The use of electronics and technology as art is a budding concept. The works of art and fashion that have been created thus far are interesting, often mesmerizing, beautiful and captivating. Lots of these works include the use of electricity conductivity, LED lights and small, portable batteries. These lights and wires and batteries can be used to add lighting elements and interactive pieces to works of art. The batteries and light create the light, but in many cases, as with the Chibitronics sample activities, the use must interact, move their finger across a certain spot, to activate the light. IT is really cool to watch, and even though the elements and materials are pretty simple, it still seems fascinating.
Leah Buechley shows in her TED Talk video another similar technique to creating electronic art. However instead of using copper wire, as with Chibitronics, her and her fellow scientist/engineers have create a pen that write using a type of ink that conducts electricity. So, essentially you can draw and doodle or design, attach batteries and lights to certain points of the drawing, and it will light up! It was pretty incredible to watch. The great thing about her design, even though it it undoubtedly more expensive that the Chibitronics kits, and assuredly less easy to access, it more smooth integrate current art concepts with future ones. Leah’s design take a common art concept, drawing and elevates it into a technological art type with the use of batteries and lights. Her ability to allow artists to still draw and do something familiar really helps bridge the gap between traditional art and electronic art. Leah has also written a book called “Sew Electric” with contains many different art projects for both children and adults that incorporate electronics into the arts. She says one of her main pruposes for writing the book was to “get people excited about electronics and programming. We hope it will help people play, tinker, hack, and learn,” a common goal that many of us educators have as well (Mellis, 2014). Her book seems like a really great starting off point for beginners with electronic art, like myself, and I hope to get my hands on that book soon!
As I was looking at these electronic arts and crafts, I started by looking at the Chibitronics and sketching with electronics and the beautiful lLED light daisy painting (https://vimeo.com/40904471) and I was beginning to get pretty fascinated by these products. Then I began to look at the electronic items that you can wear, and the light-up eyeshadow in particular and I started thinking that these fashion designs were starting to look like “The Hunger Games” and I was wondering what the point of doing that to clothing was. Then I thought about it some more and I and thought, what is the point of adding lights and electronics to anything? Then I remembered that the purpose is just to create are to create and be expressive. The works, though some may look strange, they are beautiful expressions technologic and electronic culture and the advances and adaptations that are taking place in art and fashion. Lighting and electronics are a new medium through which artists can use to create.
I did some more research, and in addition to becoming electronic, fashion and clothing, and perhaps one day, works of art, are becoming ‘smart’. There are pieces of clothing that light up, and the color that is displayed is dependent on the wearers mood (http://www.aol.com/article/2015/06/30/smart-fashion-is-the-new-frontier-for-tech/21203405/). Clothing is becoming a part of wearable technology and the Internet of Things!