The most enriching and pleasurable way to discover works of art is when they are presented by the artists themselves. For our quarterly Director’s meeting, CreateVoice members had a great opportunity to meet the T/Shirt Issue, one of the V&A’s current Artists in Residence who revealed all about the synthesis of fashion, design, and technology in their new collection, inspired by their time at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, added a cherry on top by sharing his ideas on how such a collection contributed to the overall practice of the museum.
CreateVoice members at the V&A Residency Studios
This Berlin-based collective settled down in London temporarily after they were selected to take over the V&A Residency and work with the Museum's collections in order to come up with something inspiring and fresh for the visitors’ eyes, a link between the bygone and the modern times. The Residency Programme was a chance for the artists to escape from their usual working spaces and routine, and to become genuinely and absolutely absorbed by creating and implementing an art project over a sustained period of time.
Murat Kocyigit, Hande Akcayli, and Rozi Rexhepi are the creative minds that lie behind the T/Shirt Issue. All of them have graduated and have been working within the field of design and fashion ever since, building the philosophy and ideas behind the T/Shirt Issue around what they are doing. The main concept underlying their work is “to express a thought, a moment, a value or a fascination by translating technological evolutions into the aesthetics of a garment, turning them into narrative sculptures.”
Rozi Rexhepi from the T/Shirt Issue
We met Hande and Rozi, who introduced us to the residency studio they have been working in for six months, and listened to the story of how their project had happened. For this collection, the first thing to be done was to select Museum objects for scanning from the V&A treasures. Apparently, plentiful of options at the museum did not make the final choice very easy!
Perhaps the most immediate and visible achievement of the process emerged after finishing the 3D scanning with modern digital tool that, from a layman's perspective, looks like an ordinary camera attached to the computer. This camera and specialist software enables the designers to digitize and transform a subject into a three-dimensional prototype consisting of many triangles. It was then they gained the complete freedom to create, play, and shape the subject.
Following the scanning process, the printed and cut patterns were applied onto fabric and then the hand-sewing started. As one of the designers told us (really with the smile on her face), it required a lot of good energy, some volunteers and close-to-bleeding fingers!
Even thought the designers described and demonstrated the process step by step, we were allowed only to have a sneak peek as the final oeuvre is due due to be revealed during the London Design Festival 2014. The title of the final collection is Dream-Land. Which is rather inviting, but also tempting as we will finally get to see what we have heard so much about!
The T/Shirt Issue are based at the Museum until October 2014. For more information on them and the wider Residency project visit http://www.vam.ac.uk/page/m/museum-residency-programme/
Words: Milda Batakyte
Images: © Victoria and Albert Museum