RESHAPE19 | Cognified matter
Wearable Technology category
Laser Dye – If Time Was Wearable And Foldable

Designer: Wei Chieh Shih

Reshape19-Laser Dye

An interdisciplinary project inspired by the oldest alternative photography process “cyanotype”:Laser dye is an research about alternative photography process on textile, by exploiting UV laser projection and fabric pre-coated with photosensitive ink (cyanotype), it creates permanent image on textiles. Due to there’s no requirement of negative film for the image developing compare to the traditional photography exposure process, it is able to create relatively larger image in photography level resolution on ready made garment such as second hand t-shirt or shoes, or even on fragile materials. However it is only applicable to nature fibre.

In the very beginning of the project, the idea was to develop a method to preserve the laser audiovisual noise performance in tangible and permanent notation graphic in real-time. The first prototype was a blue round graphic created by laser path which is moving in coil motion in varies speed. The slower the laser dot move across the textile the darker the image is. The speed of laser dot is converted from the music audio data. The notation documents the change of sound in different frequencies. Eventually the technique is recognized as an innovative dyeing technique generate result in between craftsmanship and digital print.
This inventive fabrication idea challenges the possibilities to merge photography and digital prints disciplines in fashion. As well as to explore the poetic within the culture of wear by exploiting physics, music as part of the fashion elements. It also possible to make the prints onto used or recycled old wears. Moreover, compare to the old dyeing manufacturing system, relatively laser dye uses much less water with proper thickness of fabric in the garment design. It also possible to provide surface imaging ability on biological alternative material for fashion such as garment made of kombucha or mycelium in the future. Also it is possible to develop shoes or garment with pre-coated fabric for printing purpose.

Reshape19-Laser Dye

The chemical required for the laser dye process is inexpensive, 400 grams of sensitizer in liquid form is sufficient for making one garment, it is proximately 10 dollars. The DIY laser projector costs around 200 to 250 dollars. The concept is expected to be presented in an audiovisual performance, the pattern is converted from sound frequencies and will be given as visible notation. Conceptually the time is documented into a wearable pattern as the audio slowly being converted into textile pattern.