V&A Neo Nipponica

Every month on the last Friday Victoria and Albert Museum in London has a late night event happening. Themes vary, but are mostly linked to the permanent or temporary exhibitions. It´s a fun way to spend a Friday evening after work, and maybe before continuing somewhere else.

This months´ event was devoted to the Japanese culture and its futuristic technology, that is still so strongly linked to the reverence to the old traditions. To celebrate the V&A´s newly opened Toshiba Gallery of Japanese Art and explore the art, design and innovations of Nippon(this is what the Japanese call their own country).

The museum got filled with sounds of DJ-s and other performers, pop-up sake bar(table built of honeycomb cardboard paper concertina) and listening to the sound of scents.

One of the most memorable installations includes Tranceflora – Amy´s Glowing Silk.

Made with Nishiji Kimono material using genetically engineered silk developed by scientists at the National Institute of Agrobiological Sciences, Sputniko!´s Tranceflora combines traditional craftsmanship with advanced technology to mesmerising effect. The luminous silk was created by adding the genes of glowing jellyfish and coral to silkworms(creating a so-called “jellyworm” :D) and later woven by master weavers in Kyoto. The dress is designed by a Japanese designer Masaya Kushino.
For full effect the dress had to be viewed through special card/plastic yellow glasses.

Another of my personal highlights of the evening could be found in the garden – V&A recently presented the Elytra Filament Pavilion as part of The Engineering Season – a garden pavilion woven by a robot.

Installed by architects and engineers at the University of Stuttgart, the pavilion is inspired by the forewing shells of flying beetles known as elytra and constructed using novel robotic 3D-printing production process, winding composite materials by a robot arm. At the moment Elytra’s canopy is made up of 40 hexagonal component cells. On average they weigh 45kg each and take an average of three hours to make.

Elytra is a responsive shelter and is expected to grow over the course of Summer. Somehow the sensors in the canopy fibres will collect data on how visitors inhabit the pavilion and monitor the structure’s behaviour, ultimately informing how and where the canopy grows. Sounds interesting!
Let´s see where it goes from here.

 

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