For one week in February, the ArcInTexETN PhD students met in Vilnius for the Common Course 2 – Embodied textile interaction design. This is a research course in which the PhD students explored the dynamic and interactive qualities of textiles and how these relate to ways of being and living.
One of the consortium members of the ArcInTexETN project is Vilnius Academy of Arts, where the common course took place. The academy is also host for two of the PhD students, Juste Peciulyte and Sara Lundberg. The university is situated in the old town of Vilnius, near the beautiful Bernardine Church. The first day started with an introduction lecture by Professor Artüras Tereškinas and then the PhD students made one five-minutes presentation each on the subject “The role of the body in my research”.
During the following days, the PhD students collaborated in workshops – all of them with various themes around the body; ‘Body, space, fabric, sound – Traditions and innovation’, ‘Experimental felting workshops – embodied fiber’ and ‘Second hand, second view, second step’.
“With this common course, we wanted to emphasise and encourage the PhD students and since they have already set their individual research topics, we selected workshop themes that wouldn’t disturb them in their processes” says Egle Bogdaniene, Professor at the Vilnius Academy of Arts.
One of the workshops was about singing. Yes, you read it correctly. The aim of this workshop was to create and explore the concept of body, space, garment and sound synergy. All of the PhD students participated by singing in the Vilnius Academy of Art Choir, which formed a prototype for the workshop. They explored object changes by implementing various fabrics and by manipulating the video/photo projections, light, space and movement.
In the workshop ‘Second hand, second view, second step’, the participants immersed into the world of second hand shops. This workshop emphasised the development of ideas inspired by an already existing cultural, social and material context.
“There’s a very interesting and diverse neighbourhood in Vilnius with numerous second hand shops, artist studios, galleries and a lot of graffiti, Egle Bogdaniene explains. “In this area, you can find and feel the rudiments of the Soviet era. We wanted the PhD students to explore and develop ‘existential design’ in this workshop.”
On the last day of the common course, the PhD students participated in a performance in the attic of the Bernardine Church. Draped in textile headpieces, they moved around in the attic accompanied by live music. The performance ‘Fiber of imagination’ was led by Associate Professor Česlovas Lukenskas.