Due: Mon, Feb 17, 11:59PM

Integrating kinetic structures into clothing offers opportunities both for a close integration with the motions of daily life and the use of kinetic expression in a variety of human environments. We are assigning you to use an existing piece of clothing as a base to modify and extend in order to focus your efforts on the kinetic elements without also needing to fabricate an entire garment.

The conceptual prompt for the week is camouflage: we would like you to work in pairs to create a single modified garment which uses a kinetic effect to transform between two states, each of which blends naturally into a separate environment. This might be either a social or physical environmental shift, e.g. outside vs inside, work vs play, home vs party.

Please think carefully how to integrate the costume motion seamlessly into the natural motion of the body. That is, it is acceptable to include specific control elements, e.g. pull strings, but the result will be stronger and more garment-like if the natural movements of the body itself actuate the transition (rather than simply using an extra hand to pull strings). We have seen numerous examples of each approach in the assignments to date.

As usual we are offering several specific techniques you may choose to use, but any of the means we have employed so far are available. The new elements we are demonstrating in class include sleeve deconstruction and reconstruction, sleeve extension, elastic and Velcro, and Bowden cable transmission. The previous approaches are all still available, e.g. embedding cardboard or dowel rods, building Miura folds, four-bar linkages, etc.

We are expecting one costume per pair, documented with a single blog post authored by the pair. Working in pairs will create new questions and opportunities revolving around collaboration. We would like you to work toward a mutual result, deciding together on the conceptual selection of environments, the camouflage approach, the specific kinetic solutions, and the technical execution. It will make sense to divide the fabrication work as possible, but please be sure to continue developing your individual skill. It may be tempting to divide work along previous experience, but it would be more valuable individually and more exploratory to choose tasks based on inexperience and opportunities for skill development.


Each pair should please create a single short post on the course site with the following:

  1. One short video clip showing the movement of the mechanism. The video should be embedded for direct viewing.
  2. A brief paragraph outlining your explorations: intended effect, surprises, discoveries, successes.
  3. A few sentences about the collaboration: how you go about collaborating and sharing the project? What did you learn about collaborating through this assignment?


Below are the criteria we will be using to assess your assignment. As you are exploring the possibilities for this assignment, keep these criteria in your focus:

  1. Stay open and go with your discoveries. We are most interested in seeing what you discover that is engaging and is working, not simply an implementation of an idea you have predetermined. For example, you may be trying to execute a specific idea, but along the way you discover something that is much more engaging or works more smoothly than your original idea. Put aside the original plan and go with the new discovery that is actually working.
  2. Experimentation and creative exploration is more important than refinement. The purpose of this assignment is for you to use your time trying multiple experiments and ideas, rather than perfecting only a few. Your resulting experiments need to work but do not need to be highly refined. Develop your experiments enough so that they are convincing and understandable, but not so much that you get stuck in the details of perfect construction. For now, accept that you are using temporary materials to create your experiments (tape, zip ties, etc.) and that there will still be room for further refinement.
  3. Make clear documentation. Your online documentation will be how we experience many of your assignments. It is very important that your documentation clearly communicates your projects. Tips: Remove distracting items from the background; make sure your camera is in focus and your lens is clean; use a tripod or other support to stabilize your camera; if you are shooting video, orient your camera in the landscape (horizontal) format; make sure your project is well lit and without distracting shadows.