RESHAPE18 | sensing materialities
wearable technology category

Designer: Patricia Wu Wu


A speculative fashion design project that draws upon the story of Franz Kafka’s ‘The Cares of a Family Man,’ where a purposeless creature named Odradek, outlives human life. “The idea that he is likely to survive me” unhinges the narrator’s mind with a painful realisation that humans may not be the ultimate surviving species after all. The artefact carries the material embodiment as well as the underlying philosophical layer about our relationship with the Anthropocene, and how might that transform the way we and think and design for the body.

Here the concept of the human is conditioned into a host of material forces, assemblages, and intensities, in which Odradek is extruded in the form of a post-human exoskeleton, one that will outlive its wearer. The material output aims to bring non-anthropocentric design thinking as potential dialogues and modes of engagement within design practices. The creation of Odradek begins with an energetic matter coming into being, a matter of secretion and liberation, from which billions of particles are simulated within 200 frames per second and computed into ongoing spaces of transformation.

During this emission process, the particles formation are manipulated and increased further with turbulent and swarming forces, untila desired object is meshed, mirrored and later cloned into dense material clusters. An accompanying video shows the simulation process and the different morphological potentials it can lead before choosing the final design. The chosen geometries capture the multiple instances of its becoming, into a moment frozen in time, which is presented in the final form of a 3D printed face mask made of TPU.

The diagrams represent the thought process and design formation of the artefact, showcasing both the computational iterations and physical prototyping developed throughout. The 3D printed design concept is explored via a part to the whole relationship with the intention to create a material ecology for the body. Rather than seeing the geometries as separate entities, the components are cloned and distributed along the surface of a face and gradually animated into growth eruptions.
These geometries are cloned from 400 to 600 times through different variations in size, density and noise distortions. Each part of the overall clone containing hundreds of components, are coiled and twisted within each other. The production of the artefact is materialised in multiple stages using FDM printing, and spread over the course of over 300 hours printing time. Once all the parts are 
physically visualised, they are sculpted into a face mask through welding techniques.


The state of materiality inherits an aesthetic sensibility that is intentionally influenced by the simulated conditions of high-resolution algorithmic forces, and the chosen material for its flexible properties. As such, the developing outcome exhibits an emergent behaviour performed between the communication of the machine being fed with an overflow of information and the transition of the material language. As if blinding the machine to produce a corrupted information, thus resulting in the disruption and mutation of the original geometry to form into gradients of growth and decay.


The overall economical estimation for this project comes down to under 100 pounds.