Ancient textiles have played a major role in the social, economic, and religious structures of communities around the world. Iconic, indigenous clothes are imbued with unique designs and patterns. Some are believed to have magical powers and designed to carry specific meanings and wishes. Often complementing traditional dance and music, these textiles amplify a sense of community, identity, and expression.
Motivated by the craftsmanship and connections of cultural textiles such as Javanese Batik or Balinese Ikat to their traditional performance arts, we began to apply an artistic approach into technological textile design and merge new materials, sensing technologies, and digital fabrication with contemporary dance and music into one united and harmonious piece of object and performance.
Tapis Magique is a pressure-sensitive, knitted electronic textile carpet that generates three-dimensional sensor data based on body postures and gestures and drives an immersive sonic environment in real-time. Demonstrating an organic and expressive relationship between choreography and music has been a never-ending feat in the performance arts, as seen in previous work by Cage and Cunningham, Horst and Graham, or Stravinsky and Balanchine. Our work unveils dancers' creative, unconventional possibilities of agency, intimacy, and improvisation over the music through a textile interface.