I first came across the work of the collective The T-shirt Issue a few months ago at the International Design Biennial in Saint Étienne. They were showing The T-shirt Issue, a series of t-shirts that portrayed the bodies and personal memories of 3 individuals in a garment. It was by far the most moving work i had discovered at the French design biennale.
The T-shirt Issue, The T-shirt Issue NO419
Hande Akcayli, Murat Koçyigit and Linda Kostowski back with another series of spectacular t-shirts. Their Muybridge installation is a study set out to capture temporal change in 3D.
A three-step sequence of a bird spreading its wings is reconstructed and sculpted into T-Shirts. As the change in the wings’ position is a function of time, each wing’s plumage is reduced to polygonal form, modeled and rigged into successive arrangements to portray the spreading motion.
As its name suggests, the study leans on Eadweard Muybdridge‘s photography work in the late 1800s, with which he pioneered in the field of capturing animal and human locomotion.
In the version designed by The T-Shirt Issue, shape and fractional motion are interpreted through jersey garments. The t-shirts capture a movement that happens in the bat of an eye and perpetuate it by material augmentation.
I asked Linda Kostowski to give us a few more details about the group’s latest project:
The description of Muybridge states that this is an installation. Why did you chose to sculpt the project into a t-shirt? Why not a paper model? Or a ceramic object for example?
The technique we use to create the pieces is particularly revolutionary in the field of textile, as it turns common construction methods upside down. The realization that pattern construction hasn’t changed much since industrialization and automated production created a very exciting challenge for us. We have always felt a diffuse discomfort about the way clothing is constructed and simutaneously wondered how to change this. Our approach was to take an incredibly common and everyday object like the T-shirt and turn it into something that has a story to tell.
Can you describe the fabrication process of one of those wings?
After intensive observational research, the wings were sculpted with 3D software. In doing so, each wing was inserted with a skeleton, a framework that allows the wings to be animated. The movement resulting from this defined the key frames of the motion. These 3D objects were unfolded with software that turns them into the two dimensional patterns we use as draft for building the paper and fabric pieces.
Every object has reams of paper model twins, which are used as prototypes to see what happens to the object when it moves from the screen to the “real world”.
After the pattern was made, the fabric was cut out with a laser and ready for assembly. The last part of the process, the sewing, is done with such elaborate craft that it’s almost haute couture.
Muybridge, Bird in flight, c 1872-1885
Have you ever envisioned that one of your creations (existing or upcoming) could be worn by a person? Or is this an option that doesn’t interest you at all? I’m insisting on this ‘t-shirt issue’ because that’s the name of your collective and it suggests some kind of ‘wearability’.
Next to continuing with experimenting and creating conceptual art pieces in the future, we have a very strong vision of making the end product wearable as well, and are working on it right now.
Making something tangible, yet soft and close to the body like a garment is a meaningful use of the technology we work with. This summer we will release the first wearable T-shirts made with our in-house pattern construction software. We plan to share the software with the public at a later stage, so everyone can play with the patterns of our future collections.
For now, elements of all our previous pieces will be made available for download on our website from May 20th on.