Flexible due date: if you’re ready to start working, then due Mon Mar 23 by 11:59; else if you need more time to get settled due Wed Mar 25 Mon Mar 30 by 11:59; else email the instructors to work out what’s possible.

For this assignment, we will start to explore the possibilities for making kinetic fabric works within our individual new constraints. The one thing we know you all have is clothing, so the objectives center on discovering new ways for a garment to move. This will be an individual assignment until we work out the best ways to collaborate remotely. This is intended to be a playful, low-stakes assignment to help you see your current resources in a new way. If this will pose any hardship given your new circumstances, just let us know.

The final show as previously envisioned is no longer possible. We are delaying the project start so we can begin a new path toward a different kind of final showcase. In our minds right now, the clearest path is to focus on a final product in the form of video. We have essentially been working in this direction the entire semester by using video documentation in every exercise submission. But we think a new emphasis on video would benefit from stepping back and considering the broader narrative and visual potential of the medium. We are envisioning this assignment as the first of several weekly exercises until we are ready to identify final project ideas. The main emphasis remains upon the motion of the textiles, but now considered more carefully in relation to the frame of the image.


  • Discover an unfamiliar movement within an existing textile artifact
  • Discover an unfamiliar perspective within your personal landscape
  • Explore the interaction of light and fabric
  • Practice composing video as moving image

Process and Approach

In summary, we’d like to you pick a textile artifact, a location in your space, and create a short video clip (e.g 5-10 sec) illustrating a movement of the textile in the context of the space. There are many ways to take this, so following are some suggested approaches.

For a textile, you might choose a garment, on or off the body; this is a versatile solution. But you might also choose something located in the space like a rug or curtain; something useful like a towel or sponge; something discarded like dryer lint; or fabric stock (if you have it).

For a movement, please experiment with your textile. Fabrics drape, fold, stretch, crease, pleat, billow in the air. Textiles absorb and release water, tear, fray, abrade, burn (please be careful). The idea is to find something unfamiliar.

For a location, look around your space carefully from many positions and angles. It may help to look through a camera view to see the effect of the framing; cropping the world to the rectangle of the image can be transformative. Please look high, look low, look inside, look outside. Maybe there is a surprising intersection of angles where parts of the architecture come together; maybe there is an interplay of light and shadow near a window.

Please experiment with the chosen textile movement in the selected space. The camera needs light to see, so as you practice, see how the light intersects the fabric. You may need to move light sources or the camera to shape the illumination. Light from the front will highlight different motions than backlighting. A diffuse light will create very different shadows than a sharp direct light.

As you set up the shot, please consider the full image: what is in each corner, what is foreground or background, what is in focus or defocused, is everything visible deliberately included? A video is a sequence of photographs, and each can be considered as a composition. Ideally you would find a way to brace your camera, or at least use camera motion as a deliberate gesture.

As a composition over time, please consider the nature of your movement: is it an abstraction? Does it convey mood? Is there a distinct narrative? Is it timeless, or is there a beginning and end?

Please see our new Video Resources page for more ideas and tutorials on how to create compelling videos.


Our expectations are very open for this particular assignment. We’d like you to see this as an opportunity to play and settle in to our new mode, so please make your own choices about time and energy.

A minimal outcome could be as simple as just putting your hand in a sock to form a puppet, practicing a few gestures, bracing your camera on a table, and recording a brief performance.

If you have the time and energy, there is much more to be discovered here. Here is a sampling of some potential inquiries:

  • How does a house fan move a blouse?
  • How do waves ripple across a towel?
  • Can wetting fabric reveal hidden layers?
  • Does wearing clothing in an unusual way modify body movement?
  • Can you fold together towels to unwind in a sequence of colors?
  • How does everything in your wardrobe fall through the air?
  • Can you form a sling or trampoline from a towel?

You are also free to intervene by pinning or tying items together. If you feel the itch to make something new, that is also completely fine, but please remember our key objective of framing it in a video sequence as a visual composition.


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

  1. One short video clip. The video should be embedded for direct viewing.
  2. A brief paragraph outlining your explorations: intended effect, surprises, discoveries, successes.


The spirit of the course remains focused on discovery and creative exploration. So please keep in mind the same principles we have emphasized in every assignment:

  1. Stay open and go with your discoveries.
  2. Experimentation and creative exploration is more important than refinement.
  3. Make clear documentation. This is especially true now that the documentation may become a primary creative element in the form of narrative or non-narrative cinematic production.