Close to the body was a research collaboration between IaaC (Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia), EsDI Universitat Ramon Llul, and TU/E Eindhoven Netherlands. It focused on novel methods of developing fashion design by using interaction design, electronics and digital fabrication.
The first week of this research focussed on the experiential in the design process. In a way, you could call this a bottom up approach: our designs grew out of a personal experience each one of us had in Valldaura. This is the opposite of the top down way of designing, where an abstract, theoretical concept is the point of departure. The motto was: “show, don’t tell”. We were encouraged to focus on what we felt during our experiences in Valldaura and explore those very subjective feelings through quick prototypes.
The first day we spent mostly in Valldaura, a place familiar for the IAACers. Each one of us had picked a particular experience related to the place and we performed it for the group on a location we chose. What we learned here was to zoom in on our senses. For example: what was it that we really liked about lying down in the grass? Were we more into looking at the clouds, or was it really about the sensation of touching the grass? We tried to avoid theory and looked at the microlevel, the small details.
Sietske taught us some techniques to build upon those experiences: through movement, through performing them. We did this collectively and we saw how what we did influenced others and vice versa. There were also some attempts to form groups based on similarities in the movements, but that only really started to work after we all did a very quick prototype of an object that enhanced our movement.