Sabine Seymour published her second book entitled Functional Aesthetics - Visions on Fashionable Technology few months ago, following her successful title Fashionable Technology from 2008. Seymour takes everything into perspective. Firstly, the design of the book - binding and the concept is rather unique. The surface of the hardbook is covered with beige rip fabric showing softness and roughness of the used material at the same time.
The covering, of course, associate with the sustainability, textile arts, the sense and tangibility of the textures, vivid glimpses to manufacture productions from the time of our ancestors as a sort of a homage to numerous anonymous tailors from the era when sewing machines were a necessity of every household. On the front cover you can see immediately the sign of new digitized era - the QR code. The opening photography is the artwork Garment Graffiti by Thomas Voorn showing the openness and inspirations which characterize the wearable technology scene from the beginning (just remind yourself on the whole guerilla knitting and yarn bombing movement, too. A field triggered by street art, graffiti and hip hop). DIY crafters and tinkerers, programmers and hobbyists, engineers and fashion designers, bio artists and performers could all plunge deep in the medium of the material, regardless of the method, no matter of the preferences: high tech or low tech. The book opens with a theoretical discussion on Functional aesthetics explaining points of view on `augmented body of Fashionable Wearables', as Saymour stated during her TEDx Vienna talk in November 2010. The relations of the body itself, bodies between each others', body in correlation with the space and multiple relations between bodies and the space are in Seymour's focus. The theoretical parts of all Sabine Saymour's texts are never pretentious, or hardly readable, because the author obviously find her self more into practice than in pure discourse. The book has this tasty narrative and does not serve to author as a moment to `show you how smart I am', but to explain rather different tech and science fields in order to be understandable to either student, designer, scientist or DIY `passionista' hooked up to textile and electronic crafts, we call today wearable technology. Functional Aesthetics is divided into following chapters: Body sculpture, The Garment as Amplifier of Fantasy, Scientific Couture, The Epidermis as Metaphor, Material Explorations, Transparent Sustainability, Woven Interface and Context as Prerequisite.
Seymour's Functional Aesthetics is a logical follow up of her above mentioned precursor title, showing us how the scene is being basically more oriented in last two years towards sculpturally oriented garments, as well as raising high awareness towards performative arts and spaces. Origami ornaments, huge plastic shields, sometimes massive sculptures in modern makeover with a huge plasticity layer, low tech or organic materials are all included as a sign that not only the market and huge companies have seriously accepted this fast developing niche of art&fashion&tech playground, but people willing to explore new senses of embodiment and garments. Bioorganic chemistry and soft circuits together in this huge landscape of numerous combinations. As for the technology issue regarding printing and publishing industry in relation to the new media, Seymour's book follows new trends by publishing QR codes on every page, making this book easy readable in terms of ubiquitity on your mobile phones and tablet devices. (originally published on: [...]