ISEA2011 WORKSHOP: When Crafting Leads to Hacking

When Crafting Leads to Hacking: Magnetic Materials Workshop

Workshop Leader: Jennifer Leary

What happens when design research evolves into scientific enquiry, and ends up in potentially criminal territory? I am a material designer using magnetism as an ingredient. Recently, I have begun to use the magnetic field of credit card stripes in my research work.
This followed a chance encounter with a magnetic engineer on a London tube line, and other twists of plot that sound stranger than fiction. The workshop tells the story of how magnetic materials transcend boundaries between technology and art. Workshop participants will be asked to take a leap of faith and employ their credit cards in a design technique.

Using latex, cornstarch and iron powder, we will copy the body of the credit card and hack into the magnetic field stripe. The participants will learn the language of ANSI/ISO 16-character bit code. We will look at the magnetic field pattern and decode it to find the information concealed.
What starts out as a craft process will result in a demonstration of scientific principles, and an exploration of how private information is securely protected.
Bios of the Presenter
Jenny Leary is a textile designer interested in developing new materials. Her primary area of research is magnetism and ferrous substances. In 2007, she started gathering samples of her material experiments and developed the Ferrofabric collection. Since then, her magnetic materials have been applied in fashion, jewellery, science education, furniture, performance art, and interiors. Along with finding commercial applications, Ferrofabric seeks to challenge traditional notions of novelty and invention.

From 2008 – 2010, Jenny worked alongside a group of experimental textile designers at Puff & Flock in London. The collective grew out of the Design for Textile Futures course at Central Saint Martins, where Jenny got her MA. Her BFA is from Cornell University. She is now based in the US, where Ferrofabric continues to explore magnetism through various collaborations.

Previous exhibitions include Embracing Technology (National Craft Gallery Ireland), Science Museum Festival of Innovation (Wroughton, UK), the 2008 Fiber Arts Biennial (Tsinghua University, Beijing), Milan Furniture Fair (2009 and 2010), and Subtle Technologies (Toronto, 2011).

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Posted by:  Ebru Surek