The Indigo Hyphae project was based on the observation that culture and traditions are never static: they breathe, grow, and adapt with the people who shape them at any given time. Today we are witnessing how the global circulation of knowledge provides access to different “making techniques” originating from different places and societies. Designed to solve specific problems with the available tools, techniques combined and applied in different contexts offer new ways of solving a problem and strategies of creation and design.
Following a logic of cultural cross-pollination, Indigo Hyphae was developed by combining the Japanese stencil-based Katazome printing technique with Austrian Blaudruck, and enhanced by new techniques of digital fabrication such as CNC milling. The print was realized in collaboration with Zeugfärberei, an experimental textile workshop in Gutau, where people practice the “do-it-yourself” culture jam approach with indigo dyeing techniques. Despite the use of stencils and repetitive process phases, the results are all different. Through a participatory part of the project, Mika Satomi also paid homage to the ways in which knowledge spreads across territories through individual contributions and interpretations.
The fabric materials used in the project were donated by local communities around Gutau, and after the production they were offered back to festival visitors, where hundreds of pieces of indigo fabric were hung at stations along the Summerauer Railway. Festival-goers were encouraged to take one home with them and later adapt and integrate it into their personal living space in a unique way. The various uses of the indigo hyphae were then documented in an online database, showing the final location of the fabric and how it was used – visualizing a network of further development of ideas and techniques.
Mika Satomi works in the field of E-textiles and physical computing. She explores how we relate to technology in our day-to-day lives, and how we take them for granted – and additionally what we might actually want from it. Together with Hannah Perner-Wilson, she founded the art collective KOBAKANT in 2006. Mika Satomi is the co-author of the e-textile online database How To Get What You Want and currently lives in Berlin.
The Zeugfärberei Gutau is an experimental textile workshop focussed on colouring and printing. Historical techniques and DIY approaches are combined in order to help revitalise the technique of Blaudruck that was practised in Gutau in a traditional manner until the mid-20th century. However, the Zeugfärberei does not put its main emphasis on the production of goods, but rather on the collective practice itself and the transfer of knowledge.