Sven Bossuyt and Petra Kaminen Mosher
A dialogue between materials and the senses
This project is about examining and expressing the materiality of one discipline into another, for the purpose of involving senses in addition to the visual for the representation of scientific data sets. Professor Bossuyt’s research focuses on the properties of materials at the microstructure level and how these properties relate to mechanical performance. Through software, measurements that start out as digital images or electron micrographs are converted into mappings of derived quantities across the examined specimen surface. The utility of such combined data sets for obtaining new insights is limited by our ability to observe and contemplate all the information together. Thus, there is the possibility to enhance our understanding of the phenomena captured in these data sets through multi-sensory interpretation of more information that can be represented together if more of our senses are activated. At first glance, the use of soft textile materials to realise the information of data sets from hard, inert materials might seem like an incongruous juxtaposition. Reminiscent of the way that materials research is about the intrinsic properties of materials, the process of designing and weaving a ryijy also involves the careful consideration of the material properties of its components. Ryijy invites you to interact with an object through touch as well as sight, and potentially involving all of the senses. Weaving and knotting disparate elements together into the ryijy, each varied separately across the ryijy in accordance with the variations of one of the measured quantities across the specimen, enables the researcher to see and feel related information together, in the same place on the ryijy. The samples presented here are our first tentative steps at using ryijy this way, and exploring its possibilities for engaging the brain and thought process in novel ways.