Like a Fitbit for your ethical performance, P@tch is a textile-based new media project that uses light and social media to allow the user to track their progress as an advocate for an environmental, ethical stance. P@tch workshops are built to create a space for creativity and discussion surrounding the conflict between personal and corporate accountability to affect change.
The P@tch workshops teach participants the basics of embroidery and conductive thread circuitry, to get them started making their own wearable self-accountability-tracker that can be synced to their twitter feed. encourage them to create a tracker to advocate for something they care about. Previous iterations have tracked individual plastic use, and CO2 emissions. The participants are provided with written instructions that include images and circuit diagrams in an eleven-page zine. By providing instructions for workshop-goers that covers things like how not to create a short circuit, it is my goal to make participants feel less rushed to complete their P@tch by the end of the workshop. The zines also include instructions on where to find the code or how to get the microcontroller up and running.
P@tch can be both entirely reliant on self-reporting, requiring the user to evaluate their behavior and decide if they believe it to be in line with their ethical goal or not, or include sensors to track concrete data. While self-reporting may not be the most scientifically significant data to collect, I personally find that using P@tch to monitor and evaluate my behaviour is quite effective because of this. The awareness I have gained by using this monitor has already impacted my consumer habits as I track my own plastic use.
About the Artist
Janna Ahrndt received her MFA in Electronic and Time Based Art from Purdue University. She is part of a wave of new media artists rejecting the notion that craft and technology are directly opposed. Her work explores how deconstructing everyday technologies, or even making them for yourself can be used to question larger oppressive systems and create a space for participatory political action. Her activist and social art practice blur the lines between the materiality of craft and the digital realm of new media technologies to create socio-political interventions. Janna has presented her research on the use of DIY electronics as a medium for participatory political art at ISEA 2019 in Gwangju South Korea and will be facilitating workshops for her P@tch project in collaboration with the Science Gallery in Melbourne Australia in July2019.
Image Credit: Janna Ahrndt