the store. As his line was called “The Post-Couture Collective”, a customer can provide his or her measurement so that Strien can program his design to scale down or scale up.

I appreciate the idea of local involvement and interaction, however, I also believe in fair trade between countries to keep the world’s economy in its circulation. Additionally, I suggested Strien to consider wider audience besides a specific audience as the brands that store You Are Here carried were focused in specific age (late-10’s to early 30’s) with higher income. For example, his clothing itself can be designed for broader and more generalized people as there are designers for Target or Walmart clothing. However, we both understood that in order to grab attention from the fashion industry that he specifically aims to be transformed, it was more feasible to get attention from the specific audience of You Are Here.

I started my first day of DDW2015 after having a mind-engaging intensive conversation with Strien. Looking back, I realized our DIY conversation has influenced with material choices and building technology in my new direction of project.

You Are Here

(VENUE2) De Witte Dame Graduation Show 2015

Untitled The_All_In_One_Veenhuizen_Time_Files_
by Jeroen Heeren

I have not seen any of Design Academy Eindhoven students’ work before the trip. However, it was on my list to stop by the graduation show. I didn’t have much expectation when I entered the space.

What I remember seeing is generally students’ innovative interpretation of toy designs and interaction with children and space. After cruising through the first hall, my attention was immediately drawn to one table that exhibited a rotary speaker on top. I found it unbelievable since I had been imagining my project to be in the form of rotary speakers before coming to Netherlands. I have only seen a demonstration of the speaker online that when I finally got to see it in person, I got too excited that I had to share my thoughts and listen to what the artist Jeroen Heeren had to say.

Heeren presented a table of two keyboards (facing each other) and a computerized keyboard that is installed with matching chorus button game (like Guitar Hero). He explained the project was inspired from visiting Veenhuizen’s Esserheem prison as he found a need for musical lessons. Existing do-it-yourself programs at the site required a lot of additional cables, devices and control systems, which in the end exhausted prisoners from learning and continuing the interest. Therefore, Heeren created a fun game that allows self-taught process during individual leisure activities and an option of human interactive system that some prisoners needed help with.

What I appreciated from his project is his decision to develop a whimsical and easy-to-play game that is designed to learn by you as well as to face each other when learning from the other. First, simple sensory involvement with the complicated machine was amusing. In the next step when there is an interaction between two figures in front of each other seemed to be an answer to provide more opportunities to socialize.

Following is how seeing Heeren’s project had an influence on my work:
1. Absorbing self-learning process through machine-engaging activity
2. Providing an opportunity for physical human interaction
3. Visually presenting the connection between different machines
4. Simplifying the complicated/nonsensical machines to an easily-understandable system

The_All_In_One_Veenhuizen_Time_Files_Keyboard_To_The_Rescue project photos:
Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 11.53.03 AM Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 11.53.11 AM


Coming back from Dutch Design Week & Netherlands, I acknowledge some potential of what my organic shaped gears can become. I arrived back to the State on Wednesday, 10/21/15. The next day the entire Fiber department senior thesis group had a field trip to Fabric Workshop and Museum (FWM) in Philadelphia.

At the FWM, I came across the following picture from a book at the gift store. I’ve considered a different material to approach making gears so when I came in contact with this photo, I was immediately excited. The photo is called self-lubricating gears and lubrication cogwheels, manufactured by Vereinigte Filzfabriken AG.


On the way back in the bus ride, I reviewed the photo of felt gears. And a question after the other in my head finally hit me. If the gears are supposed to initiate movement, they must be most-efficient. Therefore, the material must contribute to its efficiency. However, the felt material is rather absorbing friction, which limits gears’ potential to radiate energy outward. Then I realized more that what I’ve been modifying the shape of practical gears can seem nonsensical for some. As I countered the material oddity with felt gears, I reflected myself and the project. I kept sketching and I was yet struggling with the non-efficient practicality of organic gears. When I was brainstorming for generated movement of organic gears, I naturally ended up embracing that I’m eventually interested in movement, almost ignoring the fact that it is organic-shaped. Having myself removed from the work and coming back with fresh perspective of gears, I realized what I eventually want to present is the movement and human interaction within it.

THEREFORE!! I’m very much excited to announce my new direction of work, which will be a playground for both adults and children.
*Rule for the playground*
-Two human must interact in order to initiate/witness the movement
-Gears will be human-powered.

I’m imagining my organic shape gear to be replaced in the platform of roundabouts:

Roundabouts 1

I think I am unconsciously influenced(&impressed) by the arrangement for kids play at Dutch Design week:

IMG_2099IMG_2098 IMG_2096 IMG_2095  IMG_2093        IMG_2106    IMG_2100

IMG_2104(<From Archeology Museum>)IMG_2102

Other possibilities with organic gear playground:

31. Make a seating
2. (either/or)
Make a handle

< Light Drawing

organic shaped gear making

This semester, or in this class, I want to explore making different shapes of gears. I have discussed a way to create a system by writing a script on grasshopper to generate gears that are organically shaped. I can only imagine how a set of gears will mesh together. Because my way of making irregular shaped gears has been done manually, requiring tedious tracing by hands. However, using the software will allow the work to be accurate, faster to be reproduce, and easier to apply in other practices.

A struggle I have in making of gears is that I’m constantly challenged by the juxtaposition of efficiency and inefficiency. I keep questioning what is necessary for our daily life. Yes, we need functional, efficient mechanism to assist the speed of life. However, we also need amusement and surprise. My art practice plays a role in the “surprise” part. As I desire to pursue this idea of making irregular shapes, I have doubts in art practice because I cannot fathom what it will become just yet. The objective stays in teaching statement, “challenging norms to discover unconventional possibilities.” Yes the organic gears are functional in a way they move, but they are not efficiently functional. It’s functional in a way it engages mind and proposes an idea. How will I make something that is so convincing for the individuals, or in the broader picture of the mass, to feel the necessity to surround themselves with it? I have just come across an article from and it says, “what art is supposed to do – brings out our emotions, makes us question ourselves and the world around us, and most importantly of all, it makes us think.” And the more I encounter others’ categorization of “art”, “architecture”, “design”, and etc, I become so frustrated.

I could also think negatively that the gears can be functional yet not efficient, or useless functional mechanisms. This association appears in my mind because the gears themselves are “supposed” to be efficient in order to be served. As I continue the research and witness the visual outcomes of the project, I hope to solve contradictions/questions that lie within myself.

Screen Shot 2015-06-14 at 4.15.52 AM