AIR Interview: Anne-Marie Lavigne
This week we’re talking to another Cycle 6 Artist in Residence, Anne-Marie Lavigne! She recently graduated from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at New York University’s TISCH Program of the Arts and was able to give us some insights to her inspiration, design process, and current projects.
Your work explores digital fabrication, circuitry and textiles. Could you elaborate on how you became interested in combining these?
Textiles have always been used to share information, numbers, laws, stories, etc. Their cultural importance triggered the development of an infinite array of techniques and technology. Since their invention, they have constantly played a crucial role in our lives. Hence the machines used to create textiles, the looms, were the first computational machines.
While in grad school, I started to incorporate fibers into my interactive concepts. I asked myself questions such as what are the impacts of our interconnected era on our contemporary perception of textiles? How can the historical relationship between computing and textile design inform our perception of technologies? As the wave of interactivity transforms every aspect of our daily lives, what would be the woven story of our era?
For a specific project, I started to incorporate circuitry into the textile structure aiming for a seamless relationship between the textile and electronic component. Since then, I have been working on embedding conductive fibers and other new materials to create woven circuitry. I am essentially utilizing weaving techniques to code fibers with traditional textile design tools and practices.
You come from Quebec which has a rich history in craft. Could you talk a little about how this impacted you and your work?
I grew up in a small town facing the St-Lawrence River and the Laurentian Mountains. Several times a year there would be craft markets where women sell handmade goods. My favorite was the catalogne which is a type of very heavy woven rag rug. One day, our neighbor, Ms. Ménard, invited me over to see her loom in the attic. I was fascinated by the object and was instantly drawn to it. It is now one of my main creation tools.
Apart from these influences, where else do you draw inspiration? Can you give specific examples?
I am interested in the historical relationship between computing and textile design. Using a combination of digital and traditional tools is inherent to my creative process. It is sort of a statement on how to approach technological change, which has accelerated recently. Exploring technology through the lens of century old creative gestures and processes can allow for a deeper and smarter sense of time, space and identity.
As source material, I’m interested in the aesthetics of encoded information: punched cards, morse code, bitmap interlacing and woven stories. I recently started to explore topography and cartography symbols. How do we encode nature? Which symbols do we create to make sense of it?
My past experience in interactive storytelling drives me to explore the ability of fibers to transmit knowledge and emotion through visual and tactile interactions.
What modes of making are you focusing on right now in the studio and what excites you about it?
I am very thankful for being part of this residency program and most importantly for all the TAC staff. They are very supportive and knowledgeable. They provide us with the perfect space and atmosphere to experiment.
I continue to weave and am exploring various techniques and surface designs employing this medium. I also learned how to use natural dyes which are amazing to work with. To make certain colors, I use materials and recipes that were discovered and invented centuries ago which I find fascinating.
I also started to spin my own yarn which allows me to extend my creative process to the full sequence of textile design, from the raw/natural fiber to the woven interactive piece. Textiles provide an intimacy – often unconscious – with our environment which we in turn transform and decode with technologies. Exploring the materiality of fibers and mixing them with technology is my way of trying to make sense of a world where the relationships between nature and technologies are becoming more and more intricate while simultaneously becoming more estranged.
You can view more of Anne-Marie’s work on her website: http://emeteuz.com
Photo credits: Anne-Marie Lavigne, 2015.