Kukkia and Vilkas are the first XS Labs experiments in developing kinetic electronic garments, within the context of fashion and personal expression. We have integrated the shape memory alloy Nitinol in textile substrates to create two animated dresses that move or change shape over time, using resistive heating and control electronics.
Joanna Berzowska, Marcelo Coelho and
Hanna Søder © XS Labs 2005
The Kukkia flowers frame the face and slowly open and close over time, like a caress. The dress does not respond to proximity, mood, or the stock market. Rather, it is an expressive and behavioral kinetic sculpture that develops a visceral relationship with the wearer. The Kukkia flowers are constructed out of felt and silk petals that provide relative rigidity and integrate stitched Nitinol (a shape memory alloy) wire, which enables the slow, organic movement.
Vilkas is a dress with a kinetic hemline on the right side that rises over a 30 second interval to reveal the knee and lower thigh. It is constructed of heavy hand-made felt with a very light yellow cotton element that contracts through the use of hand-stitched Nitinol wires. Once heated, the Nitinol easily pulls the cloth together, creating a wrinkling effect. This movement is slowly countered by gravity and the weight of the felt. The hemline is programmed to rise autonomously, not in response to any external or internal input. This creates a kinetic dress whose behavior can be playful and even desirable, but can also be problematic in the wrong social situation. The wearer can wait for the hemline to fall, which can take several minutes, or can actively pull it back down. This initiates a physical conversation between the wearer and the garment, as they fight over control of the body's real estate.